The Most Badass Saab Isn’t a Car

Saab Group is still one of Scandinavia’s most powerful defense firms, just as it has been for 75 years.

It played out like a tragic Gothic saga. Saab, the quirky Swedish automaker with a cult following, gobbled up by General Motors—only to be chewed up and spit out, bankrupt. A parade of potential buyers, from Koenigsegg to a Russian banking combine, teased a buyout. No luck. In the end, Saab Automobile AB was consolidated as NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) in 2012, a joint venture between Chinese and Japanese investors. Since then: rumors, teases, false starts, lawsuits, prototypes, delays and more rumors. Now, NEVS says it'll produce five new models by 2018. Color us skeptical.

But just because the company isn’t building series production cars doesn’t mean it’s gone. Not even close. Saab Group is still one of Scandinavia’s most powerful defense firms, just as it has been since the Forties. Radars. Planes. Helicopters. Missiles. Saab builds or supplies components for all of ’em. So, in case you’d forgotten just how badass this company is, here’s a quick rundown of Saab’s work past and present. 

Copyright Saab AB/STEFAN KALM

Aerial defense training for MU2 and Learjet35.

Copyright Saab AB/Saab Electronic Defense Systems

Combat and surveillance systems for Visby class stealth corvette.

Peter Liander/Saab AB

Saab 340 AEW Erieye, supplied to the Royal Thai Air Force.

Copyright Saab AB

RBS 23 BAMSE ground-based missile air-defence.

Stefan Kalm/Saab AB

Maintenance and support for UH-60M (a.k.a. HKP 16) Black Hawk hellicopter.

Copyright Saab AB/Saab Underwater Systems

Double Eagle Mark II remotely operated minehunter.

Copyright Saab AB/STEFAN KALM

Saab Gripen NG 39-7 single-engine fighter jet.

Christoffer Lomfors / Saab AB

Saab AT-4 portable anti-tank weapon.

Saab AB

Saab 18 twin-engine bomber.

Nilsson Peter / Saab AB

HSwMS Gotland diesel-electric attack submarine.

Saab AB

Saab 210 Lilldraken experimental double-delta concept.

Katsuhiko TOKUNAGA/Saab AB

IRIS-T short-range infrared homing air-to-air missile. 

Saab AB

Saab 32 Lansen attack, fighter and reconnaissance transonic airplanes.

Saab AB

Saab Skeldar V-200 unmanned aerial vehicle.

Saab AB

Saab J-29 Flydande tunnan fighter jet.