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SAAB J35J Draken "The Dragons Final Flight"


Polls of the Dragon  

140 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you want the J35J added to the Swedish tech tree?

    • Yes (as a tech tree vehicle)
      133
    • Yes (as a premium/event vehicle)
      2
    • No
      5
  2. 2. If it were added what battle rating should it have?

    • 9.7
      6
    • 10.0
      7
    • 10.3
      7
    • 10.7
      62
    • 11.0 (when possible)
      54
    • I don't want the J35J added
      4
  3. 3. In addition to the RB24J would you want the J35J to get the RB27 & RB28?

    • Yes I'd like both
      125
    • Yes but only the RB27
      5
    • Yes but only the RB28
      3
    • It should get neither
      2
    • I don't want the J35J added
      5
  4. 4. In your own opinion do you think the AIM-4 (RB28) and AIM-26 (RB27) are good AAM's?

    • Yes I think they are both good missiles
      51
    • They're alright but not good
      32
    • They aren't the worst but they could be much better
      14
    • The Falcon is one of the worst AAM's ever created
      14
    • Why is this a question?
      16
    • "Sidewinder goes boom"
      13


Foreword:

Hello fellow forum users, welcome to what is my second suggestion post, today I will be going over a variant of the revered J35 Draken, which is weird because I haven't even played Sweden, never the less this kite is not doing so well right now and because of that I've decided to suggest this in hopes of giving Sweden a top tier fighter that can go against the likes of the Phantom and Mig 21; with that said lets jump right into the J35J Draken! 

 

Overview:

The J35J Draken is a Swedish, single engine, jet powered, fighter/interceptor. Created as a modernisation upgrade in the 1980's for the preceeding J35F, the J35J would be the last variant of the Draken produced and can be considered the types ultimate version. The J35J would serve with the Flygvapnet (Swedish air force) for just over a decade with it being retired in 1999 which by then the Draken had been in service for nearly 40 years (a title not many aircraft can claim). 

296001584_Saab_J35J_Draken_Sweden_-_Air_

"Two J35J's notice the infrared search and track sensor under the nose which is one of it's defining features"

Development:

  • Part 1: Creating the "Definitive Draken"

Although this post is about the J35J that types development on it's own would not have enough context, for that we first need to talk about the J35F.

After deliveries of the J35D were completed in 1964 SAAB immediatley got to work on producing the next variant of the J35 (which had been in development for around 5 years at this point), the aim of this new variant was to make the Draken reach the capabilites planned for it when it was still being designed in the 1950's; that of a fast supersonic interceptor able to fire long range missiles in a head on against bombers intruding upon Swedish airspace. To this end the Draken would've been equipped with the RB 321 (which if it had entered service would have been the first active radar guided missile to be used on an aircraft) unfortunatley (or in the Soviets case fortunately) it was too far ahead of it's time and the RB 321 would like so many early air to air missiles be canclled; instead the Draken would have to make do with the RB24 for the time being.

However this would not be forever, during 1958 Sweden would negotiate with the United States through which they would gain access to license produce the AIM-4 Falcon AAM and it's upgraded SARH variant the AIM-26; the Falcon has a story all of it's own but that is for another time what is important however is which Falcons Sweden would decide to procure and produce: overall there were 5 options avalible those being the 1st gen AIM-4's (the SARH AIM-4A and IR AIM-4C), 2nd gen Aim 4's (SARH AIM-4E and IR AIM-4G) and the B variant of the AIM-26 which had a convetional warhead (the A variant was nuclear); in the end it was decided that Sweden would produce the AIM-26B as the RB-27, in addition to this they also created a new version of the Falcon by combining the seeker of an AIM-4G with the body of an AIM-4C, creating the RB28 which in many ways was similar to the AIM-4D, however due to a numerous amount of tweaks (such as the addition of a proximity fuse) the RB-28 was overall better then it's American counterparts (including the heavily improved AIM-4H) making it the best AIM-4 variant produced.

 

image.png.e89bab54b43ac359f468ad80a51a70

"A picture showcasing an RB 28 in green camoflage, when comparing it to the RB24J (shown behind it) it is has much more range and is faster, however it is far less manouverable".

 

post-4570-1236247011.thumb.jpg.fc81018e2

"A picture of an AIM-26B (RB27) Super Falcon, unlike the RB28, the RB27 was a near exact copy of it's American counterpart (the only difference being that it was modified to work with Swedish aircraft) and unlike the AIM-4, the AIM-26 had a proximity fuse making it much more effective".

With the new armaments aquired SAAB now directed it's focus to upgrading the Draken so that would be capable of using the Falcon to achieve this a new radar, the PS/01A, was fitted alongside a new collision course flight control system called the FCS37B; Additionally the S-7A-2 radar gunsight was replaced with the newer S-7B3. With these new additions the Draken was now able to use the Falcon there was one problem though, to be used effectively the Falcon required auxilary computers to prepare it for launch and to calculate it's launch, targeting and tracking parameters unfortantely there was no space left to be used; to fix this issue SAAB simply removed the AKAN cannon in the left wing and put the computers in the now empty ammunition compartment(as shown in the picture below).                                                                                                 

  J35F_Robothjalpapparater_i_v_AKAN-utrrym

"The auxillary computers used to program, arm, target and fire the Falcon missile, stored in the compartment for the former AKAN cannon. It is also worth noting that F-4D lacked these avionics which is one of the many reasons why the Falcon performed so miserabley with the Phantom in the Vietnam war"

With the avionics issue now fixed Draken could now (much like the F-102 and F-106) use the Falcon as an effective BVR missile for long range combat; alonside these upgrades other improvements were made such as an improved cockpit layout and the communication, autopilot and navigation systems were all updated but the most noticable change (outside of the bvr missiles) was the replacment of the cockpits canopy with a new bulged version increasing the pilots visibility and situational awareness.

avj35_3.thumb.png.af8becb7befc9451b605e8 avj35_5.thumb.png.2273e33a71e332d92fb0af

"Diagrams showcasing the evolution of the Drakens forwad section, notice how on the J35F the rear frame has been removed with the canopies height being slightly increased".

With these upgrades finished SAAB had finally created the combat aircraft that was orignially envisioned over a decade ago when the Draken was still a small technology demonstrator. Now finished, the new variant entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1966 as the J-35F and would go on to be the most successful version of the aircraft with exports to Denmark (as the F35) and Finland (as the J35XS and J35FS); the J35F would also have the distinction of being the most numerous Draken with 230 being produced and over the course of its production run and service over half would be upgraded to the F2 standard which included upgrades for the radar and radar sight (in the forms of PS011 and S-7B31 respectively) but most notable was the addition of the Ericsson S-71N IRST (a license built Hughes AN/AAR-4) which would assist in providing targeting data for the Falcon greatly increasing the reliability of the missiles. Overall the J35F would have a long service life with the Swedish air force receiving several upgrades throughout its lifetime before being retired in 1991 ending its career as the most numerous and definitive version of the Draken however the J35F also Carries the somewhat unceremonious distinction of being the last production version of the Draken as well. However this would not be the end of the Draken as it still had a little left to give, this brings us onto the next part of this story with the development of MOD35.

 

  • Part 2: MOD 35 & the Dragons final flight

In the late 1960's (during the J35F's heyday) SAAB had proposed a new strike fighter version of the Draken called the JA35, however the project would never go forward mainly due to the Swedish air force being commited to the AJ37 Viggen. For the next two decades the J35 would serve the Swedish airforce well but as the 1970's came along the Draken started to be retired, with the first to go being the J35A's and B's, and going into the 1980's this process was sped up after the interceptor version of the Viggen, the JA37, was introduced. However Sweden was quite reluctant to let go of the Draken so soon (due in part to the J39 being delayed and because the airframe could still be improved) thus the JA35 was resurrected in a new form, that being the fairly radical MOD35. The upgrade envisioned sigificant modifications to the Draken such as adding retractable canards to the intakes, installing extendable dogtooth wingtips and a new avionics suite that was strike focused; these upgrades would have allowed the Draken to carry a heavy strike load without having it's agility and STOL capability comprimised. Overall this upgrade would've possibly allowed the Draken to fly well into the 21st century. But it was not to be the program was cancelled; all was not lost though instead a much cheaper upgrade was approved that would keep the J35F relevant as an inteceptor, at first this was simply known as J35F MOD but soon it would be given it's defintive designation of J35J.

avj35_6.thumb.png.ddf2e67fe79c9b1cdf9b0f  

"A concept of the MOD 35, it looks as if the Draken was reborn as a 4th gen fighter, one can wonder what would become of the Kite if it had actually been produced"

The J35J program would involve 67 J35F2's all of which had low flight hours (one of of them was actually a Draken prototype that had never seen service) the upgrades included the installation of larger fuel tanks, new flights instruments & other avionics were added and modfications to the radar, radar sight and IRST were made making them more relaible at low altitudes (thus making the RB 27 more reliable too); in addition to these, changes were also made to the weaponry, the single AKAN cannon's ammuniton was increased by to 120 rounds (from the previous 90) and new pylons under the intakes were added which were soley for the use of the RB24J this brought the Drakens total missile count up to 6. The J35J's would be delivered from 1987 to 1991 and would go on to be the last variant of the Draken to see service with the Swedish air force for 12 years and it would also be the last variant of the Draken created (not produced though as all J's were modifications). In 1999 (with rising maitenance costs and the introduction of the J39 Gripen) the Drakens service would come to an end, 47 years after the SAAB 230's first flight back in 1952 in that time the Draken had dutifuly served Sweden and several other nations and even in it's old age many Swedish pilots still saw it as a prized mount due to it's still impressive performance and the challenge it provided compared to the easier to handle Viggen and Gripen. It it worth noting too that (in a heartwarming way) the Draken flew long enough to see the 4th generation era of fighters in which aircraft design would take advantage of features it pioneered (such as the delta wing and (limited) supermanuverbility) to create combat aircraft that were supermanouverble (such as the Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen).

20210120_153717.thumb.jpg.52d853b8c24c62

"A J35J, armed with two RB24J's and four fuel tanks, flying off into the sky".

 

Trivia:

Did you know, the J35J logically should've been called the J35G (the next letter in the alphabet after H) however all J35J's were delivered to the Scania Air Force Wing otherwise known as F10, in the end the Air force brass felt that the designation J (which is the 10th letter in the alphabet) would fit better and chose that instead.

 

Specifications:

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 15.35m
  • Height: 3.89m
  • Wingspan: 9.42m
  • Wing area: 49.2m2
  • Empty weight: 8282kg
  •  Powerplant: Volvo Aero RM6C axial flow afterburning turbojet rated at 5845kgf dry and 7880kgf with reheat
  • Max speed (clean): 2125 kph
  • Fuel capacity (internal): 2582l 
  • Fuel capacity (four fuel tanks): 2100l (525l per tank)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000m

 

Armament:

Primary:

1x 30mm Akan m/55 cannon with 120 rounds of ammunition

 

Secondary:

Nine external pylons in total:

 

  • Two under the fuselage, each capable of carrying a 525l fuel tank, 19x JRAK anti air rocket pod or launch rail for a variety AAM's including: RB24J, RB27 and RB28
  • Two under the intakes, each capable of carrying a launch rail for the RB24J AAM
  • Five under the under the wings, two are capable of carrying a 525l fuel tank, 19x JRAK anti air rocket pod or launch rail for a variety of AAM's including: RB24J, RB27, RB28; there are three other pylons on each wing (one inboard of the centre pylon and two outboard of it) each can carry the ARAK armour piercing rocket (in single or double's) 

J35J_Bevapning_Jakt_RB_FT_225.thumb.jpg. J35J_Bevapning_Attack__FT__225.thumb.jpg J35J_Bevapning_Attack_Jakt__JRAK_FT_225. J35F_Bevapning_Jakt_RB_225.thumb.jpg.60b

"Four pictures showing some of the J35J's armament options (the one bottom left is a J35F as I couldn't find one that showed the fuselage pylons with missiles)". 

Avionics & Equipment:

  • Radar: PS-01/11
  • Radar sight: S-7B31
  • IRST: S 71N
  • Flight mode instrumet: Type 35
  • SSR transponder: PN-837 

  J35J_med_FLI35_225.thumb.jpg.0c79de9bdcd "Cockpit instruments of the J35J"

 

1280px-Saab_J35J_Draken_35556_56_(840607 20210120_212957.thumb.jpg.f029d075bd26a6  

"Pictures of two different J35J's; the top one is at an event and the bottom one taxiing".

Why it should be added:

Ingame the Draken is a splendid aircraft to fly it has very good performance and in the hands of a pilot who knows when and when not to conserve their energy the Draken is quite possbily the best dogfighter in the entire game. This was true (and to an extent still is) however with the addition of BVR missiles and their improvement over the past few updates the Drakens position has slowly became worse and worse; this is not only due to it's lack of a long range missile though as there are a few other issues it has, such as a lack of rwr and flares, all these problems come together to make the Draken one of the most frustrating fighters to use at top tier. Adding the J35J would not fix all these issues but it would certainly make the Draken a lot more competetive due to the use of the AIM 26 and the addition of two more pylons means that you do not need to sacrifice two of your short range missiles either. Overall the J35J is a much needed addition to the Swedish air tech tree, not just because the current J35D is underwhelming but because it would turn the Draken into a competetive fighter able to go head to head with the best fighters (such as the Phantom) all the while bringing it's own unique weaponry and performance to the table. 

draken-i.thumb.jpg.03bfad2c9481882fa7662

"A J35J in formation with the AJ37 and JAS39A, not many photo's unite 3 generations and well over half a century of aviation history together quite like this".

References:

1. Arboga Electronic History Society:

 

2.Arboga Missile Museum:

 

3. Air Power Australia:

 

4.Airvectors:

 

5.Military Factory:

 

6.Directory of US Military Rockets and Missiles

7.Military Wikia:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by KekDermott@live
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Open for discussion.

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Definite +1, this would be a fantastic variant to see added to the Swedish tree.

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The RB 28(aim4) was basically  all aspect and flares dont do alot, but then they dont pull that many G's

"RB28 var försedd med en passiv kraftigt kyld IR-känslig målsökare med en detektor av indium/antimonid. Materialet och kylningen medgav ett IR-fönstret inom en våglängd för detektering av relativt låg värme som medförde följning på målet i nästan alla riktningar samt mindre påverkan av störning."

"RB28 was equipped with a passive heavily cooled IR-sensitive target finder with an indium / antimonide detector. The material and cooling allowed an IR window within a wavelength to detect relatively low heat which resulted in tracking of the target in almost all directions as well as less impact of interference(flares)".

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15 hours ago, strv122 said:

The RB 28(aim4) was basically  all aspect and flares dont do alot, but then they dont pull that many G's

"RB28 var försedd med en passiv kraftigt kyld IR-känslig målsökare med en detektor av indium/antimonid. Materialet och kylningen medgav ett IR-fönstret inom en våglängd för detektering av relativt låg värme som medförde följning på målet i nästan alla riktningar samt mindre påverkan av störning."

"RB28 was equipped with a passive heavily cooled IR-sensitive target finder with an indium / antimonide detector. The material and cooling allowed an IR window within a wavelength to detect relatively low heat which resulted in tracking of the target in almost all directions as well as less impact of interference(flares)".

@strv122 can you give me more details on the RB28? A few of my sources said it was the best version of the Falcon but the only info they gave was how it was launched not it's actual performance like it's range, speed or manuverbility. 

Edited by KekDermott@live
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11 hours ago, KekDermott@live said:

@strv122 can you give me more details on the RB28? A few of my sources said it was the best version of the Falcon but the only info they gave was how it was launched not it's actual performance like it's range, speed or manuverbility. 

i have the same sources as you, robotmusem and AEF.

according to robotmuseum the performance is.

Spoiler

 

  • Length: 2.012m
  • warhead: 1.3 kg
  • Span: 0.508 m
  • arming conditions, Acceleration> 20 g for 0.4 - 0.7s
  • Weight: 61 kg
  • arming time: 1.0 - 2.0 sec
  • Self-destruction time: 25 sec
  • Engine power:18800 N (powder)
  • Engine burn time:1.3 sec
  • Maximum controlled flight time at flight altitude 3.0 km ca 12 s
  • Minimum speed for steerable flight M 1.0
  • Maximum speed over the aircraft M 1.4
  • The seeker wavelength range 3.84 - 5.5 µm
  • FOV Stationary 3.5°
  • FOV rotating 6.3°
  • The target's maximum rotation angle 47°
  • The target's maximum precision speed 6°/ s
  • The target's slave speed about 10°/ s
  • Operating temperature of the IR seeker -180° C
  • Max cooling time About 60 - 80s
  • Max battery life ca 90 s

 

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7 hours ago, strv122 said:

i have the same sources as you, robotmusem and AEF.

according to robotmuseum the performance is.

Reveal hidden contents

 

  • Length: 2.012m
  • warhead: 1.3 kg
  • Span: 0.508 m
  • arming conditions, Acceleration> 20 g for 0.4 - 0.7s
  • Weight: 61 kg
  • arming time: 1.0 - 2.0 sec
  • Self-destruction time: 25 sec
  • Engine power:18800 N (powder)
  • Engine burn time:1.3 sec
  • Maximum controlled flight time at flight altitude 3.0 km ca 12 s
  • Minimum speed for steerable flight M 1.0
  • Maximum speed over the aircraft M 1.4
  • The seeker wavelength range 3.84 - 5.5 µm
  • FOV Stationary 3.5°
  • FOV rotating 6.3°
  • The target's maximum rotation angle 47°
  • The target's maximum precision speed 6°/ s
  • The target's slave speed about 10°/ s
  • Operating temperature of the IR seeker -180° C
  • Max cooling time About 60 - 80s
  • Max battery life ca 90 s

 

Thats quite a shame then as I was hoping to know what modifications they made to it. The only info I have on what mods were done are from air power australia and a comment by some guy on secret projects.  

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1 minute ago, MonkeyBussiness said:

so we don't know how many G all those falcons can pull ? (max g during launch , max g in the air , max g of the target )

Not the g amount but we know how much the tracker can track with is 6 degrees/S

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43 minutes ago, MonkeyBussiness said:

so we don't know how many G all those falcons can pull ? (max g during launch , max g in the air , max g of the target )

@MonkeyBussinessIn the past day or so I've been able to get my hands on documents detailing the American Falcons performance. For the Aim4D its max pull is around 19g and the Aim26B's is 29g. If you like I can share them with you

Edited by KekDermott@live
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2 hours ago, KekDermott@live said:

@MonkeyBussinessIn the past day or so I've been able to get my hands on documents detailing the American Falcons performance. For the Aim4D its max pull is around 19g and the Aim26B's is 29g. If you like I can share them with you

id like that too

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  • 4 weeks later...

not as familiar reasoning behind this but why did did the Swedes bother upgrading the J35 in the mid 80s when by that point J35 would have been redundant as  a fighter with the JA37 entering service 5-6 years before? or for that matter keeping J35 in operation until 1999 by which point the JA37D modernization was completed ( which utilized some avionics technology from the JAS39 gripen), Ground attack AJS37 viggen retired and with the first model JAS39A Gripen models started entering service a couple years prior? Especially considering the cold war was long over by then, and there was not even a justification of needing extra reserve of  3rd tier aircraft for the sake of numbers. Seemed counter intuitive

 

 

Edited by RanchSauce39

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12 hours ago, RanchSauce39 said:

not as familiar reasoning behind this but why did did the Swedes bother upgrading the J35 in the mid 80s when by that point J35 would have been redundant as  a fighter with the JA37 entering service 5-6 years before? or for that matter keeping J35 in operation until 1999 by which point the JA37D modernization was completed ( which utilized some avionics technology from the JAS39 gripen), Ground attack AJS37 viggen retired and with the first model JAS39A Gripen models started entering service a couple years prior? Especially considering the cold war was long over by then, and there was not even a justification of needing extra reserve of  3rd tier aircraft for the sake of numbers. Seemed counter intuitive

 

 

The j35 is not a fighter but a interceptor and its alot cheaper to upgrade than to buy fully new aircraft

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On 17/02/2021 at 16:26, strv122 said:

The j35 is not a fighter but a interceptor and its alot cheaper to upgrade than to buy fully new aircraft

 

yes. But there are instances were Its actually more costly and no longer practical to do so, like in this case where they were paying for upgrades on redundant design when already newer designs were produced, and already being upgraded with a even newer next generation already being in R&D.

 

 final JA37 acquisition was already complete by 1990 but by that point already moving on to JA37C upgrade. and by 1990 Swedes were already developing the Gripen. so to deliver J35 upgrades 1987-91, was too little too late.  There comes a point where an aircraft is entirely redundant and not worth upgrading. By  1999 when the J35 was retired the JA37's were on further modernized JA37D were in the same place. The Gripen was the future and gradually phasing Viggen's, with the AJS37 ground attack version already being phased out.

 

Draken should have been retired before the end of the cold war. In this particular example it seemed very counter intuitive to upgrade what would have been 2nd tier  fighter ( and a 3rd rate by 1999)  when especially in the context as interceptor the JA37 was hands down superior. Modernisider the JA37 thru C/D and AJ37 into the AJS37 made sense because besides upgrades being needed, the JAS39 Gripen was still not around, and thus there was a capabilty gap a perfect interim solution.

 

Edited by RanchSauce39
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  • 2 months later...
18 hours ago, Lonewold said:

Some better pictures of the 35 MOD which look quite cool in my opinion
118481-2567970d1dc565c9ef3e014169f9e856. 118480-ec92bbdc9a77fc5bec7b3233bf84a9a6.
Found online taken from book "Bo Widfeldt, Draken"

If its alright would I be able to use these photos in the suggestion post their a lot better then the one I'm using

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Could the J-35J mount chaff-flare countermeasure pods? I couldn't find anything that supported this, but I did find an article stating that the Austrians purchased 24 J-35Ds from Sweden(redesignated as J-35O in Austrian service) and modernized them which included outfitting them all with CM pods. The Swedes could use something like the mirage 3e. I.e their top fighters becoming a bit more survivable in the top tier missile meta.

Edited by xxlightsabrexx
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9 hours ago, xxlightsabrexx said:

Could the J-35J mount chaff-flare countermeasure pods? I couldn't find anything that supported this, but I did find an article stating that the Austrians purchased 24 J-35Ds from Sweden(redesignated as J-35O in Austrian service) and modernized them which included outfitting them all with CM pods. The Swedes could use something like the mirage 3e. I.e their top fighters becoming a bit more survivable in the top tier missile meta.

As far as I've been able to find, no. The only Swedish Draken to carry countermeasures or an RWR was the S-35E, which was an unarmed reconnaissance variant.

 

buuuuut...

 

There is apparently also a Finnish variant , the Saab 35S, which was originally a J35F-2 that received the additional missile rails of the J35J and had chaff/flare throwers installed later in its service life (and could additionally fire R-13M's!). Still no RWR though.

 

The Austrian Draken, funnily enough, is too advanced for the game at the moment, seeing as it only received missiles (all-aspect AIM-9P-5's) in the 90's, and flew guns-only prior to that. It did have both flares and RWR, but no SARH missiles and only 4 pylons.

 

There was also the Danish Saab 35XD, but while that aircraft received an RWR and flare dispensers, it was rebuilt into a strike aircraft. So it was significantly heavier while also being able to carry 2 Sidewinders at most.

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