TP 85 - Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (1972-1999)

Page 1 (of 2)

Swedish Air Force ELINT aircraft TP 85 Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III


When the Caravelle first flew in 1955, it was a pioneer aircraft from several points of view. It was the first short-/medium range jet airliner of the world. It was the first jet airliner of France. It was also the first airliner of the world with its engines mounted on pods on the sides aft. 

The design work of the SE-210 Caravelle started in May 1952. The letters ”SE” stands for ”Sud-Est-Aviation”. Two prototypes were built. The first one flew in May 1955. 

SAS - Scandinavian Airlines System - a joint venture between Sweden, Denmark and Norway was the first customer outside France to order the Caravelle. The year was 1957. SAS used their fleet of 21 Caravelles until 1974, when they were replaced by the more fuel-efficient DC-9. 

Two of the SAS Caravelles were sold to the Air Force in 1971, where they got the designation TP 85. The two aircraft was SE-DAG ”Dag Viking”, which got the Air Force number 85172 and SE-DAI ”Alrik Viking”, Air Force number 85210. The three last digits in the Air Force number was the same as the construction number of the aircraft. 

In the beginning of their service, the Air Force Caravelles were used mostly for transports. But after two years both of them were used for their main mission - ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence). The two aircraft were modified for their new service. The nose was replaced by a nose like the SAAB Lansen. A big radome was installed under the fuselage and the aircraft was fitted with a lot of antennas. 

The TP 85 was powered by two Rolls Royce Avon RA29 engines, each of 5.000 kp thrust. The Swedish designation of the engine was RM 10

The crew from the Air Force consisted of two pilots and one flight engineer. The ELINT crew from FRA (the Radio Establishment of the Defence) had a lot of space in the large cabin. An ELINT mission used to be of four hours duration. 

The thirsty TP 85s were replaced by two Tp 102B Gulfstream. The Gulfstream has the disadvantage of being much smaller, but can reach a considerable higher altitude. 

The two military Swedish Caravelles are both preserved and are owned by Flygvapenmuseum. 85172 is placed at the Air Force base at Malmen (photo at top). 85210 are on loan to ”Le Caravelle Club”, which hopes to make the aircraft airworthy again. 

Bottom – an older photo of # 85210 from the days when the Caravelles were based at Wing F 8 at  Barkarby, a fact that also can be seen by the “8” on the fuselage. Note braking parachute, a must  on an icy runway.

Length (with Lansen nose): 32,65 m. Span: 34,30 m. Height: 8,72 m. MTOW: 46.000 kg. Max.speed: 850 km/h.


Swedish Air Force ELINT aircraft TP 85 Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III

Military Aviation in Sweden - main page

© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-03-22


Anpassad sökning