The North American F-86 Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, is a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation (NAA), the Sabre is best known as the United States’ first swept-wing fighter that could counter the swept-wing Soviet MiG-15 in high-speed dogfights in the skies of the Korean War (1950–1953), fighting some of the earliest jet-to-jet battles in history. Considered one of the best and most important fighter aircraft in that war, the F-86 is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras. Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the 1950s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces.

Manufacturer: North American Aviation
First flight: 1 October 1947
Introduction: 1949, with USAF
Retired: 1965 (USAF)
Primary users: United States Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Spanish Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force
Number built: 9,860

General characteristics

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)
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 hardpoints, 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 loadout being two 1,000 lb bombs plus two drop tanks), napalm canisters and could have included a tactical nuclear weapon.

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