F 17 Blekinge Wing
Another name for F 17 is Blekinge Wing . The 'F' stands for 'flottlj' (= Wing). F 17 was established in 1944. The wing is situated in the small community of Kallinge some 8 km north of Ronneby, which is the nearest town. Blekinge is the name of the province, also called Sweden's garden.
F17 has two squadrons equipped with the JAS-39 Gripen and since the start of this year they are combined in the rapid reaction unit SWAFRAP (Swedish Air Force Rapid Reaction Unit).
The wing was established on the 1st of July 1944. F 17 only used Swedish built aircraft. From the early start it was a naval liaison unit, equipped with torpedo aircraft. Between 1944 and 1947 the main type was de Junker Ju-86K (Swedish designation B.3 and produced under license in Sweden). These aircraft were armed with mines and torpedoes. The next type was Saab's T.18B which was used until 1956. F 17 was later converted into a bomber wing, the T.18B equipped with a 57 mm gun and air to surface rockets. The wing also about this time took delivery of some Saab B 18B bombers equipped with radar. Between 1954 and 1955 the wing had a couple of Saab J-21R's, the first Swedish jet aircraft. They were mainly used for jet conversion training before F 17 took delivery of the Saab A-32A Lansen.
With the introduction of the Lansen, the wing was equipped with jets only. The next transition came in 1973 when F 17 became a fighter wing, equipped with J-35F Drakens. They came from F 3 Malmen and F 18 Tullinge wings, which were closed down at that time. The last Lansen unit was disbanded in 1975.
Between 1976 and 1978, F 17 was a pure fighter wing with two squadrons of J-35F Drakens. One of the wings was withdrawn in 1978 and became a modern recce wing equipped with S 37 and SF 37 Recce Viggens. They were transferred from the disbanded F 11 recce Wing at Nykoping. So F 17 became a mixed wing with fighter and recce planes.
In 1982 the Drakens were withdrawn from service and F 17 converted to the JA-37 Viggen. In 1993 the recce squadron was relocated to the F10 Angelholm Wing, with its place taken by a fighter squadron from the disbanded F 13 Bravalla Wing. F 17 became a pure fighter wing at that time with two fighter squadrons.
During 2002 F 17 converted to the Saab JAS-39 (A/B) Gripen. These aircraft came from disbanded F10 Angelholm Wing. This year the latest version of the Gripen arrived with F 17; the JAS-39C and D. In 2005 F 17 will fly only the C and D version of the Gripen.
Besides fighters also helicopters are stationed at Ronneby AB. Since 1998 all helicopters belonging to the Swedish Armed Forces are organised under one wing; air force command. Part of this wing, Svea helicopter battalion is located at F 17.