North American F-86H Sabre

A picture of the North American F-86H Sabre

The F-86H was the last of the non-radar equipped, day-fighter Sabres and was intended for use as a fighter-bomber capable of dropping nuclear weapons.  Numerous changes were made to the basic F-86 design to create the H model including; an enlarged fuselage to accommodate a bigger engine, a revised canopy design, and the replacement of the standard six .50 caliber machine guns with four 20mm cannons.  In the end the F-86H was the best performing version of the Sabre and could fly faster, higher, and farther than any of the other variants.  Unfortunately, by the time the H model was introduced other even newer designs were doing the same things even better and the F-86H only served in front line units between 1954 and 1958.  It did, however continue in service with the Air National Guard into the 1970s.  Ex-Air Force F-86Hs were also used as adversary aircraft by the U.S. Navy’s Top Gun school into the late 1970s.

Service History

Manufactured by North American Aviation, Columbus, Ohio and delivered to the U.S. Air Force on October 21, 1955.


39 ft 1 in.


38 ft 8 in.


15 ft


21,852 lbs (loaded)

Maximum Speed

692 MPH

Service Ceiling

49,000 ft


1,040 miles


One General Electric J73-GE-3E turbojet with 8,920 pounds of thrust



North American

474th Fighter Bomber Wing, Clovis AFB, New Mexico, 1954


Serial Number

October 1955              To 3595th Combat Crew Training Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada.

February 1957             To 2596th Air Reserve Flying Center, Memphis Airport, Tennessee.

August 1957                To 2596th Air Reserve Flying Center, Dallas Airport, Texas.

October 1957              To 104th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, Harbor Field, Maryland.

December 1958           To 104th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, Glenn L. Martin Airport, Maryland.

February 1963             To 108th Tactical Fighter Group, New Jersey Air National Guard, McGuire AFB, New Jersey.

January 1965               To Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona for storage.

January 1969               Dropped from inventory as surplus.

1974                            Loaned to Pima Air & Space Museum by the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Pima Air & Space Museum

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