In October 1940 the United States government placed an export embargo on 292 fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft ordered by the Swedish authorities. This created an immediate crisis for the Flygvapen (Swedish air force) and an emergency programme was established to design and build a single-seat fighter relying upon domestic industry and talent. The design team was led by Bo Lundberg, and the Flygforvaltningens Verkstad (FFVS) or Air Board Workshop was established to oversee the whole programme from project stage to quantity delivery to the Flygvapen.
The production programme involved over 500 sub-contractors, hardly any with experience of aircraft construction. Lundberg had as a primary objective simplicity of manufacture and in this he succeeded. Powered by a Swedish version of the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp SC3-G radial engine, the FFVS J22 was a cantilever mid-wing monoplane of mixed steel tube and wood construction. Its tubular-steel fuselage had a covering of moulded plywood panels that were integral with the load-bearing structure of the machine. The landing gear main legs retracted into the fuselage and the tailwheel was also fully retractable.
The first of two J22 prototypes flew for the first time on 21 September 1942, from Bromma airport where the final assembly plant had been set up. Before that flight 60 series J22s had been ordered and eventually 198 production fighters were delivered, beginning in October 1943, the last example being received by the air arm in April 1946. J22s served principally with the F3 and F9 wings of the Swedish air arm, based at Malmslatt and Goteborg respectively. They proved popular with their pilots, demonstrating good performance and excellent manoeuvrability, the only criticism being the poor visibility which the pilot had for ground handling.
Two versions of the J22 were built, these differing only in armament: the J22A had two 7.9mm machine-guns and two 13.2mm guns and the J22B four 13.2mm guns. Experience gained in building the J22 proved invaluable in establishing Sweden's postwar aviation industry.