10 May 2019

F-86K Sabre Dog: The Grand Tourist

 

The F-86K is the NATO export version of the American F-86D interceptor, developed on the basis of the well-known Sabre jet fighter. Having seen extensive use with nations around the world, the F-86K is now set to arrive in War Thunder as well with the release of the upcoming update 1.89!

Briefly: A new top ranking jet interceptor developed on the basis of the F-86 Sabre, featuring air-to-air missiles and an afterburner!

 

History

In March 1949, the North American company launched the development of a new jet interceptor, based on the existing F-86 Sabre, as part of a private venture. The new design was the first interceptor developed to be operated by a single crew member and utilized unguided rockets in combination with a complex fire control system, rather than conventional guns, in order to destroy its target. Already by April, the project had received official endorsement from high-ranking military officials and development of a production version began in parallel.

While a production contract was signed in October, the first prototype, designated YF-95, conducted its maiden flight in December 1949. In the early ‘50s, Soviet nuclear testing and the subsequent start of the Korean conflict led to an accelerated development of the YF-95. Despite this, problems during development caused production to be delayed, resulting in the aircraft reaching its first units only in March 1951. During the delay however, the designation of the aircraft changed to F-86D and it received its unofficial nickname “Sabre Dog”.

In January 1953, North American was approached by an offer from the Italian military to develop a twin-seater version of the F-86D armed with cannons. As the cost and necessary redesign work turned out to be too great, an agreement was made to produce the aircraft in its original design, but with cannon armament and a simplified fire control system instead. This new export version of the Sabre Dog received the new designation of F-86K.

Initially, the F-86K was produced exclusively in the U.S., but would later also be manufactured under licence by the Italian Fiat company. The F-86 entered service in 1955 and apart from the Italian Air Force, the F-86K also served with many other operators worldwide including France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Honduras, Venezuela. Around 340 F-86Ks were produced out of over 2,800 Sabre Dogs built in total. Most of the F-86Ks would be decommissioned by the late ‘60s, while some even went on to serve into the ‘70s.

F-86K Sabre Dog, jet fighter, France, VI rank.

Pros

  • Air-to-air missiles AIM-9B Sidewinder
  • Afterburner
  • 20mm cannons

Cons

  • Subsonic
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In War Thunder, the F-86K will be a new addition to the game, coming as part of update 1.89 and will be available to all pilots at the top rank in the French aviation tree! Although not quite being able to reach supersonic speeds, the transonic F-86K still offers excellent performance thanks to its afterburning jet engine and is sure to leave no one unsatisfied with its firepower either, with all of this being rounded off with radar capabilities too.

The F-86K is powered by a General Electrics J47-GE-33 turbojet engine, producing roughly 34 kN of thrust with the afterburner engaged. In terms of speed, this power allows the F-86K to reach a maximum speed of 692 mph (1115 km/h) at sea level. While this top speed certainly won’t set any new speed records in War Thunder, it will definitely get the job done when it comes to fighting sub- and transonic opponents of other nations and might even be enough to occasionally allow you to catch a supersonic foe off guard!

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Fun Fact: The Sabre Dog was initially to be designated F-95, but had its name changed to F-86D instead, in order to make it seem like a variant of the existing Sabre and not an entirely new aircraft. In reality however, the F-86D was only about 25% similar to the original F-86 and the name change was only done to secure further support for the project.

As already hinted at before, the F-86K isn’t cutting any corners when it comes to firepower though. With its primary armament consisting of four 20mm M24A1 cannons, fed with a total of 528 rounds of ammunition, the F-86K is more than well equipped to make short work of most opponents that it goes up against. However, for pilots that prefer to get a bit more bang for their buck, the F-86K has something more on offer.

Namely, the F-86K can also be fitted with a pair of AIM-9B Sidewinders. Aspiring F-86K pilots may use these deadly missiles to extend their engagement range beyond that of their cannons in order to combat faster opponents or catch unsuspecting targets off guard. However, being an early version of the Sidewinder missile, pilots will need to be wary of its limitations and will often have to pick the ideal moment to fire the missile in order to achieve the best result.

The F-86K is inbound to War Thunder and will arrive as part of the upcoming update 1.89, being available to French pilots at release. Eager to find out what else the next content update has in store for you? Then be sure to stay tuned to the news for all the latest info and developments on the next major update coming to the game. Until then, clear skies pilots!


The War Thunder Team

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