The North American F-86D Sabre (sometimes called the "Sabre Dog" or "Dog Sabre") was a transonic jet all-weather interceptor. Based on North American's F-86 Sabre day fighter, the F-86D had only 25 percent commonality with other Sabre variants, with a larger fuselage, larger afterburning engine, and a distinctive nose radome.
The YF-95 was a development of the F-86 Sabre, the first aircraft designed around the new 2.75 in (70 mm) Mighty Mouse Folding-Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR). Begun in March 1949, the unarmed prototype, 50-577, first flew on 22 December 1949 piloted by North American test pilot George Welch and was the first U.S. Air Force night-fighter design with only a single crewman and a single engine, a J47-GE-17 with afterburner rated at 5,425 lbf (24 kN) static thrust. Gun armament was eliminated in favor of a retractable under-fuselage tray carrying 24 unguided Mk. 4 rockets, then considered a more effective weapon against enemy bombers than a barrage of cannon fire. A second prototype, 50-578, was also built, but the YF-95 nomenclature was short-lived as the design was subsequently redesignated YF-86D.
The fuselage was wider and the airframe length increased to 40 ft 4 in, with clamshell canopy, enlarged tail surfaces, and AN/APG-36 all-weather radar fitted in a radome in the nose, above the intake. Later models of the F-86D received an uprated J-47-GE-33 engine rated at 5,550 lbf/25 kN (from the F-86D-45 production blocks onward). A total of 2,504 D-models were built.
On 18 November 1952, F-86D-20-NA, 51-2945, set a speed record of 698.505 mph (1,124.135 km/h). Captain J. Slade Nash flew over a three km course at the Salton Sea in California at a height of only 125 ft (38 m). Another F-86D broke this world record on 16 July 1953, when Lieutenant Colonel William F. Barns, flying the first F-86D-35-NA, 51-6145, in the same path of the previous flight, achieved 715.697 mph (1,151.803 km/h).
Fiat produced 121 F-86Ks for Italy, 1955-1958. Also, 120 U.S. F-86Ks were acquired. F-86s were assigned to the AMI air groups: 6 Gruppo COT/1 Stormo, 17 Gruppo/1 Stormo, 23 Gruppo/1 Stormo, 21 Gruppo/51 Aerobrigata, 22 Gruppo/51 Aerobrigata and 12 Gruppo/4 Aerobrigata.
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