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This page is about the Swedish fighter A21A-3. For other versions, see J21 (Family).


GarageImage A21A-3.jpg

The A21A-3 is a rank IV Swedish fighter with a battle rating of 4.3 (AB), 4.0 (RB), and 3.7 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.95 "Northern Wind".

General info

Flight performance

The A21A-3 has a poor climb rate and fairly low acceleration, making it ineffective as an energy or boom-and-zoom fighter unless you commit to a side climb. The aircraft has great turning characteristics at almost all speeds, and maintains speed in horizontal turns well enough, though it will stall quickly in any vertical manoeuvres. The aircraft maintains most of its turning ability with heavy loads, but suffers greatly in climb ability. If you wish to take an altitude advantage, forgo any loads.

Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 4,300 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 616 599 10800 21.0 21.9 12.6 12.6 300
Upgraded 666 640 19.0 20.0 19.0 15.5


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
683 325 460 460 325 ~11 ~5
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 450 < 390 < 420 > 715

Survivability and armour

Protective components found in the A21A-3.
  • 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


Offensive armament

The A21A-3 is armed with:

  • 1 x 20 mm Akan m/45 cannon, nose-mounted (140 rpg)
  • 2 x 13.2 mm Akan m/39A machine guns, nose-mounted (350 rpg = 700 total)
  • 2 x 13.2 mm Akan m/39A machine guns, wing-mounted (325 rpg = 650 total)

Suspended armament

The A21A-3 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 4 x 50 kg sb m/47 bombs (200 kg total)
  • 1 x 250 kg mb m/40 bomb (250 kg total)
  • 1 x 250 kg mb m/40 bomb + 4 x 50 kg sb m/47 bombs (450 kg total)
  • 1 x 500 kg mb m/41 bomb (500 kg total)
  • 1 x 600 kg mb m/50 bomb (600 kg total)
  • 8 x psrak m/49A rockets
  • 8 x srak m/51 rockets
  • 2 x hprak m/49 rockets
  • 1 x 250 kg mb m/40 bomb + 8 x psrak m/49A rockets (250 kg total)
  • 1 x 250 kg mb m/40 bomb + 8 x srak m/51 rockets (250 kg total)
  • 1 x 250 kg mb m/40 bomb + 2 x hprak m/49 rockets (250 kg total)

Usage in battles

Boasting extremely good turning characteristics, a stable platform, decent speed and accurate, powerful guns, the A21A-3 is an extremely effective aircraft for both dogfighting and ground attack duties. The Swedish 13.2mm Akan m/39A guns are devastating to lighter aircraft thanks to their anti-air belts with plentiful HE, and the nose mounted 20mm cannon makes short work of larger targets as long as you are accurate. In air-to-air battles, the aircraft is best suited to catch opponents low on energy. Only a few aircraft at its BR are able to turn as well as the A21A-3 at low altitude, and the aircraft remains stable even in low speed turns to keep guns on target. It is wise to keep fights short though, as the A21A-3 is a terrible climber, and is an easy target for boom and zoom fighters if engaged in a fight.

On the other hand, the A21A-3 makes for an extremely effective ground-and-pound aircraft, capable of destroying an enemy base with its 600kg bomb in some air RB game modes, access to some of the best rockets weight-for-weight at its battle rating, and a significant amount of ammunition for its guns to attack ground units. The aircraft's low speed stability makes short dipping attack runs on ground units easy, and the good firepower means you don't have to stay on target for too long.

It is important to take care that enemy aircraft do not get a chance to attack you from behind, however. The A21A-3, as a pusher aircraft, can be brought down quickly when tailed. The engine is poorly armoured, with a tiny water and oil reserve and runs at a high temperature. Additionally, there is a fuel tank between the cockpit and engine which will not survive even a glancing hit. If you are attacked and suffer an oil or water leak you will need to land at your base as quickly as possible, the engine will burn out within minutes of an overheat. The large control surface of the tail is also a vulnerability.

In ground RB, the aircraft can perform well at almost any BR, as its' 600kg bomb can be used effectively to clear points and entrenched enemy tanks of any size with a whopping 18m destruction range, with a fighter's SP cost it can be an invaluable CAS asset to a team.

A21A-3 flying

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Not controllable Controllable
Auto control available
Auto control available
Auto control available
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 20 mm m/40
II Compressor Airframe New 20 mm cannons m/41 m/49A
III Wings repair Engine Offensive 13 mm m/50 m/51
IV Engine injection Cover New 13 mm MGs m/49

Pros and cons


  • Quite manoeuvrable, even with wing-tip fuel tanks
  • A stable flying platform, does not stall in level flight even with the throttle set to zero
  • Engine protected from head-on attacks
  • Most armament is nose-mounted
  • Armed with extremely powerful 13.2 mm guns with decent ammunition pool and destructive AA belts
  • Access to powerful and accurate rockets and devastating bombs for ground RB
  • 600 kg bomb can destroy an enemy base in some air RB game modes.


  • Pusher aircraft, engine mounted facing rear, exposed to enemy aircraft which may follow
  • Required to set convergence due to wing-mounted machine guns
  • Terrible climb rate, despite decent acceleration
  • Loses speed in vertical manoeuvres extremely quickly
  • Lacks airbrake
  • Fragile and vulnerable from rear attacks, even water or oil leaks will tend to cause the aircraft to crash as the engine burns out quickly.
  • Engine overheats quickly when on WEP


SAAB A21A-3 on display at Söderhamn /F15 Aviation Museum, Söderhamn, Sweden

The SAAB 21 was a twin-boom propeller fighter used by the Swedish air force. A unique design, it had a pusher-configuration engine and a twin-boom tail, giving it a very unique appearance. The A21A-3 was a variant of the SAAB 21, designed for ground attack. As a result, it was equipped with a bomb sight, and was able to carry suspended ordnance and a RATO (Rocket-assisted takeoff) pod. 66 A21A-3 aircraft were built between 1947 and 1949, and served as the primary ground attacker until the introduction of more capable jet aircraft.[1]

Design and development

In the early 1940s, it was apparent that Sweden badly needed a new fighter aircraft. Thus, Sweden ordered SAAB to design a new aircraft based on the German Daimler-Benz DB 601, 603 or 605 engine. At that time, the German and Swedish had a series of neutrality agreements, allowing Sweden to import the German-made aircraft engines.[1] One radical configuration considered was a twin-boom aircraft, similar to the P-38 Lightning, but with a single rear-mounted engine in pusher configuration. However, SAAB was initially asked to instead produce the J23, a more conventional aircraft design.[1]

In late 1941, the Swedish air ministry reverted on it’s previous decision and asked the SAAB firm to produce the J21 design. Thus, design work progressed through 1942 and 1943. The final prototype featured a twin-boom wing with a single DB-605B engine, and carried a main armament of one 20 mm cannon along with four 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. The first prototype flew in mid-1943, but was quickly revealed to have inferior performance to the Fw 190, Spitfire and P-51 Mustang. However, 484 aircraft were ordered anyway.[1]

In 1945, SAAB began designing a series of second-generation J21 aircraft designed specifically for the air-to-ground role. This resulted in the A21A-3. The aircraft had a bombsight, and was able to use RATO (Rocket-assisted takeoff) pods, bombs or rockets. The Swedish Air Force eventually ordered 66 aircraft between 1947 and 1949.[1][2]

Operational History

The A21A entered service in 1947, but had an extremely short service life. The aircraft’s poor performance and relative obsolescence meant that it served for an extremely short time. The 66 A21 aircraft built were quickly replaced by the more modern J29 Tunnan and British de Havilland Vampire. The last A21A aircraft were retired in 1954. However, it is worth noting that SAAB also experimented with coupling a jet engine to the J21 airframe; this resulted in the A21RB, a unique aircraft coupling the J21’s fuselage with a de Havilland Ghost engine.[2] Three A21A aircraft survive, all kept in Swedish museums.[1][2]


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Works Cited

  • Aceto, G. (2019, July 19). The Saab J21. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://articles.historynet.com/the-saab-j21.htm
  • Editors of Military Wikia. (2020). SAAB 21. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://military.wikia.org/wiki/SAAB_21

Swedish Aeroplane Company Ltd. (SAAB)
Fighters  J21A-1 · J21A-2 · A21A-3
Jet fighters  A21RB · J21RA · J29A · J/A29B · J29D · J29F · A32A · J32B · J35D
Jet attackers  SK60B · SAAB-105G
Bombers  B17A · B17B · B17BS
Dive-bombers  B3C · B18A · B18B · T18B-1 · T18B-2
Export  SAAB-105OE

Sweden fighters
Saab  J21A-1 · J21A-2 · A21A-3
FFVS  J22-A · J22-B
(Finland) VL  Mörkö-Morane · Pyörremyrsky
(Netherlands) Fokker  Fokker D.XXI
Foreign Import  J8A · Iacobi's J8A · J11 · J20 · J26

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Aceto, G. (2019)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Editors of Military Wikia. (2020)