The Saab 35 Draken (IPA: [²drɑːkɛn]; 'The Kite' or 'The Dragon') is a Swedish fighter aircraft developed and manufactured by Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (SAAB) between 1955 and 1974. Development of the Saab 35 Draken started in the 1948 as the Swedish air force future replacement for the then also in development Saab 29 Tunnan dayfighter and Saab 32B Lansen night fighter. It featured an innovative but unproven double delta wing, which lead to the ceation of a sub-scale test aircraft, the Saab 210, which was produced and flown to test this previously-unexplored aerodynamic feature. Saab 35 Draken entered service with frontline squadrons of the Swedish Air Force on 8 March 1960. It received the designation J 35, the prefix J standing for Jaktflygplan (Pursuit-aircraft) – the Swedish term for fighter.
The Saab 35 Draken is known for, among other things, its many "firsts" within aviation. It was the first European-built combat aircraft with true supersonic capability to enter service and the first fully supersonic aircraft to be deployed in Western Europe. Designwise it was one of, if not the first, combat aircraft designed with double delta wings, being drawn up in early 1950. The unconventional wing design also had the side effect of making it the first known aircraft to perform and be capable of the Cobra maneuver. It was probably also the second European-built aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in level flight (the first one being the very similar Dassault Mirage III); which was reached on January 14 1960.
The Draken functioned as an effective supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War period. Even though the type was designed and intended as an interceptor, it was considered to be a very capable dogfighter for the era. In Swedish service, it underwent several upgrades, the ultimate of these being the J 35J model. By the 1980s, the SAF's Drakens had largely been replaced by the more advanced Saab 37 Viggen fighter, while the introduction of the more capable Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter was expected in service within a decade, although delayed. As a consequence of cutbacks and high maintenance costs, the SAF opted to retire the Draken during December 1999. The type was also exported to the air forces of Austria, Denmark and Finland. Danish aircraft have also been exported post service to the United States were they have seen use as training aircraft for test pilots.