ⓘ Saab AB

Saab AB

ⓘ Saab AB

Saab AB is a Swedish aerospace and defence company, founded in 1937. From 1947 to 1990 it was the parent company of automobile manufacturer Saab Automobile. Between 1968 and 1995 the company was in a merger with commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania-Vabis, known as Saab-Scania. The two were de-merged in 1995 by the new owners, Investor AB. Despite the demerger, both Saab and Scania share the right to use the griffin logo, which originates from the coat of arms of the Swedish region of Scania.


1. History

"Svenska Aeroplan AB aktiebolag" Swedish for "Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited" SAAB was founded in 1937 in Trollhattan, with the merger of Svenska Aero AB SAAB and Linkoping based ASJA the headquarters moved to Linkoping. The style "Saab" replaced "SAAB" around 1950.

The basic initial development was the problems for the Swedish government to get quality military aircraft delivered at the beginning of the Second World War. The final trigger was the inability to get a large number of Seversky P-35 delivered from the United States. From then on the Swedish government focused on establishing domestic production and development of military aircraft and Saab took that challenge. A policy that has continued to this day.

Originally manufacturing aircraft, the company sought ways in which to diversify its business. Before the Second World War most cars in Sweden were imported from the United States. The US car manufacturers have been producing tanks during the war and the US domestic market took all the US car production in the late 1940s. So there was a huge supply need of private cars in Europe and Sweden. Buyers were facing waiting lists of years on new cars. In the late 1940s Saab began manufacturing cars at its Saab Automobile division, based in Trollhattan. The first car was the Saab 92; full-scale production started 12 December 1949, based on the prototype Ursaab.

In the late 1950s Saab ventured into the computer market with Datasaab. The company was a result partly of the need to make a computer that would be small enough to mount in an aeroplane as navigational equipment. During the 1960s several computers were developed and sold to European countries, for uses such as banking. The aircraft computer CK 37 was used in 1971 in the Viggen. The company was sold in 1975 to Sperry UNIVAC, while Saab retained its flight computer development.

In May 1965, the company name was changed to Saab AB to reflect its broad range of activities.

In 1968 Saab AB merged with the Swedish lorry, bus and heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer Scania-Vabis, and became Saab-Scania AB.

In 1990 General Motors bought 51% of the car division Saab Automobile, and acquired the rest a decade later.

In 1991 Investor AB completed a leveraged buyout of Saab-Scania AB. Investor AB acquired all the outstanding shares in Saab-Scania for approximately SEK 21 billion. Saab-Scania became a wholly owned subsidiary of Investor AB and the company was de-listed.

In 1995 Saab-Scania was divided by Investor AB into two independent companies, de-merging into Scania AB and Saab AB. The intention by Investor AB was to broaden ownership in the two companies later. Following the sale of 50% of the car division Saab Automobile AB to General Motors, the main reason behind the merger with lorry manufacturer Scania-Vabis in 1968 had disappeared.

Saab Military Aircraft and British Aerospace now BAE Systems formed in 1995 the joint venture company Saab-BAe Gripen AB, to manufacture, market and support Gripen internationally. This co-operation was extended in 2001 with the formation of Gripen International for the same purpose.

From 1998 until 2005 the largest shareholder in Saab was the British aerospace company BAE Systems, following its acquisition of a 35% stake from Investor AB by its predecessor, British Aerospace. In January 2005, BAE Systems reduced its shareholding to 20%. Investor AB maintained a 20% share.

16 November 1999, Saab announced its intention is to purchase Celsius AB and the acquisition was concluded by early March 2000.

In September 2000 United Defense Industries UDI purchased Bofors Weapon Systems from Saab the autocannon and tube artillery interests, while Saab retained the missile interests. Later BAE Systems acquired United Defense Industries.

In December 2005 Saab joined the Dassault nEUROn project as a major partner.

In October 2008 the company announced its intention to merge its operations with that of Simrad Optronics. The new unit will develop high-tech optronics products and will be headquartered in Norway, although other details of the new arrangement have not been finalized.

In 2010 the company restructured from fifteen business units into five business areas; Aeronautics, Dynamics, Electronic Defence Systems, Security and Defence Solutions, and Support and Services. According to Saab the restructuring was undertaken to become more market and customer oriented.

In March 2010, BAE Systems sold half of its 20% stake in the company to Investor AB, which then became the major shareholder. In June 2011, the British company eventually sold its remaining stake bringing its 16-year involvement in Saab to an end.

As of June 2012, Investor AB owns a 30% stake in the company 39.5% of the voting rights and is the majority owner.


1.1. History Aircraft production

The main focus of aircraft production is fighter aircraft. Saab has been making aircraft since the 1930s, and the jet predecessors of the JAS 39 Gripen were the Tunnan, the Lansen, the Draken and the Viggen. The last civilian models made by Saab were the Saab 340 and Saab 2000. Both were mid-range turboprop-powered airliners. The development and the manufacturing of these aircraft is undertaken in Linkoping.

In May 2019, Saab announced plans to locate a new U.S. manufacturing operation in Discovery Park District Aerospace on the west side of the Purdue University campus. The facility will do the final assembly of the T-X advanced jet trainer, which is a plane developed by Boeing and Saab for the United States Air Force.


2.1. Organization Aeronautics

Aeronautics offers airborne systems, related subsystems, Unmanned Aerial Systems UAS and aerostructures. The business area Aeronautics is responsible for airframe structures for JAS 39 Gripen, and whole sections for Airbus, Boeing and NH90; & system development of the JAS 39 Gripen and the Skeldar VTOL UAV. Aeronautics is also partner in the European joint UAV-project Dassault nEUROn, where Saab develop Avionics and is responsible for the overall architecture and design. Marketing and support of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet is also included in the Aeronautics business area.


2.2. Organization Dynamics

Dynamics offers ground combat weapons, missile systems, torpedoes, sensor systems, unmanned underwater vehicles and signature management systems, remotely operated vehicles for armed forces as well as civil security applications.

Short range weapons offered include Carl-Gustaf, AT4/AT4 CS, STRIX and MBT LAW. Missile systems offered are RBS 70, RBS 23 and RBS 15.


2.3. Organization Surveillance

Surveillance offers airborne surveillance solutions including GlobalEye, Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C and fighter radar, ground-based and naval radar including the Giraffe radar range, electronic warfare including IDAS and ESTL and combat systems and C4I solutions.


2.4. Organization Industrial Products and Services

Industrial Products and Services was established on 1 January 2015 and comprises the business units Combitech, Avionics Systems, Aerostructures, Traffic Management, Vricon as well as the development of product ideas that fall outside of Saab’s core business.

The business units within Industrial Products and Services differ from Saab’s other operations by their focus on business-to-business B2B customers or because they are not dependent on Saab’s principal end-customers. Other business areas within Saab have a customer base largely consisting of public authorities. With different customer groups come different management strategies and priorities. Opportunities to strengthen these operations in the long term are greater in the new organisation. Industrial Products and Services will work with individual growth strategies for each business unit.


2.5. Organization Support and Services

Support and Services offer maintenance, integrated support solutions, field facilities, logistics and regional aircraft maintenance.

Saab Aircraft Leasing leases and resells Saab aircraft to airlines. It completed 30 transactions in 2010.


2.6. Organization Saab Barracuda LLC

The Saab Barracuda LLC facility in Lillington, North Carolina, manufactures signature management products and provides customized services. Foremost among the camouflage, concealment and deception products is the Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net System ULCANS which provides multi-spectral protection against visual, near infrared, thermal infrared and broadband radar detection. ULCANS is fielded with the U.S. Army and other Department of Defense organizations and is available in both woodland and desert versions. Saab Barracuda is one of only two qualified suppliers of ULCANS in North America, and currently has a competed $US1.76 billion contract, along with GMA Cover Corp.


3.1. Products Military aircraft

  • Boeing T-7 Red Hawk
  • Saab 17 bomber/dive-bomber: manufactured 1941–1944, 323 built
  • Saab 21R jet-powered version of Saab 21: manufactured 1950–1952, 64 built
  • Saab 35 Draken fighter: manufactured 1955–1974, 644 built
  • Saab 105 twin engine trainer: manufactured 1963–1972, 192 built
  • Saab 340 AEW&C airborne early warning and control aircraft: manufactured 1994–1997, 8 built
  • Saab JAS 39 Gripen multirole fighter: introduced 1996, 306 built as of 2020
  • Saab 37 Viggen fighter/attack/reconnaissance aircraft: manufactured 1970–1990, 329 built
  • Saab 21 twin-boom push-prop fighter/attack aircraft: manufactured 1945–1949, 298 built
  • Saab 29 Tunnan first purpose-built jet fighter: manufactured 1950–1956, 661 built
  • Saab 32 Lansen attack aircraft: manufactured 1953–1959, 450 built
  • Saab 18 twin-engine bomber and reconnaissance aircraft: manufactured 1944–1948, 245 built


3.2. Products Civilian aircraft

  • MFI-15 Safari/MFI-17 Supporter single engine trainer: manufactured 1971 – late 70s, ca 250 built
  • Saab 91 Safir single engine trainer: manufactured 1946–1966, 323 built
  • Saab 2000 50–58 passenger high-speed turboprop airliner: manufactured 1992–1999, 63 built
  • Saab 90 Scandia 32 passenger short-/medium-haul aircraft: manufactured 1946–1954, 18 built
  • Saab 340 30–35 passenger short-haul aircraft: manufactured 1983–1999, 459 built

3.3. Products Missiles

  • Meteor BVRAAM
  • BILL 2 Anti-tank guided weapon
  • RB 04 anti-ship missile
  • KEPD 350
  • RBS-70
  • Rb 05 air-to-surface missile
  • RBS 23
  • RBS-15 surface-to-surface and air-to-surface anti-ship missile

4. Bibliography

  • MacPhaily, Doug; Ostberg, Mikael 2003, Triple Crown BT-9: The ASJA/Saab Sk 14, A Pictorial Essay in English and Swedish, San Josef, BC/Dundee, On: DCF Flying Books
  • Gunston, Bill 2005. World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers 2nd ed. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, ENG, UK: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3981-8.