Saab 210 Lill Draken

Scale versions of the wings of Saab’s J-29 Tunnan and J-32 Lansen fighters had been tested on a piston-engined Safir trainer, but this was not practicable for the supersonic J35 Draken, which was being designed to meet a 1949 requirement. It was decided to build a piloted testbed of about 70 per cent scale to establish the characteristics of this wing. The Saab 210 ‘Lill Draken’ (Little Dragon) first flew in January 1952 piloted by Bengt Olow. The design of the full-size J 35 Draken was frozen in March, and the 210 continued to carry out many test flights in support of the Draken programme. Initially flown with a blunt nose that just protruded ahead of the intakes, the Lill Draken was modified to become the Saab 210-2 with a longer nose and more representative intakes.

Four years before the first flight of the J 35 Draken in October 1955, the Saab 210 proved the suitability of its configuration. The 210 flew into 1956, then was retired for eventual display in the Swedish Air Force Museum.

Long pitot heads were carried under each wing on the 210-1, but were replaced by a single nose-mounted probe on the 210-2.

The fin was reduced in height during tests. Many jet fighters started with inadequate fin area, which later needed to be increased for better stability.

The Lill Draken s undercarriage wheels remained partly exposed in the lower fuselage when retracted.

Saab 210 Lill DrakenLill Draken Specifications

  • CREW: one
  • POWERPLANT: one 4.45kN (1000lb-thrust) Armstrong Siddeley Adder AS.A.1 turbojet
  • MAX SPEED: unknown
  • MAX ALTITUDE: unknown
  • SPAN: 6.35m (20ft 10in)
  • LENGTH: 8.80m (28ft 10in)
  • HEIGHT: 2.78m (9ft 1in)
  • WEIGHT: unknown