An intelligence warning in 1948 prompted the U.S. Air Force to hurriedly develop an all-weather interceptor. Starting with the basic airframe of its F-86A, North American incorporated two unprecedented concepts into the F-86D (initially designated the F-95). First, a highly sophisticated electronic system replaced the second crewmember carried by other interceptors of the time. Second, the F-86D became the first production single-seat fighter to which air-to-air missiles replaced the classic gun armament.
With its air intake reshaped to make room for the enclosed radar, the F-86D — nicknamed “Sabre Dog” — presented a distinctive profile. The interception radar (from Hughes Aircraft Co.) and associated fire-control computed the target’s position, guided the aircraft on an intercept course to within 500 yards of the target, lowered the retractable tray of 24 rockets, and fired the rockets automatically. The effect of these weapons would have been devastating to an enemy bomber because each 2.75-inch Mighty Mouse folding fin aircraft rocket (FFAR) contained the power of a 75mm artillery shell.
The first prototype (YF-86D) flew on Dec. 22, 1949, and North American delivered 2,506 F-86Ds before production ended in September 1953. Although the U.S. Air Force had phased out its F-86D by June 1961, Japan and other nations continued flying them.
The aircraft on display came to the museum in August 1957. It is marked as an F-86D assigned to the 97th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, during the mid-1950s.
Engine: General Electric J47 of 7,650 lbs. thrust (with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 761 mph
Range: 800 miles
Ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Span: 37 ft. 1 in.
Length: 40 ft. 4 in.
Height: 15 ft.
Weight: 19,975 lbs. loaded
Source: National Museum of the US Air Force
Here it is and it might be at your favorite on-line or brick and mortar hobby shop at the time of this entry. Don’t let the price fool you. Inside this box apart from the features listed above, there is a nice molded in light gray model kit. The cockpit on this humble kit is very good out of the box. The clear parts show no flowing marks from the injection process and the thickness in my book is in the Goldilocks zone.
The kit also features nicely receded panel lines and rivets consistent throughout the entire surface of the model. There are no signs of flash or heavy mold lines due to slight mold misalignment. The wheel wells are well appointed and with a bit of ‘TLC’ can bring it up a notch higher.
I am a ”flaps down’ fan on my model kits and this one didn’t disappointed me and the separate wing slats are just icing on the cake. If you are truly afflicted by ‘AMS’ (After Market Syndrome), there’s plenty of upgrades for this kit including white metal landing gear and decals galore.