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SAAB MFI-17 Supporter/Safari

Malmo MFI-17

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex / PAC Mushshak



MFI had then been de-veloping the MFI- 15A when Saab acquired Malmö Flygindustri (MFI) in 1968. The airplane made its maiden flight on 11 July 1969. 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. Later renamed Safari and then further developed into MFI-17 Supporter armed ground-support version. The plane was converted into an efficient weapons carrier by increasing the engine power and making some structural modifications - measures which greatly enhanced its military potential. The new version - the MFI-17 - made its first flight on 6 July 1972.

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.

The first purely military version, named the Supporter, was sold to Pakistan (where it was built under license as the Mushshak) in 1974. Further sales to Denmark, Norway and Zambia followed. A civilian version named the Safari was also sold to countries including Norway, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. Counting both versions, more than 200 of the aircraft were built.

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Super Mushshak


Licence production of the Saab MFI-17 Supporter two/three-seat piston-engined trainer and liaison aircraft continued at Kamra for the Pakistan Air Force and Army in 1987 by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, as the Mushshak.

Two MFI-17Bs were shipped to the PAF Academy in September 1974 for evaluation by trainer pilots and the Pakistan Army signed a contract with Saab in June 1974 to acquire five MFI-17B Supporters along with supply kits. The contract was signed to supercede the obsolete Howard L-19 trainer aircraft. A licence agreement was also obtained to build an indigenous aircraft based on the MFI-17B.

Assembly of Swedish-made kits began in 1976, but complete aircraft are manufactured in Pakistan using imported raw materials, engines, propellers, and avionics equipment. 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.




Upon taking the required suggestions from the Academy, the PAC started the development of MFI-17 Mushshak in June 1975 at its facility in Kamra, Pakistan. Saab ceased the supporter aircraft parts supply in 1982. The maiden MFI-17 Mushshak production aircraft was introduced in December 1983. The aircraft has been accredited by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, and has obtained Type Acceptance certification from the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

The MFI-17 features two integral fuel tanks that carry 48gal of fuel. It also houses an electrical fuel pump for emergency missions. The aircraft is fitted with a Bendix fuel injection system, dual flight control systems, tricycle type landing gear, electrical trim, rudder pedals, ailerons and environmental control system.

It boasts a large luggage compartment on the rear side of the cockpit, which can be easily accessed through a door on the port side of the fuselage.

The glass cockpit of the Mushshak accommodates two crew members, a student pilot and an instructor. It is fitted with two adjustable seats integrated with lockable inertia reels, and there is an option for a third seat on the rear side. The round glass canopy offers clear visibility to the crew. An Enviro R-134 air conditioning system maintains constant temperature in the cockpit.

The cockpit is equipped with UHF radios, GPS, a voice-over recorder, automatic direction finder, rate of climb indicator, attitude heading reference system and an information friend or foe transponder.

The aircraft comprises six hardpoints. It is armed with two 7.62mm cannons, two 75mm unguided rocket pods, four 68mm unguided rocket pods and six anti-tank missiles.




The Mushshak is powered by an AEIO-360A1B6 horizontally opposed four-cylinder piston aircraft engine, which generates 149kW of output power. The engine is designed and manufactured by Textron Lycoming. It is a fuel injected engine driven by two bladed constant speed hartzell propeller made up of aluminium.

The time between overhauls of the engine is 2,000 hours.

Orders of the MFI-17 include: the Egyptian Air Force (54), the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (25), the Royal Air Force of Oman (Eight), the Pakistan Air Force (149), the Royal Saudi Air Force (20) and the Syrian Air Force (Six).

The Danish airforce chose in 1974 Saab Supporter as their new trainer.




The MFI-17 was designed to train pilots of the PAF Academy located at Risalpur. The aircraft is fitted with a blind flying screen allowing for instrument flying missions. It was designed to meet the US FAR23 certification standards in utility and aerobatics classes.

The Mushshak was designed to operate on rough airfields even in adverse weather conditions. It can execute a wide range of ground attack missions including forward air control, border patrol, reconnaissance, artillery fire observation, liaison, camouflage review and transportation.

Some Mushshaks, promoted as very light strike and weapons training aircraft, served with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Most of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Mushshak were upgraded to the more powerful Super Mushshak with a Lycoming 260 hp engine.




Pakistan Aeronautical Complex MFI-395 Super Mushshak

Saab Safari
Engine: 1 x Avco Lycoming IO-360-A1B6, 149kW / 200 hp
Max take-off weight: 1200 kg / 2646 lb
Loaded weight: 646 kg / 1424 lb
Wingspan: 8.85 m / 29 ft 0 in
Length: 7.0 m / 22 ft 11 in
Height: 2.6 m / 9 ft 6 in
Wing area: 11.9 sq.m / 128.09 sq ft
Max. speed: 235 km/h / 146 mph
Cruising speed: 208 km/h (129 mph)
Landing speed: 90 km/h (56 mph)
Range: 1050 km (650 miles)
Ceiling: 4100 m / 13450 ft

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex MFI-17 Mushshak
Engine: Textron Lycoming AEIO-360A1B6, 149kW
Propeller: two bladed constant speed hartzell
Climb rate: 5.2m/s
Maximum speed: 238km/h
Cruise speed: 210km/h
Stall speed: 100km/h
Range: 800km
Service ceiling: 4,100m
Endurance: 5 hr 10 min



Saab-MFI 15/17 Safari-Supporter


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