|This page is about the Swedish jet fighter A21RB. For other versions, see J21 (Family).|
The A21RB is a rank V Swedish jet fighter with a battle rating of 6.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.95 "Northern Wind".
The A21RB is a jet-powered version of the prior A21A-3, giving it higher speeds and heavier ordnance.
The A21RB is a highly manoeuvrable plane, with a good climb rate. The guns, although a downgrade compared to the 13.2 mm MGs from the previous propeller-driven version, still provide enough firepower to down most targets efficiently. The A21RB is also the first to feature the iconic "Paddan" gunpod, giving it additional lead downrange. Along with central-mounted rockets, the plane is comfortable in both Air Realistic and Ground Realistic battles. The only downside is the airframe, which prevents the aircraft from reaching higher speeds. This is due to the engine being a bit too powerful for the plane, making it common to rip in straight lines and shallow dives.
The plane is an overall great introduction for anyone looking to learn to fly jet aircraft, as the vehicle handles very similar to its propeller-driven counterpart, while at a much higher speed than before.
The A21RB is distinctly different in looks and performance from all other planes found at the same BR-range. Along with the Yak-15, the Saab 21R is one of the two propeller-driven planes successfully converted into jet propulsion. Just like its Soviet counterpart, the solution comes at the cost of speed. Although a lot more powerful than the A21A-3, it still has the same airframe limitations. The climb-rate is also significantly improved due to the weight of the vehicle, resulting in good vertical energy with the ability to stall out slower opponents. Getting back down can prove difficult however, as the A21RB has a rip speed of just 787 km/h, which it can accidentally reach if not careful. To avoid this, the plane features a small set of air-brakes, which aids in maintaining a safe speed. Experienced pilots can find a good use for them to force overshoots, or to out-turn propeller-driven opponents. Be careful with the engine however! The propulsion of the A21RB is very primitive, and suffers from fuel starvation during extreme manoeuvres, especially in negative G-loads. This can be fatal when fighting vertically, as the engine drops all power almost immediately, and has to spool back up again before reaching the same efficiency as before.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 2,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 450||< 390||< 420||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Basic mass||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|Svenska Flygmotor RM1A||1||3,635 kg||196 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||6m fuel||20m fuel|
|705 kg||Centrifugal-flow turbojet||3,849 kg||4,347 kg||5,000 kg|
|Maximum engine thrust @ 0 m (RB/SB)||Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (100%)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||6m fuel||20m fuel||MTOW|
|Optimal|| 1,420 kgf
Survivability and armour
- 10 mm steel - Firewall armour plate
- 10 mm steel - Firewall cover armour plate
- 10 mm steel - Pilot's back armour plate
- 60 mm bulletproof glass
- Engine fire system (EFS)
Although the A21RB is meant for ground-attack, the plane lacks significant protection to withstand a lot of incoming fire. The pilot is well protected by metal plates and bulletproof glass, but the pilot's safety isn't the primary concern for the A21RB, as the tail section is incredibly vulnerable. This is due to the twin-boom design, making a tailstrike twice as likely. And since the tail connects to the wing-section, the plane tends to lose tail-control when struck by wing damage. The engine is very large in comparison to the rest of the plane, making it a common target. The A21RB should avoid all possible damage, as surviving large amounts of fire is highly unlikely. Pulling away from head-on engagements increases the survivability immensely. Avoiding the enemy airfield is also important, as the A21RB lacks the speed to keep it safe from flak fire.
Modifications and economy
The A21RB is armed with:
- 1 x 20 mm Akan m/45 cannon, nose-mounted (140 rpg)
- 2 x 12.7 mm Akan m/39A machine guns, nose-mounted (350 rpg = 700 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm Akan m/39A machine guns, wing-mounted (325 rpg = 650 total)
The A21RB shares the same 20 mm cannon found on the previous A21A-3. This cannon is near identical to the Hispano Mk.V, only with a 30 rpm lower fire-rate. The shells perform the same as on all the other 20 mm-armed jets, making it highly devastating against all types of aircraft. The Armoured targets belt performs favourably with this cannon, as the Air targets belt can cause some mishaps during short bursts. The cannon runs out of ammunition quite quickly compared to the machine-guns, so saving it by only making use of the small calibre guns first can be ideal for spraying.
The A21RB features .50 cal machine guns, being identical to the later American ones. Although a direct downgrade from the Swedish 13 mm previously found on the plane, the A21RB makes good use of these cannons, as they allow for distanced engagements, along with additional firepower to back up the 20 mm cannon. Their ammo count is quite high as well, making them great for strafing, and finishing off heavy bombers.
The A21RB can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 8 x 8 mm Ksp m/22 machine guns, belly-mounted (gunpod) (100 rpg = 800 total)
- 10 x psrak m/49A rockets
- 10 x srak m/51 rockets
- 5 x hprak m/49 rockets
A unique feature only found on the A21RB is the ability to use the abstract gunpod. Commonly known as "Paddan" (directly translated to "The toad"), the gunpod features eight 8 mm Ksp m/22, repurposed from old J8 Gladiators. Although weak guns by nature, having eight of them gives the A21RB unprecedented fire-power shredding anything that goes head-to-head with it. The ammunition count is low, however, which forces pilots to use them carefully. Saving the gunpod by only using .50 cal on distant opponents, allows the A21RB to get rid of opponents during short bursts, which can be incredibly useful if mastered correctly. It's still important to mention that this gunpod is incredibly heavy and not very aerodynamic, and thus takes a heavy hit on the overall speed of the plane.
The A21RB has a lot of additional advantages over the prior A21A-3, especially when it comes to the ground ordnance. The ground rockets are finally mounted in the middle of the plane, firing one at a time starting from the right. Since the Swedish rockets, especially the m/49 rockets, feature amazing ballistics with little inaccuracy, that along with high penetration, makes for some highly effective air-support. And since the A21RB is quite light, it can easily perform several passes on opponents, which is quite important against heavy opponents.
Usage in battles
Air Realistic Battles
- Climb to altitude
- Energy-fight opponents by lowering their speed
- Boom & Zoom people below you
- Dogfight slow targets when necessary
- Fire machine guns and cannons separately to save ammo
Despite being jet-powered, the A21RB still performs best when played like a propeller driven aircraft. The airplane struggles to reach high speeds, and drops it fairly quickly when manoeuvring. So the best use of the new engine is to gain altitude. Although weak in performance compared to earlier jets, the A21RB is decent at climbing to altitude, and can very efficiently deal with targets thanks to the high agility offered at lower speeds. Although the flaps are designed for much lower speeds (similar to the A21A-3), the plane still performs similar to the propeller variant when turning, making them less desired than on other jets.
The best way to start a match is to immediately gain altitude. A height advantage around 5 km is usually ideal to avoid losing vital speed when fighting, as the plane can simply dive to gain more velocity. The best way to handle opponents, is to single them out from their team, and forcing them to dogfight, as the A21RB is too slow to chase anyone down. The A21RB is also efficient against propeller aircraft, as it can comfortably turn-fight, while keeping a higher speed. When paired with the devastating firepower it provides, the A21RB becomes deadly when used properly.
Ground Realistic Battles
- Use minimum fuel and m/49A rockets
- Stay low or high above the ground to avoid SPAA
- Prioritize air-targets
- Attack opponents directly from the side or slightly from above (rockets)
- Strafe directly from above (8 mm gunpod)
The A21RB is even more effective in combined battles, as the platform is highly agile, ideal for close and precise rocket attacks. To compliment this, the A21RB features a fantastic rocket placement, in the center of the aircraft. These launch one at a time, similar to other Swedish aircraft. This gives the A21RB 10 single rocket salvos (m/49A), that can effectively kill one tank each when aimed properly. It's ideal to launch each rocket with the crosshair pointed slightly above the target, as they are placed fairly low. A creative pilot could also make use of the much larger m/49 rockets, but these require a lot of compensation in elevation, and are overall much more difficult to make use of.
While playing the A21RB in Ground RB, it's important to still prioritize air targets. The A21RB is still agile, despite carrying suspended armaments, and is even cheaper to spawn with the 8 mm gunpod, which shreds both aircraft and lightly armoured vehicles. Prioritizing aircraft will substantially help both you, and the team below, as they are capable of dealing equally as much damage.
Pros and cons
- Highly manoeuvrable - Competes with propeller driven aircraft
- Accurate and powerful rockets - Highly effective against most vehicles
- Upgraded engine compared to the J21RA - Better rate of climb and acceleration
- Familiar layout for seasoned Swedish pilots - Same gun placement as all previous Saab 21s
- Useful air-brakes - Good at avoiding higher speeds
- Access to suspended 8 x 8 mm gunpod
- Low top speed - Can't reach 800 km/h without tearing off its wings
- Downgraded armament - 12.7 mm machine guns instead of the old 13 mm
- Small fuel tank with limited fuel choice - Either 20 or 9 minutes of fuel
- Engine prone to fuel starvation - negative G-load turns the engine off
- Cumbersome rocket ramp - reduces top-speed by almost 100 km/h
- External gunpod lacks significant ammunition count
- Flaps tear off easily (designed for the propeller version)
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Similar Swedish aircraft
|Swedish Aeroplane Company Ltd. (SAAB)|
|Fighters||J21A-1 · J21A-2 · A21A-3|
|Jet fighters||A21RB · J21RA · J29A · A29B · J29D · J29F · J32B · J35A · J35D · JA37C · JA37D|
|Jet attackers||A32A · AJ37 · SK60B · SAAB-105G|
|Bombers||B17A · B17B · S17BS|
|Dive-bombers||B3C · B18A · B18B · T18B · T18B (57)|
|Export||SAAB-105OE · Saab 35FS|
|Sweden jet aircraft|
|J29A · A29B · J29D · J29F|
|J35A · J35D|
|JA37C · JA37D|
|SK60B · SAAB-105G|
|Finland||▄Vampire FB 52A · ▄MiG-21bis · Saab 35FS|