Sweden withdraws Saab sk60 after 60 years of service

Sweden withdraws Saab sk60 after 60 years of service

Sweden announces the retirement of the Saab Sk60 in June 2024, marking the end of more than 60 years of service in the air force.

Retirement of the Saab Sk60 in June 2024

In June 2024, the Swedish Air Force (SwedAF) will officially bid farewell to the Saab Sk60 (Saab 105), bringing to an end more than 60 years of distinguished service. The Saab Sk60, a twin-engine, high-wing jet trainer, made its maiden flight on June 29, 1963. Operated by Flygskolan (FlygS) in Linköping/Malmen, it will be retired at a ceremony on Tuesday June 18, coinciding with the graduation of the last group of students. In total, the Swedish Air Force has used 150 Saab Sk60 aircraft in various configurations for basic training (GFU) and basic tactical training (GTU).

In April 2020, Scramble Magazine revealed a restructuring of jet pilot training, introducing a propeller-driven aircraft for GFU. Initially, the interim use of Saab 39 Gripen C and D models for the advanced training phase was envisaged, but plans changed in favor of an agreement with Aeronautica Militare (AMI, Italian air force) to train fighter pilots in Italy. This training, starting in early 2024 and lasting up to ten years, will take place at the International Flight Training School (IFTS) at Decimomannu air base in Sardinia, with support from Leonardo.

On May 5, 2021, the Försvarets materielverk (FMV, Swedish Defense Materiel Administration) officially designated the Grob G120TP as the new basic training aircraft, with the first three aircraft delivered on March 15, 2023. Sweden has ordered ten G120TPs and a simulator, and is also considering the acquisition of a new advanced trainer in the future.

Sweden withdraws Saab sk60 after 60 years of service

The consequences

This withdrawal means not only the end of an era for the Saab Sk60, but also the start of a new era in Swedish fighter pilot training. The transition to the Grob G120TP for basic training and the partnership with Italy for advanced training illustrate Sweden’s adaptation to modern aeronautical training requirements. This evolution reflects a change in training philosophy, emphasizing flexibility and internationalization.

However, this transition also poses challenges, particularly in terms of training continuity and adapting instructors and students to new aircraft and different training environments. On the other hand, the partnership with AMI and the use of the Grob G120TP offer opportunities to enhance skills through advanced training technologies and methodologies.

The retirement of the Saab Sk60 marks the end of an important chapter in the history of Swedish military aviation, and the start of a new era in fighter pilot training, adapted to contemporary challenges and technologies. This transition, while challenging, promises to enhance the preparation and competence of Sweden’s future fighter pilots.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.