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B 17
Role Bomber, Reconnaissance
Manufacturer SAAB
First flight 18 May 1940
Introduction 1942
Retired 1955, Sweden
1968, Ethiopia
Status Retired
Primary users Sweden
Produced 1941-1944
Number built 323

The Saab 17 was a Swedish bomber-reconnaissance aircraft.

Development and service

The project first started at the end of the 1930s as the L 10 by ASJA, but after the merger with SAAB in 1937 it was renamed Saab 17. The wings were reinforced to make it possible to use it as a dive bomber. Since there was a shortage of engines the planes were flown to the destination where the engine was removed and reused for the next delivery. The plane was also made in three versions with different engines. The B 17A used a Swedish built Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp, the B 17B a British Bristol Mercury XXIV licence-built in Poland, and the B 17C an Italian Piaggio P.XI.[1] The aircraft could be fitted with wheels, skis or floats. A unique feature of the Saab 17 was its use of the extended landing gear assembly, with its large covers, as dive brakes. The first test flight was on 18 May 1940 and first deliveries to the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) were in 1942. However, the development of jets meant it had a short service history. When the planes ended service in 1947-1950 46 of them were sold to Ethiopia where they were in service until 1968. Two B 17As were sold to Finland. The first one in 1959 and the second in 1960. They served as target tugs in the Finnish Air Force. Both were however soon damaged and removed from service.


  • B 17A - Bomber version with Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engine; total production: 132
  • B 17B - Bomber version with British Bristol Mercury XXIV engine; total production: 55
  • S 17BL - Reconnaissance version on landing gear; total production: 21
  • S 17BS - Reconnaissance version on floats, total production: 38
  • B 17C - Bomber version with Piaggio PXI engine; total production: 77

The SAAB 17 had a total production run of 323 aircraft.

Saab B 17A

Saab S 17BS


Austrian Air Force
Swedish Air Force
Imperial Ethiopian Air Force
Finnish Air Force
Civilian operators
Ostermans Aero AB
Svensk Flygtjänst


Five SAAB 17s are known to be in existence today. The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping have two aircraft in their collections, one S 17BL and one B 17A, the latter is kept in airworthy condition. Another B 17A is on display at the Danish Museum of Science and Technology in Helsingør. Two former Ethiopian B 17A were recovered in the 1990s and purchased by a South African collector. These are last known to have relocated to Lithuania but their current status is not clear.[2]

Saab S 17BL 17005 on static display at Flygvapenmuseum

Specifications (B 17A)

Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 9.80 m (32 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.70 m (44 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 4.00 m (13 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 28.5 m² (306 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,600 kg (5,720 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,970 kg (8,734 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G 14-cylinder radial engine, 882 kW (1,200 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 435 km/h (272 mph)
  • Range: 1,800 km (1,125 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 8,700 m (28,500 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 10 m/s (2,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 139 kg/m² (28 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 220 W/kg (0.14 hp/lb)


  • 2× 8 mm ksp m/22F machine guns, fixed forward
  • 1× 8 mm ksp m/22R flexible tail gun
  • 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs
  • See also


    1. B 17 - SAAB 17. Swedish Bombers 1926-1959. [1] Access date: 6 May 2006.
    3. Jane 1946, p. 201.
    • Jane, Fred T. “The Saab-17.” Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN 1-85170-493-0.

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