F-86F Sabre

F-86F Sabre
F-86F Sabre F-86F Sabre F-86F Sabre F-86F Sabre F-86F Sabre
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The North American F-86 Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, is a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as the United States' first swept wing fighter that could counter the similarly-winged 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is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras.[3] Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the '50s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces until the last active operational examples were retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1994.

 The F-86 was produced as both a fighter-interceptor and fighter-bomber. Several variants were introduced over its production life, with improvements and different armament implemented (see below). The XP-86 was fitted with a General Electric J35-C-3 jet engine that produced 4,000 lbf (18 kN) of thrust. This engine was built by GM's Chevrolet division until production was turned over to Allison.[21] The General Electric J47-GE-7 engine was used in the F-86A-1 producing a thrust of 5,200 lbf (23 kN) while the General Electric J73-GE-3 engine of the F-86H produced 9,250 lbf (41 kN) of thrust.[22]

The fighter-bomber version (F-86H) could carry up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs, including an external fuel-type tank that could carry napalm.[23] Unguided 2.75 in (70 mm) rockets were used on some fighters on training missions, but 5-inch (127 mm) rockets were later carried on combat operations. The F-86 could also be fitted with a pair of external jettisonable jet fuel tanks (four on the F-86F beginning in 1953) that extended the range of the aircraft. Both the interceptor and fighter-bomber versions carried six 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns with electrically boosted feed in the nose (later versions of the F-86H carried four 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon instead of machine guns). Firing at a rate of 1,200 rounds per minute,[24] the 0.50 in guns were harmonized to converge at 1,000 ft (305 m) in front of the aircraft, using armor-piercing (AP) and armor-piercing incendiary (API) rounds, with one armor-piercing incendiary tracer (APIT) for every five AP or API rounds. The API rounds used during the Korean War contained magnesium, which were designed to ignite upon impact but burned poorly above 35,000 ft (11,000 m) as oxygen levels were insufficient to sustain combustion at that height. Initial planes were fitted with the Mark 18 manual-ranging computing gun sight. The last 24 F-86A-5-Nas and F-86E were equipped with the A-1CM gunsight-AN/APG-30 radar, which used radar to automatically compute a target's range, which later proved to be advantageous against MiG opponents over Korea.[citation needed]

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