Saab-MFI 15/17 Safari-Supporter
|LIGHT AIRCRAFT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / Sweden / Saab|
On 11 July 1969 Saab flew the prototype (SE-301) of a two/three-seat civil/military trainer or general utility aircraft to which it had allocated the designation Saab-MFI 15. As then flown it was powered by a 119kW Avco Lycoming IO-320-B2 flat-four engine and had a conventional low-set tailplane, but this was modified subsequently to T-tail configuration to minimise damage when operating from rough airfields.
The prototype was flown on 26 February 1971 with a more powerful Avco Lycoming engine, which became the standard powerplant for the production version, which was re-designated Saab Safari. A braced shoulder-wing monoplane with fixed tricycle landing gear, available optionally with tailwheel landing gear, it provides side-by-side enclosed accommodation for two and has dual controls as standard.
A military version designated originally Saab-MFI 17 was flown on 6 July 1972 and differed from the Safari by being equipped more specifically for use as a military trainer, or for such duties as artillery observation, forward air control and liaison; this version was later named Saab Supporter.
In August 1978 Saab flew a version of the Safari with a 157kW Continental flat-six turbocharged engine; designated Safari TS it did not progress beyond the prototype stage.
Saab built a combined total of about 250 Safari/Supporter aircraft before production ended in the late 1970s. Military Supporters were supplied to the Pakistan air force and army (45), Royal Danish air force (32, which designated it T-17) and Zambian air force (20). Licence-production of this aircraft was started in Pakistan during 1976, initially from kits supplied by Saab, but there has been a gradual change to indigenous manufacture from raw materials. Designated Mushshak in Pakistan, more than 150 have been built.