| Continued from above… fighter, under the company designation NA-140, featured a straight wing with tip-tanks, and in this form it received a USAF contract for three prototypes in May 1945. Subsequently, an analysis of German test results by North American engineers led to the conclusion that a swept-back wing would bestow major performance gains, provided the problem of low-speed stability could be overcome. In November 1945, the USAF approved a proposal to redesign the XP-86 (NA-140) to have swept wings, the plan-form adopted being that studied in Germany for the Me 262 (but not adopted). Use of automatic slots on the wing leading-edge proved to be the key to low-speed stability. |
Developed in 1945-1947, the North American F-86 'Sabre' was the first American jet fighter aircraft to see continued production. It went into production in 1948 and as over time various variants of the F-86 were developed, the versatility of the plane increased from a good weather fighter to an all weather interceptor, an aircraft carrier fighter, and a fighter bomber capable of delivering nuclear warheads. The plane was mainly built by North American at its Inglewood (California) plant, but variants were built in license by Fiat in Italy, Canadair in Canada, and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in Australia. It was flown by numerous air forces in the (then) non-communist world.
North American F-86 'Sabre' jet aircraft saw extensive service in the Pacific Area until the late 1950s, both stationed on island bases, such as Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa and the Philippines, as well as on aircraft carriers of the US Pacific Fleet. The F-86 was the mainstay of the Far Eastern Air Force during the Korean War. Early experiences had shown that the US propeller aircraft were no match for the Russian and Chinese MIG-15s. The F-86 changed the strategic situation as it out flew the Russian planes and dominated the skies. This fighter type in particular serves as the single best example of US aircraft characteristic of the early years of the Cold War.