Forgotten Swedish Fighter Fleet at Rinkaby Military Range

(Image: Andeas Mathiasson, reproduced with permission)

Europe is littered with abandoned military airfields.  Most have reverted back to the farmland they sprang from when war beckoned, their cracked runways and dispersals overcome by weeds.  Rarely are they inhabited by the wrecked remains of old fighter planes, but Rinkaby in Sweden is one of the exceptions, as these urban explorers have documented.

 (Image: Jorchr, public domain)

The former Rinkaby military airfield is used today as a shooting range to train Swedish, Danish and Norwegian soldiers in all aspects of combat.  The gate to the site is guarded by a Saab Draken (above), displayed in a dramatic take off pose.  But while it appears to be externally intact, the retired fighter plane is little more than a stripped-out shell with no engine or cockpit instrumentation to speak of.

 (Images: Andeas Mathiasson, reproduced with permission)

Still, it has fared better than its counterparts at the site.  Less well known – due to the lack of public access at Rinkaby – is that at the far end of the base, several Draken airframes are rusting away along with other dumped examples of redundant military hardware.

 (Images via Google Earth)

The images above from Google Earth show three concrete runways, with the “displayed” Draken towards the top of the picture (and inset).  To the right of the southernmost runway, adjacent to a copse of trees, can clearly be seen two more derelict jets and a plethora of assorted debris from scrap aircraft parts to a vehicle graveyard.

 (Images: Andeas Mathiasson, reproduced with permission)

Close inspection shows the vehicles’ and planes’ conditions to be extremely decrepit.  The old training aircraft on the back of the trailer is more stripped-out hulk than plane.  Its cockpit control panels and space where the pilots’ seats were once fixed is now a mass of battered metal and tangled wiring.

 (Images: Andeas Mathiasson, reproduced with permission)

The twisted remains of a third Draken suggests the vehicles have been – or soon will be – used as range targets.  All that’s left of this jet is a battered fuselage riddled with small arms fire, with torn and twisted metal around the engine nozzle.  The future certainly looks bleak for the other two (relatively) intact Draken airframes and trucks nearby.  With that in mind, the fuel drums and rusting iron bombs (bottom left) are an even more ominous warning of things to come…

Thanks to Andreas Mathiasson for these rare images.

Keep reading – don’t miss this formerly abandoned Saab Draken that gained a new lease of life, and explore these abandoned aircraft, airfields, airbases and airport terminals.



  • Joe Stahl

    If Sweden is so famously neutral, why do they need an air force?

    Silly question, so give a silly reply.

  • Tom

    Interesting point, Joe. Sweden maintains a strong national defence to dissuade other regimes from attacking, despite wartime neutrality. Best I can come up with, sorry if not silly enough 🙂

  • arzhang

    thank you very much for sharing these imazing photoes.may i have your prrmission to use them as my desktop wallpaper please?

  • Tom

    Glad you enjoyed looking at the pics! All pics here (excluding Google Earth) belong to Andreas Mathiasson and are published with his permission ( If you want to use purely as a desktop wallpaper for your own computer and not republish them, I’m sure that’s fine! If you’re going to republish, though, check with Andreas. Cheers!


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