The F-86 Sabre was produced as both a fighter-interceptor and fighter-bomber. The fighter-bomber version (F-86H) could carry up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs. 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.
The F-86 entered service with the United States Air Force in 1949, and became the primary air-to-air jet fighter used by the Americans in the Korean War. The Blackhawk Squadron adopted the Sabrejets almost immediately, replacing their distinctive but obsolete Grumman XF5F Skyrockets, and would rely on these fast, durable, versatile jets until August, 1950, when they upgraded to their more familiar Lockheed F-90Bs.
- Maximum speed: 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h)
- Range: 1,525 mi, (2,454 km)
- Service ceiling: 49,600 ft at combat weight (15,100 m)
- Rate of climb: 9,000 ft/min at sea level (45.72 m/s)
- Wing loading: 49.4 lb/ft² (236.7 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.42
- Crew: One
- Blackhawk Sabre jets had a second seat in their cockpits, behind the pilot.
- Length: 37 ft 1 in (11.4 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.3 m)
- Height: 14 ft 1 in (4.5 m)
- Wing area: 313.4 sq ft (29.11 m²)
- Empty weight: 11,125 lb (5,046 kg)
- Loaded weight: 15,198 lb (6,894 kg)
- These planes have cargo compartments, accessed by a hatch in the side of the fuselage.
- Max takeoff weight: 18,152 lb (8,234 kg)
- Blackhawk Sabre jets were equipped with JATO tubes, and could take off almost vertically, even fully loaded.
- Powerplant: 1 × General Electric J47-GE-27 turbojet, 5,910 lbf (26.3 kN)
- six .50-caliber (0.50 in, 12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns (1,800 rounds in total)
- various rocket launchers, e.g.: 2 Matra rocket pods with 18 SNEB 68 mm rockets per pod
- 5,300 lb (2,400 kg) of payload (bombs plus drop-able fuel tanks) on four external hardpoints.
- The Blackhawk versions of these warplanes were equipped with extremely advanced remote-control systems, by means of which the pilots could actually bail out, and allow other Blackhawk pilots to guide their planes to a particular destination.
- The Blackhawks replaced their 1941-model Grumman XF5F Skyrockets with North American F-86 Sabres, starting in Modern Comics #81 (Jan 1949), which went on sale before Blackhawk #23 (Feb 1949). The Blackhawks flew their Sabrejets until Modern Comics #97 (May 1950) and Blackhawk #31 (June 1950), then replaced them with Lockheed F-90Bs. The F-86es returned at least once, in Modern Comics #100 Aug 1950.
- Only three of these aircraft were lost to enemy action or other mishap. In the very first recorded action involving the new Sabre jets, Blackhawk was forced to abandon one in mid-air and parachute to safety, and not long afterward deliberately crashed an F-86 into a speeding torpedo. From then until the summer of 1950 no further Blackhawk jets were lost, until one had to be abandoned on the ground, in Poland.
- For the entire time that these jets were in use, the new fighter planes were not identified even once, not by manufacturer or by model-number or by brand name, and the upgrade from propeller engines to jets was not mentioned by any character or in any caption.
- Appearances of North American F-86 Sabre
- Vehicle Gallery: North American F-86 Sabre
- Catalogued images related to North American F-86 Sabre