26 – North American P-51D Mustang (1948-1954)
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was the unofficial, but commonly used, designation of the twelve J
26 fighter aircraft
that were fitted with reconnaissance cameras and were used by
Wing F 21 at Kallax, not far from the Arctic Circle.
161 J 26, perhaps better
known as the North American P-51 Mustang, was bought by the Air Force at
the end of and just after the Second World War. The first 50 aircraft
were intended for Wing F 16 at Uppsala. This number included four
Mustangs which had made emergency landings in Sweden during combat
missions and retained here. Two of these was of the version older P-51B,
46 aircraft were flown from the UK by American pilots in March
and April 1945.
All Mustangs, both P-51B and P-51D were given the Swedish
designation J 26.
March 1946, further 90 P-51D Mustangs were bought, this time for Wing F
4 at Östersund, which now was to be converted to fighters. A last batch
of 21 aircraft was purchased, intended for F 21 at Kallax near Luleå,
our most northern Air Force Wing.
this time, the Air Force lacked suitable photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The slow and not very dependable Caproni Ca 313 S
16 had been used during the neutrality guard. The Swedish defence
had of course hard to follow the development abroad of the photo
reconnaissance technique, but when a Lockheed Lightning of the P.R.
version F-5E made a forced landing in Sweden in 1944, one glimpse of the
recent development in the United Stated was caught. The Swedish Air
Force installed P.R. cameras in a small number of the fighters (J 9 and
J 22) just after the end of WWII and thus got some fairly modern
ex-British Spitfire PR Mk XIX
(S 31) were provided
in 1948 to the Reconnaissance Wing F 11 at Nyköping, but this model was
not chosen as P.R. aircraft for F 21 probably because it lacked
armament. F 21 was (and is still) the only Air Force Wing in the most
northern part of Sweden. A J 26 Mustang equipped with one large camera
or two small cameras could keep its six cannons in the wings and could
also be used as fighter aircraft if necessary.
were carried out in the beginning of 1948 at the Test Establishment (FC)
at Malmslätt. Two Mustangs from F 16 were fitted used for this purpose.
The Air Board decided to choose the alternative with one large camera.
Twelve J 26s were equipped with the British F.52 camera, in the
Swedish Air Force designated Ska 10 (Seriekamera 10). The camera could be fitted with lenses of 50
cm alt. 92 cm focal length.
rebuilt Mustangs were delivered to F 21 in 1948-1949. When the Air Board
decided in 1953 that the Mustangs would be replaced by jet aircraft,
all remaining J 26/S26 were sold to other countries. The last
flight with a S 26 took place in 1954.
S 26 was fitted with a Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin12-cylinder
engine developing 1.490 hp. The aircraft was armed with six 12,7
mm automatic cannons.
Length 9,83 m. Span 11,29 m. MTOW 5.262 kg. Max. Speed 700 km/h.
The colour profile above is from Mikael Östberg's web site "Flieger". In his excellent site about Swedish aiviation, you can find a lot of unique photos of older and newer Swedish military aircraft as well as beautiful colour profiles.