Who’s a cute lil’ instrument of war? You are!

This is a Saab 29, known as the Tunnan. In Swedish that’s Flygande tunnan, or ‘flying barrel.’ I think you can see where the nickname came from.

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Apparently this Saab, designed after WWII and introduced in 1950, was actually quite fast. It was an early effort for jet propulsion from Saab and the first swept-wing fighter from Western Europe, as Saab claims on their own corporate history. By 1955 it had set two world speed records for closed circuits. In 1954 it ran 500 kilometers at 977 kilometers an hour (or a little over 300 miles at a little over 600 miles an hour), and in ‘55 it covered 1000km at 900.6 km/h.

Interestingly, the plane was remarkably deadly... for its own Swedish pilots. This history claims that no fewer than 99 pilots died practicing with the plane! All of the pilots had to do their two-seat training on straight wing planes, and weren’t prepared for the new handling of the Tunnan’s early swept-wing design.

One conscript was also killed when sucked into the jet intake. They added an inlet screen after that.

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There’s a full history of the jet right here if you want to read more than just the Wikipedia page.

The Tunnan remained in active service into the mid 1960s (and last flew in the mid ‘70s), exploding the shit out of other human beings and looking just so adorbs while doing so.

Photo Credits: John5199 (top), the Swedish Air Force (below)


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.