North American F-86 Sabre


1st Flight 1947


Crew: 1

Length: 37 ft 1 in (11.30 m)

Wingspan: 39 ft 1 in (11.91 m)

Height: 14 ft 1 in (4.29 m)

Wing area: 313.4 sq ft (29.12 m2)

Airfoil: root: NACA 0009-64 mod.; tip: NACA 0008.1-64 mod.

Empty weight: 11,125 lb (5,046 kg)

Gross weight: 15,198 lb (6,894 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 18,152 lb (8,234 kg)

Fuel capacity: JP-4 fuel:- 437 US gallons (364 imp gal; 1,650 L) internals + 2x 200 US gallons (170 imp gal; 760 L) drop tanks

Powerplant: 1 × General Electric J47-GE-27 turbojet engine, 5,910 lbf (26.3 kN) thrust


Maximum speed: 687 mph (1,106 km/h, 597 kn) at sea level at 14,212 lb (6,446 kg) combat weight

678 mph (589 kn; 1,091 km/h) / M1.02

599 mph (521 kn; 964 km/h) at 35,000 ft (10,668 m) at 15,352 lb (6,964 kg)

597 mph (519 kn; 961 km/h) at 21,148 ft (6,446 m)

599 mph (521 kn; 964 km/h) at 22,835 ft (6,960 m)

Stall speed: 124 mph (200 km/h, 108 kn)

Range: 1,525 mi (2,454 km, 1,325 nmi)

Combat range: 414 mi (666 km, 360 nmi) with two 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs and 2x 200 US gallons (170 imp gal; 760 L) drop tanks

Service ceiling: 49,600 ft (15,100 m) at combat weight

Rate of climb: 9,000 ft/min (46 m/s) at sea level

Time to altitude: 30,000 ft (9,144 m) in 5 minutes 12 seconds

Lift-to-drag: 15

Thrust/weight: 0.42


Guns: 6 X 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns (1,800 rounds in total)

Rockets: variety of rocket launchers; e.g.: 2 Matra rocket pods with 18 SNEB 68 mm rockets per pod

Bombs: 5,300 lb (2,400 kg) of payload on four external hard points, bombs were usually mounted on outer two pylons as the inner pairs were plumbed for 2 200 US gallons (760 L) drop tanks which gave the Sabre a more useful range.

A wide variety of bombs could be carried (max standard load out being two 1,000 lb bombs plus two drop tanks), napalm canisters and could have included a tactical nuclear weapon.


North American F-86


three prototypes, originally designated XP-86, North American model NA-140


this was the first prototype fitted with a General Electric J47 turbojet engine.


554 built, North American model NA-151 (F-86A-1 block and first order of A-5 block) and NA-161 (second F-86A-5 block)


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, North American model NA-152


original designation for the YF-93A, two built, 48–317 & 48–318, order for 118 cancelled, North American model NA-157


prototype all-weather interceptor originally ordered as YF-95A, two built but designation changed to YF-86D, North American model NA-164


Production transonic all-weather search-radar equipped interceptor originally designated F-95A, 2,506 built.

The F-86D had only 25 percent commonality with other Sabre variants, with a larger fuselage, larger afterburning engine, and a distinctive nose radome.

Sole armament was Mk. 4 unguided rockets instead of machine guns.

F-86Ls were upgraded F-86Ds.


Improved flight control system and an “all-flying tail” (This system changed to a full power-operated control with an “artificial feel” built into the aircraft’s controls to give the pilot forces on the stick that were still conventional, but light enough for superior combat control.

It improved high-speed maneuverability); 456 built, North American model NA-170 (F-86E-1 and E-5 blocks), NA-172, essentially the F-86F airframe with the F-86E engine (F-86E-10 and E-15 blocks); 60 of these built by Canadair for USAF (F-86E-6)


Designation for ex-RAF Sabres diverted to other NATO air forces


Designation for surplus RCAF Sabre Mk. Vs modified to target drones


Uprated engine and larger “6–3” wing without leading-edge slats, 2,239 built; North American model NA-172 (F-86F-1 through F-15 blocks), NA-176 (F-86F-20 and −25 blocks), NA-191 (F-86F-30 and −35 blocks), NA-193 (F-86F-26 block), NA-202 (F-86F-35 block), NA-227 (first two orders of F-86F-40 blocks comprising 280 aircraft that reverted to leading-edge wing slats of an improved design), NA-231 (70 in third F-40 block order), NA-238 (110 in fourth F-40 block order), and NA-256 (120 in final F-40 block order); 300 additional aircraft in this series assembled by Mitsubishi in Japan for Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.

Sabre Fs had much improved high-speed agility, coupled with a higher landing speed of over 145 mph (233 km/h). The F-35 block had provisions for a new task: the nuclear tactical attack with one of the new small “nukes” (“second generation” nuclear ordnance).

The F-40 had a new slatted wing with a slightly higher span, resulting in a slight decrease in speed, but also much better agility at both high and low speeds and a reduced landing speed of 124 mph (200 km/h).

The USAF upgraded many previous F versions to the F-40 standard.

One E and two Fs were modified for improved performance via rocket boost.


F-86F-30 (52-4608) had a Rocketdyne AR2-3 with 3,000–6,000 lbf (13,344.66–26,689.33 N) thrust at 35,000 ft (10,668 m), giving a top speed of M1.22 at 60,000 ft (18,288 m).


Designation for 10 aircraft modified to carry the M39 cannon in place of the M3 .50 caliber machine gun “six-pack”. Four F-86E-10s (serial numbers 51-2803, 2819, 2826 and 2836) and six F-86F-1s (serial numbers 51-2855, 2861, 2867, 2868, 2884 and 2900) were production-line aircraft modified in October 1952 with enlarged and strengthened gun bays, then flight tested at Edwards Air Force Base and the Air Proving Ground at Eglin Air Force Base in November.

Eight were shipped to Japan in December and seven forward-deployed to Kimpo Airfield as “Project GunVal” for a 16-week combat field trial in early 1953.

Two were lost to engine compressor stalls after ingesting excessive propellant gases from the cannons.


About 50 former Japan Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) F-86F aircraft converted to drones for use as targets by the U.S. Navy


Some F-86F-30s converted with three cameras for reconnaissance; also 18 Japan Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) aircraft similarly converted


Two F-86F converted to two-seat training configuration with lengthened fuselage and slatted wings under North American model NA-204


Extensively redesigned fighter-bomber model with deeper fuselage, uprated engine, longer wings and power-boosted tail plane, two built as North American model NA-187


Production model, 473 built, with Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) and provision for nuclear weapon, North American model NA-187 (F-86H-1 and H-5 blocks) and NA-203 (F-86H-10 block)


Target conversion of 29 aircraft for use at United States Naval Weapons Center


Single F-86A-5-NA, 49-1069, flown with Orenda turbojet under North American model NA-167 – same designation reserved for A-models flown with the Canadian engines but project not proceeded with


Upgrade D model


Upgrade D model

North American FJ Fury

CAC Sabre- see its own page

CA-27 marques:

Mk 30: 21 built, wing slats, Avon 20 engine.

Mk 31: 21 built, 6–3 wing, Avon 20 engine.

Mk 32: 69 built, four wing pylons, F-86F fuel capacity, Avon 26 engine.

Canadair Sabre

The F-86 was also manufactured by Canadair in Canada as the CL-13 Sabre to replace its 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, three 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, six to Colombia and 34 to South Africa

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