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Post WW2: Soko Galeb G-2

The Galeb ("Seagull") was the first Yugoslavian jet design to enter production, and featured a 2500lb thrust Rolls-Royce Viper II turbine engine - the same engine used in the contemporary Aermacchi MB-326. This provides the Galeb with a maximum speed of around 780km/h.

 

First flown in 1961, production began in 1963 with the aircraft initially built as a two-seat trainer. However it was later modified for use as a single-seat light attack aircraft, the J-1 Jastreb ("Hawk"). The Jastreb utilized a strengthened airframe and an improved Viper engine with 500 pounds more thrust than the Galeb. Other changes include structural strengthening, extra hardpoints for rockets and three, instead of two, 12.7mm guns in the nose.

GalebDuring the 1960s, the G-2 was shown on the international airshows in Farnborough and Le Bourget, where it proved to be as good as the other Western training aircraft (Jet Provost, Fouga Magister and Aermacchi). In comparison the Galeb's main disadvantages were its unpressurized cockpit and less expensive navigational equipment, but handling of the aircraft and some other solutions (design, position of built-in guns, etc) were equally good as the western types.

The Galeb features a straight wing with tip tanks, Folland Type 1 -B lightweight ejector seats, sideways hinging canopy transparencies and underwing hardpoints for light bombs and rockets.

The aircraft was also designed to operate from prepared grass strips (that would enable the G-2 to remain operational in case the enemy destroyed the concrete runways). In addition, the jet engine air intakes were designed in a way which didn't allow particles to be sucked-in, and even if that happened, the Rolls-Royce engine was able to 'swallow' even small birds without consequences.

Between 1963 and 1985, when production ceased, around 270 Galebs were built for the Yugoslav air force, 120 for Libya, and six for Zambia (who also purchased 20 Jastrebs in 1971, some of which are still operational) .

Both Galebs and Jastrebs saw service during Yugoslavia's civil war with Serbian forces. 

 

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