Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

The F-86 Sabre

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

The F-86 Sabre

Article excerpt

Taking advantage of German research done during World War II, American engineers made the F-86 the US Air Force's first swept-wing jet fighter, with the initial production aircraft flying in May 1948.

The F-86A, designed as a day fighter, was 37 feet, six inches long and 14 feet, eight inches high, with a wingspan of 37 feet, one inch. The Sabre weighed in at 13,791 pounds (fully loaded), mounting six .50-caliber machine guns and capable of carrying 2,000 pounds of bombs or eight rockets. Powered by a General Electric J-47 engine that delivered 5,200 pounds of thrust, it cruised at 540 mph with a top speed of 685 mph. The F-86 had a ceiling of 49,000 feet and a range of 1,200 miles. As a fighter, it was a very stable gun platform, and its canopy gave an unobstructed, all-around view. Some 3,854 of the A, E, and F models were produced, as well as many thousands more for other countries.

The F-86 is indelibly linked with the Korean War. In November 1950, Russian MiG-15s in Chinese markings appeared south of the Yalu River. They completely over-matched the US F-80C jets, as well as F-51 and F-82 propeller fighters then in-country. The 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing (FIW), flying F-86As, hurriedly deployed to South Korea and began operations from Kimpo Airfield in December. First contacts showed that the MiGs had better speed and agility at high altitudes but that they were no match for F-86s flown by veteran US pilots. …

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