This aircraft served in the New Jersey Air National Guard until 1964

The F-86H Saber fighter of the US Air Force National Museum showing its entire interior

On October 1, 1947, the North American F-86 Saber made its first flight, which would go down in history as a great Cold War fighter.

The Soviet MiG fighters that ended up in the United States Air Force Museum
The interior of the B-29 'Bockscar', the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki

The F-86 was the first swept-wing aircraft of the United States Air Force (USAF). It entered service in 1949 and fought against the Soviet-made MiG-15 during the War of Korea (1950-1953). The Saber has also gone down in history for being the most manufactured Western fighter, with a total of 9,860 units built. The last F-86s in active service were those of the Bolivian Air Force, retired in 1994.

Like other Cold War fighter aircraft, and due to constant innovations in US military aviation, the F-86 was quickly replaced by the Republic F-84 Thunderstreak and the North American F-100 Super Saber, both introduced in 1954. The F-100 was the USAF's first level-flight supersonic fighter.

As the F-86s were replaced by the new F-84 and F-100 in the USAF, they were being transferred to units of the Air National Guard (ANG), in whose squadrons the Sabers served from 1953 (the ANG of Montana was the first to receive them) until 1965 (in the cases of the ANG of California, Massachusetts and New Jersey).

The 108th Wing of the New Jersey ANG received its first F-86Es in 1955. They were in service until 1958, being replaced by the F-84F Thunderstreak. In 1962 the New Jersey ANG flew the Saber again, but in this case it was with the F-86H variant, which remained active until 1965, being replaced by the Republic F-105B Thunderchief.

In November 1964, the USAF National Museum received one of the New Jersey ANG F-86Hs, 53-1352, an F-86H-10-NH manufactured in 1955. The The plane was exhibited in the museum on September 3, 1971, with the peculiarity that the metal skin of its fuselage was removed so that museum visitors could see its interior.

The F-86H, a fighter and bomber version of the Sabre, was manufactured between late 1953 and August 1955, with a total of 450 units. The F-86H was longer and had more weapons carrying capacity than the original F-86. It was equipped with four 20 mm M-39 cannons, instead of the six 12.7 mm M-3 Browning machine guns of previous versions. Furthermore, the F-86H was designed to carry nuclear weapons.

The F-86H from the National Museum of the USAF is in the Cold War Gallery. Next to it you can see a Convair B-36J Peacemaker bomber and a Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter tanker plane that belonged to the Ohio ANG. This week, the USAF National Museum released a video showing this aircraft up close:


Photos: National Museum of the United States Air Force.

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