Off-Topic: Swedish Armed Forces Airshow 2018

Last weekend, the yearly Flygdag (Airshow) of the Swedish Armed Forces took place in Uppsala at Ärna. Huge crowds, but it was still easy to get a good view of the aerial displays that took place. In this blog post, I just wanted to share a few photos.

Clever marketing for the show – instead of flight mode, we have “combat flight mode”.

I was fortunate in that the event took place really close to where I live, so we could just bike to the event – avoiding the crazy traffic that clogged up all the big roads & highways around Uppsala. Estimates are that some 140 to 150 thousand people showed up, which is pretty much as many people as live in the city. It ran smoothly anyway, if a bit slowly. The military deployed military police to direct the traffic all way out to the edge of Uppsala. Still, after realizing just how slowly people arrived, the whole day was prolonged by a couple of hours and some of the program delayed.

Well-marked bike route to the airshow

The event is considered as a marketing and recruitment event for not just the air force, but also the armed forces in general. Mostly it was about various Air Force functions including anti-air systems, radars, airbase protection, etc. The army had an Archer artillery system on display along with some light armored vehicles – Pansarterrängbil 203 – also known as the Patria Sisu – and Pansarterrängbil 360, also known as Patria XA-360 AMV.  As well as practical things like lawn movers, fire engines, and other things you need to keep an air base running.

Combat vehicle lawn mower? You need humble things like this to keep an airbase running.
This warning sign on the side of a snow blower really makes it clear you have to be careful

These marketing activities provided good variety and more interactive activities, like running in a fireman’s suit and trying various weapons and infantry equipment. There was a whole area set aside for recruitment, including lawn chairs in military camo…

I wonder what this chair really is trying to say? Join the military and take it easy?

However, the main event was really all the aircraft and helicopters. The aircraft on the ground including some visitors from abroad like a Danish F-16 trainer (plus an aerial display by the Danish Air Force solo demo F-16) and a C-17 from the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability. The C-17 was an impressively big box, with some truly uncomfortable seats and a single lavatory for everyone onboard.

C-17 from the SAC, this one is based in Pápa in Hungary
The interior of the C-17 was truly spartan – function trumps everything, and this is probably a lot easier to service
One of the Swedish VIP transports was shown (but only the outside)
SAAB Argus – “AWACS” aircraft based on the SAAB-340 airliner
Danish demo F-16 with a special paint job – and all wing pylons removed
TP-84/C-130 Hercules did a quick land and take-off to pick up the paratroopers


Paratrooper, dropped from the Hercules
The three newest helicopters in the Air Force: HKP 14 (NH 90), HKP 15 (AW109), and HKP 16 (UH-60)
The Hawker Hunter was not in the program but did a demo anyway
The yellow SK-16 (Texan) looks like the Swedish flag against the backdrop of the blue sky

The best part of the show was really the SAAB jet combat aircraft – Tunnan, Lansen, SK-60, Draken, Viggen, and Gripen all took part of a “grand formation” flyby to cap off the program, as well as demo flights and static exhibitions earlier in the day.

Four JAS-39 Gripen did a formation flight
JA-39 Viggen on the ground, I missed when it did its flight
Team 60, flying SK-60 aircraft, has recently been re-activated after being mothballed due to budget constraints
A formation with all SAAB jet combat aircraft
The same formation in an angle where you can really see the unique planforms of Draken, Viggen, and Gripen

Next time I go to one of these shows I will make sure to first buy a more powerful zoom lens. My 250mm Canon was not quite enough.


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