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NORTH AMERICAN F-86 SABRE (DAY-FIGHTER A, E AND F MODELS)

The F-86, the USAF's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on Oct. 1, 1947. The first production model flew on May 20, 1948, and on Sept. 15, 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph. Originally designed as a high-altitude day-fighter, it was subsequently redesigned into an all-weather interceptor (F-86D) and a fighter-bomber (F-86H).

As a day fighter, the airplane saw service in Korea in three successive series (F-86A, E and F), where it engaged the Russian-built MiG-15. By the end of hostilities, it had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of only 76 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10 to 1.

More than 5,500 Sabre day-fighters were built in the United States and Canada. The airplane was also used by the air forces of 20 other nations, including West Germany, Japan, Spain, Britain and Australia.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an F-86A on display in its Modern Flight Gallery. 

Type Number built/
converted Remarks
XF-86 3 Prototype day-fighter
F-86A 554 First production model
F-86B 0 188 canceled; to F-86A-5
F-86C 2 YF-93A; improved F-86A
F-86E 800 Improved F-86A
F-86F 2,500 Improved F-86E
TF-86F 2 Two-place trainer


SPECIFICATIONS (F-86A):
Span: 37 ft. 1 in.
Length: 37 ft. 6 in.
Height: 14 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 13,791 lbs. loaded
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5-in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: One General Electric J47 turbojet of 5,200 lbs. thrust
Cost: $178,000
Crew: One

PERFORMANCE:
Maximum speed: 685 mph
Cruising speed: 540 mph
Range: 1,200 miles
Combat ceiling: 49,000 ft.