North American F-86 Sabre
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|North American F-86 Sabre|
|First Flight||1 Octobre 1947|
|Manufacturer||North American Aviation|
|Length||12.27 m||40 ft 3 in|
|Wingspan||11.31 m||37 ft 1 in|
|Height||4.57 m||15 ft|
|Wing area||26.75 m²||288 ft²|
|Empty||6125 kg||13500 lb|
|Loaded||8240 kg||18150 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||kg||lb|
|Engines||one General Electric J47 turbojet|
|Power||kW (each)||hp (each)|
|Thrust||kN (each)||lbf (each)|
|Maximum speed||990 km/h||615 mph|
|Operational range||890 km||555 miles|
|Service ceiling||16900 m||55400 ft|
North American Aviation began a design study for the company's first jet fighter in late 1944, while simultaneously proposing the aircraft to the US Navy. On 1 January 1945, the company received a contract from the Navy for 100 of these fighters, which received the NAA designation "Model NA-134" and the Navy designation FJ-1.
The XFJ-1, the designation for the NA-134, first flew late 1946. It resembled a short, fat cigar with straight wings and an air intake in the nose, powered by a General Electric (GE) TG-180 / J35-GE-2 turbojet, with 1,700 kilograms (3,750 pounds) of thrust. The first production FJ-1 Fury was delivered in early 1948, and was fitted with an Allison-built J35.
While the Model NA-134 was taking shape in 1945, North American was simultaneously investigating a larger derivative, the Model NA-140, for the US Army Air Force. This resulted in the award of a contract in May 1945 for three prototype aircraft with the designation XP-86. The USAAF requirements were more aggressive than the USNavy ones, requiring medium range and a top speed of 965 km/h (600 mph). The new fighter was to have several advanced features, such as a pressurized cockpit, hydraulically-boosted controls, and a radar-ranging gunsight for the aircraft's six 12.7-millimeter Browning machine guns.
The original NA-140 / XP-86 design strongly resembled the NA-134 / XFJ-1. It had straight wings, the same J35 engine, and the same fit of six Browning machine guns. The major difference was a longer and slenderer fuselage, partly achieved through the elimination of the structure and gear needed for carrier deck operation. Two prototype XP-86s were ordered late 1944, but were not built until after WWII due to the incorporation of several design modifications (swept wings being one of those modifications) prompted by German research data.
The first XP-86 prototype flew on 1 October 1947, powered by a 3,750-pound thrust G.E. J35 engine. After it was re-engined with a more powerful G.E. J47 turbojet, it was re-designated the YP-86A, and exceeded the speed of sound in a shallow dive. The first production model was initially designated the P-86A, but became the F-86A in June 1948 when the USAF changed the P for pursuit to F for fighter. By the time the new fighter entered US Air Force service in 1949, it had been named "Sabre."
Many variants were produced throughout the Sabre's life, the most numerous being the F-86D, an all-weather/night fighter, or which 2,054 were built. In addition to the Sabres built by North American, Canadair Ltd. in Montreal built 60 F-86Es for the US Air Force, plus at least 1,750 Sabre Mk 2/3/4/5/6s for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The later Sabres were powered by various models of the canadian Orenda engine. Construction of the Sabre was also undertaken by Australia's Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, which modified the aircraft design to accept two 30-mm Aden guns and a Rolls-Royce Avon 26 engine. Similarly, Fiat in Italy assembled at least 220 F-86Ks from component kits provided by North American, and Japan's Mitsubishi company assembled approximately 300 more.
A redesign of the F-86 airframe began when the US Navy and Marine Corps submitted a request for an evaluation variant of the F-86E Sabre, which they designated the XFJ-2 Fury. This new airplane had an arresting hook, an extended nose gear, and a catapult hitch. Later variants of the Fury improved on these features. The FJ-2 had folding wings, the FJ-3 had a deeper fuselage and more powerful engine, and the totally-redesigned FJ-4 and FJ-4B attack aircraft bear only a passing resemblance to their predecessors.
The F-86 saw extensive action in the Korean war, where it was often pitted against the slightly superior MiG-15. Despite the imbalance of capability in their airplanes, Sabre pilots were able to gain superiority over the MiGs.
Three protypes, originally designated XP-86.
This was the first prototype fitted with a General Electric J47 turbojet engine.
First production model, 554 built.
A few F-86A conversions as drone directors.
11 F-86A conversions with three cameras for reconnaissance.
188 ordered as upgraded A-model with wider fuselage and larger tires but delivered as F-86A-5
Original designation for the YF-93A, two built, but the order for 118 was cancelled.
Prototype all-weather interceptor originally ordered as YF-95A, two built but later the designation was changed to YF-86D.
Production interceptor originally designated F-95A, 2,506 built. The F-86D had only 25 percent commonality with other Sabre variants, marked by a larger fuselage to house a radome and larger afterburning engine.
Improved flight control system and an all-flying tail, 456 built.
Designation for ex-RAF Sabres delivered to other NATO air forces.
Designation for surplus RCAF Sabre Mk. Vs modified to target drones.
Uprated engine and larger wing without leading edge slats, 2,239 built.
About 50 former JASDF F-86F airframes converted to drones for use as targets by the U.S. Navy.
Some F-86F-30s converted with three cameras for reconnaissance, also eighteen JASDF aircraft similarly converted.
Two F-86F converted to two-seat training configuration with lengthened fuselage and slatted wings.
Provisional designation for a F-86D variant with an uprated engine and equipment changes, 406 built as F-86D models.
Extensively redesigned fighter-bomber model with deeper fuselage, uprated engine, longer wings and power-boosted tailplane, 475 built as F-86H.
Target conversion of 29 airframes for use at the United States Naval Weapons Center
Single F-86A, serial 49-1069, flown with the Orenda turbojet. Same designation reserved for A-models flown with the Canadian engines but this project was cancelled.
Basic version of the F-86D intended for export with the rocket tray replaced by four 20 mm cannons and a simplified fire control system, two conversions.
NATO version of the F-86D with 120 built by North American and 221 kits for assembly by Fiat.
Upgrade conversion of the F-86D with new electronics, extended wingtips and wing leading edges, revised cockpit layout and uprated engine with reheat, 981 converted.
License built versions
The type was produced under licence by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in Australia as the CA-27 Sabre, re-engined with the Rolls-Royce Avon and armed with 30mm Aden cannons for the RAAF
1 built as a prototype with an imported engine.
Sabre Mk 30
21 built, wing slats, Avon 20 engine
Sabre Mk 31
21 built, bigger wing, Avon 20 engine
Sabre Mk 32
69 built, 4 wing pylons, F-86F fuel capacity, Avon 26 engine
The F-86 was also manufactured by Canadair in Canada as the CL-13 Sabre to replace the RCAF De Havilland Vampires, with the following production models:
Sabre Mk 1
One built, prototype F-86A.
Sabre Mk 2
350 built, F-86E-type, 60 to USAF, 3 to RAF, 287 to RCAF.
Sabre Mk 3
One built in Canada, test-bed for the Orenda jet engine.
Sabre Mk 4
438 built, production Mk 3, 10 to RCAF, 428 to RAF as Sabre F.4.
Sabre Mk 5
370 built, F-86F-type with Orenda engine, 295 to RCAF, 75 to Luftwaffe.
Sabre Mk 6
655 built, 390 to RCAF, 225 to Luftwaffe, 6 to Colombia and 34 to South Africa.
NAA built a total of 6,297 F-86's and 1,112 FJ's. Canadair built 1,815, CAC 112, Fiat 221, and Mitsubishi 300, for a total Sabre/Fury production of 9,857.
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Canadair CL-13 Sabre used for target towing
North American F-86A Sabre, G-SABR c/n 151-43547, operating as USAF 48-0178/FU-178
CL-13B Sabre D-9539 at Berlin-Gatow Museum.