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Klaas Willem Jonker
(Wilko)
† April 30, 2018

On Monday 30 April 2018, Wilko Jonker died after a long illness at the age of 58. He leaves behind a wife and two children. The Dutch military aviation and plastic modeling were his hobby and on this website he shared all the knowledge he has collected over the years. His hobby has been able to distract him from the persistent disease in his body until the last week of his life. The contacts with other hobbyists were a major support for him.

This website will be maintained by different people for as long as possible, so that other enthusiasts can continue to benefit from extensive content.

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Friday, 22 November 2019 12:02

North American F-86K Sabre

History

Already in 1944, North American started with design NA-134, the XFJ-1 Fury for the US Navy.

In January 1945, there were three prototypes ordered and later that year an order for 100 production aircraft followed. At the same time, the USAF was looking for a medium-range fighter.
North American proposed a somewhat modified version of the NA-134, the NA-140 and received in May 1945  an order for three prototypes designated XP-86.
The aircraft was equipped with a pressurized cabin, six .50 inch carriers, and a Sperry type A-1B gun / bomb / rocket sight, which collaborated with the AN / APG-5 range radar.

The type reached a maximum speed of about 924 km/h, lower the required 965 km/h. Also the range was to small, just about 478 km on only the internal fuel stock of 1550 l. This could be increased to 1200 km with two external tip tanks of approximately 644 l each.

The project was to be abandoned because the aircraft did not meet the USAF requirements. However, by the end of the second world war, a lot of information was released from the German Aviation Industry. One important aspect was the arrow wings, which yielded a better performance at subsone speeds.
This type of wing, however, caused problems at lower speeds, which the engineers of North American solved by the use of automatic slats.

In the autumn of 1945 a revised design of the XP-86 was built.
The changes caused a significant delay in the development of the project and in August 1946, the construction of the new aircraft was actually started.
On October 1, 1947, the XP-86 made its first flight. The climb speed was rather low because of the relatively weak engine, but the P-86A production machines would be equipped with a stronger General-Electric J47 of nearly 2300 kg of thrust.

In October 1947, North-American was commissioned to build 33 P-86As plus another 190 examples of an enhanced version, the P-86B.

The USAF carried out extensive tests with the three prototypes.

In 1949, North American began developing an all-wheather interception version of the F-86, NA-165. Unlike the interceptors of that time, it was a single seat aircraft.
The type was equipped with a radar-led interception system, an AN/APG-36 search radar and an General-Electric J47-GE-17 with a pressure of 2267 kg and over 3000 kg with the after-burner.
The radar was housed in the nose, so the air intake was situated lower. Furthermore, the conventional armament of 20 mm guns  was replaced by  24 2.75 inch 'Mighty Mouse' rocket in a bin under the fuselage.

However, the 20 mm gun weapon was also studied, but in February 1950, this type of armour was abandoned and chosen for the missiles. The rear sliding canopy was replaced by an upside down type.

The new type was initially referred to as F-95 and in October 1949 122 examples were ordered as F-95 and two examples as YF-95A.
At the moment of roll-out of the first YF-95A in September 1949, the fire management system was not yet available, and the usual F-86A systems were built in order not to delay the project too much. In May 1950, the Hughes fire control system was available and this was extensively tested for two years.

In the summer of 1950, the device was renamed F-86D, mainly for political reasons. Partly under the influence of the Korean war, large orders were soon put in place and the type was then extensively used.

The US then considered the new E-4 fire management system too valuable to export and a simplified version of the F-86D was developed, the F-86K, NA-205 project. By the time this type came into production, however, the F-86D was already replaced by the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger and McDonnell F-101B Voodoo and these were available for export to allied partners.
Another reason for not releasing the E-4 fire guidance for export the system had not yet reached all childhood diseases.
North-American had developed its own fire-guiding system MG-4 for the NA-205 project, which managed the four 20mm M-24A1 guns using the APG-37 search radar in the nose. A modified A-4 visor was also used.
Two F-86Ds 52-3630 and 52-3804 acted as prototypes, designated as YF-86K. The first YF-86K made its first flight in mid July 1954 and was equipped with the General-Electric J47-GE-17B of 3.401,94 kg of thrust.

In mid-May 1953, Fiat received a license for the F-86K construction. Initially, these were 50 sets, designated NA-207, assembled at Fiat. Fiat-built aircraft were delivered to the Armee de l'Air, Luftwaffe, Aeronautica Military and also to the Royal Air Force and the Norwegian Air Force.

In addition, due to the production speed, another 120 examples were built by North American, referred to as NA-213. These were delivered under MDAP conditions to the Dutch Air Force and also to the Norwegian Air Force, with the USAF serial numbers 54-1231 to 54-1350 . The type hardly differed hardly from the F-86D-40 and could also use two 120 US gallon wing tanks . The hull was lengthened by about 20 cm because of the guns.

The first North-American F-86K flew in early March 1955. The remaining aircraft were all built between April and December 1955 in California. One example remained for testing purposes in the US, the rest was transferred to the Norwegian and Dutch Air Force.

The first Fiat assembled F-86K (MM6185 / 53-8273) made the first flight on May 23, 1955. More sets of F-86K parts were delivered in Italy under the following contracts:

  • NA-221 (70 aircraft, August 1954, 55-4811 / 4880)
  • NA-232 (56 aircraft, July 1955, 55-4881 / 4936)
  • NA-242 (45 aircraft, December 1955, 56-4116 / 4160)

The NA-242 batch differs from the previous batches by the extended leading edges and extended wing tips, as applied to the North American F-86F-40-NA. This increased the span from 11.31 meters to 11.92 meters. Many Fiat-assembled F-86Ks were retrofitted to bring them to NA-242 standard.

Versions.

North-American XP-86:
Prototype of the F-86 Sabre, equipped with a Chevrolet J35-C-3 turbojet with a thrust of over 1800 kg
North American F-86A Sabre:
The first production version, from June 1948 referred to as F-86A.
Virtually identical to the XP-86, only the pitot tube was moved and equipped with six .50 inch guns in the nose.
In addition, a number of changes have already been made resulting from the test flights
  • North-American RF-86A Sabre: A field modification for a reconnaissance version with a K-25 camera at the right-hand side were the .50 inch guns were removed.
    Initially, two examples were converted, followed by another six aircraft. They were fitted with a oblique 24 inch K-11 camera and two 20 inch K24 cameras in the nose. The armour was usually removed.
  • Canadair Sabre Mk 1: one example built as prototype.
North-American F-86B Sabre:
A version with larger wheels for worse terrain conditions.
Eventually this type was not built.
North-American F-86C / YF-93A Sabre:
     The biggest problem with the early jets was the limited range, especially in comparison with the latest types of piston engines.
     North American came with a modified version of the F-86A, the NA-157. This was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney J8-P1 Centrifugal Engine (a Rolls-Rolls Tay engine license), which was larger than the J47 engine, and because of additional fuel, the hull was increased and the landing gear was strengthened.
     The USAF commissioned the construction of two specimens called F-86C equipped with six 20 mm guns. Because the type faded a lot from the F-86, it was decided to designate the type as YF-93A. In February 1949 the project was stopped because the performances of the B-47 Stratojet were such that it was unlikely that an escort fighter was necessary. Both aircraft were transferred to the NACA for use in further investigation.
North American F-86D Sabre:
An interceptor with search radar in the nose, armed with 24 mighty mouse missiles and a General-Electric J47-GE-17 with afterburner. A total of 2506 examples were built.
  • North American YF-86D-NA Sabre 50-577/578 c/n 164-1/2
    North American F-86D-1-NA Sabre 50-455/491 c/n 165-1/37
    North American F-86D-5-NA Sabre 50-492/517 c/n 165-38/63
    North American F-86D-10-NA Sabre 50-518/553 c/n 165-64/99
    North American F-86D-15-NA Sabre 50-554/576 c/n 165-100/122
    North American F-86D-15-NA Sabre 50-704/734 c/n 165-123/153
    North American F-86D-20-NA Sabre 51-2944/3131 c/n 177-1/188
    North American F-86D-25-NA Sabre 51-5857/5944 c/n 173-1/88
    North American F-86D-30-NA Sabre 51-5945/6144 c/n 173-89/288
    North American F-86D-35-NA Sabre 51-6145/6262 c/n 173-289/406
      51-8274/8505 c/n 173-407/638
    North American F-86D-40-NA Sabre 52-3598/3897 c/n 190-1/300
    North American F-86D-45-NA Sabre 52-3898/4197 c/n 190-301/600
    North American F-86D-50-NA Sabre 52-4198/4304 c/n 190-601/607
      52-9983/10176 c/n 190-708/901
    North American F-86D-55-NA Sabre 53-557/781 c/n 201-1/225
    North American F-86D-60-NA Sabre 53-0782/1071 c/n 201-226/515
      53-3675/3710 c/n 201-516/551
      53-4018/4090 c/n 201-552/624
North American F-86E Sabre:
A further development of the F-86A with an all-flying tail. Internally, an A-1C gunsight was recombined with the AN / AAPG-30 search radar applied; The engine was a General-Electric J47-GE-13 of approximately 2500 kg of thrust. A total of 369 examples were built. Canadair Sabre Mk 2: 350 examples license built, F-86E type, 60 examples for USAF, three examples for RAF and 287 examples for RCAF
North American F-86F Sabre:
This was the main production version, actually an upgraded F-86E with a General-Electric J47-GE-27 of approximately 2700 kg of thrust. Furthermore, the devices were equipped with an optically flat, armoured windscreen. During the construction many adjustments were made.
    For example, a new type of wing was tested in 1952. This was referred to as "6-3" wing and significantly improved the performance of the aircraft. The wing was later sent as a conversion kit to the front to fit on aircraft already in use. Over 2239 examples were built.
  • In 1953 a number of examples were converted for photo reconnaissance. They were equipped with two K22 and one K-17 camera in an under-hull installation. A total of 8 examples were built, because the USAF preferred the RF-84F
  • North-American TF-86F Sabre: A training version released in 1953. Only two examples were built.
North American F-86H Sabre:
This was a somewhat larger fighter bomber version capable of transporting a nuclear cargo. It was equipped with a General-Electric J73-GE-3D or -3E of 4000 kg of thrust. It also had the "6-3" wing and other features. Finally, 473 examples were built.
North American F-86K Sabre:
A simplified version of the F-86D with four 20mm guns, MG-4 fire guiding system and APG-37 radar, primarily intended for NATO partners. There were 120 examples of built by North American plus another 221 examples built under license by Fiat.
  • YF-86K Sabre: Two modified F-86Ds, which served as prototype for the development of the F-86K from May 1953.
  • North American F-86K Sabre 53-8273 - 53-8322 c/n 207-1 - 207-50.59 examples assembled by Fiat
    North American F-86K-13-NA Sabre 54-1231 - 54-1232 c/n 213-1 - 213-2. MDAP
    North American F-86K-14-NA Sabre 54-1233 - 54-1238 c/n 213-3 - 213-8. MDAP
    North American F-86K-15-NA Sabre 54-1239 - 54-1250 c/n 213-9 - 213-20. MDAP
    North American F-86K-17-NA Sabre 54-1251 - 54-1275 c/n 213-21- 213-45. MDAP
    North American F-86K-18-NA Sabre 54-1276 - 54-1300 c/n 213-46- 213-70. MDAP
    North American F-86K-19-NA Sabre 54-1301 - 54-1350 c/n 213-71 - 213-120. MDAP
    (Fiat) North American F-86K Sabre 
     
    55-4811 - 55-4880 c/n 221-51 - 221-121;  70 examples assembled by Fiat
    55-4881 - 55-4936 c/n 232-1 - 232-56; 56 examples assembled by Fiat
    56-4116 - 56-416 NA-242; 45 examples assembled by Fiat
North-American F-86L Sabre:
In the early 1950s, a site tracking radar, SAGE (the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment datalink System) was developed, built in 1956 in the F-86D still in service. Eventually 981 examples were modified. These were also provided with a new AN/ARR-39 data link receiver, AN-ARC-34 radio, and an AN / APX-25 antenna and AN / ARN-31 slide slope receiver were also installed. The modified examples were designated as F-86L, and retained their original block designation. However, they were standardized at block 45 and also equipped with the F-86F-40 wing.

 

Technical information
Dimensions:
Length: 11,4 m Wingspan: 11,3 m
Height: 4,5 m Wing area: 25 m2
Weights:
Empty weight: 6300 kg Max. start weight: 7800 kg
Performances:
Max. speed: 1100 km/hr Climbing speed: - m/min
Cruising speed: - km/hr    
Range: 1900 km Service ceiling: 14900 m
Miscellaneous:
Engine type: One General Electric J47-GE-33 rated 2450 kg.
Crew: One aviator
Armament: Four 20 mm M-24A1 canons in the nose section. Later also AIM-9 sidewinders.