North American Aviation F-86H-10-NH (late) - "The Late Great"

Would you like to see the F-86H-10-NH with Sidewinder capability in game?
  • Yes, as a tech tree vehicle
  • Yes, as a premium vehicle
  • Yes, as an event vehicle
  • Yes, as a squadron vehicle
  • No, I would not like to see the F-86H-10-NH (late) in game.
0 voters

Few F-86Hs were seen in this sort of camouflage scheme, but it’s quite a good one. The ANG retained F-86Hs well into the 1970’s where they did see some limited use, but for the most part the F-86H had a very quiet life. Note the “clamshell” canopy - of all the fighter and fighter-bomber Sabres, this was the only one to incorporate that style canopy, with the others using it being the F-86D interceptor and its progeny. Note the wider four gun ports rather than the standard six of Sabres.


Introduction

      The ever-popular F-86 Sabre has spawned countless variants over its decades-long career with air forces around the world. The question still remains, though: what is the best Sabre variant operated by the USAF? There are four Sabre variants which can lay claim to being exclusively used by the USAF: the F-86A, F-86H, F-86J, and F-86L. Out of these, the F-86H is a peculiar case. The F-86J was a one-off, so its lack of popularity isn’t surprising, and the F-86L is almost a new plane with how much changed. But still, with over 400 built, the F-86H suffers from a lack of interest from most. While it didn’t serve in Korea and generally had a quiet life with the Air Guard, the F-86H is worth a second look as it’s the best of the USAF Sabres and has power none other can lay claim to.



History

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      The F-86H’s genesis comes from some interesting convergent evolution with the F-86 as a whole. In 1951, it was decided that a pure fighter-bomber variant of the F-86 would be a good idea, probably due to the Mustang’s obsolescence rearing its head in Korea. As things stood, it was decided that the General Electric J47 which powered the current Sabres would not have enough thrust and a new derivative, later known as the J73, would be required. The new engine would provide better performance in every area despite the weight increase of more internal fuel and the heavier engine itself. It would however lengthening and more air intake to reach its rating of almost 9,000 pounds static thrust compared to the 6,000 of the J47 as found on the F-86F. As such, the plane needed adjustment, with the exhaust being lengthened and fuselage widened. The intake took a more “square” shape for extra air flow reminiscent of the CAC CA-27 which was powered by the Rolls-Royce Avon. As a fighter-bomber, it was designed from the outset with four pylons instead of the early F’s two. It took some features from the F-86D, especially its canopy, and there were various other minor design changes like a smaller rudder, different tailplane and noticeable air scoop on the side of the fuselage for the new J73. Overall, the F-86H ended up being a more stable gunnery platform which is exactly what was needed for a fighter-bomber.


f-86h_aircraft_1

The unarmed YF-86H prototype originally flew with the A-5 type slatted wing as seen here. The F-86H quickly went through a variety of wings during its testing and introduction to service, including the original slatted wing, ‘6-3’ wing, slatted ‘6-3’ wing with extensions, and a strange hybrid between the latter two where the wing had the hard edge but also had the 12 inch extension of the F-40 type wing. Eventually all the F-86Hs were standardized to the F-40 type wing.


      As the first prototype flew on April 30, 1953, it bears wondering why the F-86H was even bothered with as the YF-100 prototype would fly just a month later and the F-86F had been capable of using four pylons for several months already. The latter is particularly strange considering the F-86H had no more payload capability than the F-86F-35 with its LABS. Then again, it might have been the right call to go with the F-86H for an upgrade as the F-100 spent even longer floundering in testing due to fatal issues. That doesn’t mean the F-86H was safe, though, as it spent over a year in testing between delays with the J73 (a classic General Electric move at this point) and accidents, including a hiatus after a prototype crashed with Korean War ace Captain Joseph McConnell in the pilot’s seat. Obviously this was a bad look but Chuck Yeager was able to demonstrate that the accident was recoverable but only from higher altitudes. In any case, the F-86H-1 would enter service in late 1954 armed with the standard six .50 caliber M3 Browning machine guns. Early F-86Hs would be equipped with a strange hybrid ‘6-3’ wing with the extensions of the F-40 type but not the leading edge slats. Later, the F-86H-5 introduced an armament of four 20 mm M39 cannon in place of the machine guns, and the last F-86H-10s (which differed from the H-5 only in electronics) produced would include F-40 wings with leading slats, which all F-86Hs were eventually retrofitted to. The planes would have a brief stint in Europe but as they were coming off the production line they were already relatively obsolete because performance was airframe limited in spite of the stronger engine. Not that it was a good thing, but the problems with the F-100 gave the F-86H a bit of a lucky break. Still, by 1957 the F-86H would be pulled from USAF service and transferred exclusively to ANG units.


The F-86H-5 introduced the four 20 mm cannon armament of the H type which distinguishes it from most other Sabres. This was actually extremely similar to the fit trialed on the F-86F-2 in Korea as the T160s used on those planes were prototype M39s. This new armament would give the F-86H better air-to-air and air-to-ground lethality than the Sabres that had come before. Various small changes to the design compared to previous Sabres also made it a more stable gun platform, but that was a case of too little, too late.


      As had been previously said, the F-86H was obsolete as soon as it had started production and only 473 were constructed compared to the 3,217 day fighter Sabres (F-86A, E, and F plus prototypes). However, it was a perfect plane for the Air National Guard. The Sabre had great handling characteristics and would be good for less experienced pilots to fly, a trait retained by the F-86H. In addition the stability improvements to the F-86H for gunnery made it a natural training platform for air-to-ground operations. Its nuclear bombing capability was obviously all but forgotten at this point but in the 1960’s F-86H planes would be refit with two additional pylons exclusively for carrying AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to use in secondary air patrol roles. These pylons were actually two inches inward compared to the pylons found on the F-86F-40 and F-86K and had a different shape, but functionally they would be identical. Over time, with new armaments being introduced like low-drag Mk 80 series bombs and 2.75 in (70 mm) FFARs, the F-86H would be able to carry some more modern equipment to continue effective training. The F-86H would spend its career state side before finally being retired in 1972 from the last ANG unit who still had one. However there was one last hurrah as the Navy used them as stand-ins for MiG-17s in aggressor training for their TOP GUN program. After this most F-86Hs were expended as targets, but there are a few preserved in museums today. Overall, while the plane had a quiet life, it’s arguably the best case scenario for a warplane - better to have the capability and not need to use it than be lacking in a time of conflict.



Specifications

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North American Aviation F-86H-10-NH (late)


Dimensions:

  • Span: 39 ft 1 in (11.92 m)
  • Length: 38 ft 10 in (11.83 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m)

Weight:

  • Empty: 13,836 lb (6,276 kg)
  • Full fuel: 18,683 lb (8,474 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,296 lb (11,020 kg)

Propulsion:

  • 1 x General Electric J73-GE-3E turbojet engine
    • 8,920 lbf (4,046 kgf) static thrust

Thrust/weight:

  • 0.48 (static, full fuel)
  • 0.37 (static, MTOW)

Maximum speed:

  • 693 mph (1,115 km/h) @ sea level
  • 674 mph (1,085 km/h) @ 10,000 ft (3,048 m)
  • 655 mph (1,054 km/h) @ 20,000 ft (6,096 m)
  • 631 mph (1,015 km/h) @ 30,000 ft (9,144 m)
  • 610 mph (982 km/h) @ 40,000 ft (12,192 m)

Service ceiling: 49,000 ft (14,935 m)


Armament:

  • Guns:
    • 4 x 20 mm M39A1 revolver cannon (150 rounds/gun; 600 rounds total)
      • Rate of fire: 1,500 - 1,700 rounds/minute each
  • Missiles:
    • Up to 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missile
      • Diameter: 5 in (127 mm)
      • Weight: 160 lb (73 kg)
      • Guidance: Infrared homing
      • IRCCM: No
      • Warhead: 10.5 lb (4.8 kg) blast fragmentation
      • Max G-load: 10 G
  • Bombs:
    • Up to 2 x 250 lb (113 kg) AN-M57A1 G.P. bomb (M126 fin)
      • Actual weight: 289 lb (131 kg)
      • Filler: 136 lb (62 kg) Tritonal
    • Up to 2 x 500 lb (227 kg) AN-M64A1 G.P. bomb (M128 fin)
      • Actual weight: 578 lb (262 kg)
      • Filler: 273 lb (124 kg) Composition B
    • Up to 2 x 500 lb (227 kg) Mk 82 L.D.G.P. bomb
      • Actual weight: 531 lb
      • Filler: 192 lb (87 kg) Composition H6
    • Up to 2 x 750 lb (340 kg) MC-1 gas bomb
      • Actual weight: 725 lb (329 kg)
      • Filler: 24 gallons (91 litres) GB
    • Up to 2 x 750 lb (340 kg) M116A2 napalm bomb
      • Actual weight: 685 lb (311 kg)
      • Filler: 100 gallons (379 litres) napalm
    • Up to 2 x 750 lb (340 kg) BLU-1/B or BLU-1B/B
      • Actual weight: 697 lb (316 kg)
      • Filler: 100 gallons (379 litres) Napalm
    • Up to 2 x 750 lb (340 kg) BLU-27/B
      • Actual weight: 873 lb (396 kg)
      • Filler: 100 gallons (379 litres) Napalm-B
    • Up to 2 x 750 lb (340 kg) M117 G.P. bomb
      • Actual weight: 799 lb (362 kg)
      • Filler: 386 lb (175 kg) Tritonal
    • Up to 2 x 1,000 lb (454 kg) AN-M65A1 G.P. bomb (M129 fin)
      • Actual weight: 1,110 lb (503 kg)
      • Filler: 560 lb (254 kg) Composition B
    • Up to 2 x 1,000 lb (454 kg) Mk 83 L.D.G.P. bomb
      • Actual weight: 985 lb (447 kg)
      • Filler: 445 lb (202 kg) Composition H6
    • Up to 1 x 1,200 lb (544 kg) Mark 12 tactical nuclear bomb
      • Yield: 12 - 14 kT TNT
  • Rockets:
    • Up to 4 x 5 in (127 mm) HPAG rocket
    • Up to 8 x 5 in (127 mm) HVA rocket
    • Up to 8 x 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR rocket in MA-2A dual launchers
      • Launcher weight (each): 47 lb (21 kg)
    • Up to 28 x 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR rocket in MA-3 seven cell launchers
      • Launcher weight (each): 153 lb (69 kg)
  • Drop tanks:
    • Up to 2 x 120 gallon (454 litre) drop tank
    • Up to 2 x 200 gallon (757 litre) drop tank

Crew: 1

Additional equipment:

  • AN/APG-30 ranging radar
  • Ejector seat
  • A-4 Gunsight with automatic bomb release (for bombs of 500 lbs or less)
  • M-1 Low Altitude Bombing System



Why it should be in the game

      The F-86H would be a nice transitional aircraft between the F-86F-2 and F-100D. It should effectively handle similarly to the F-86F-40, but with its guns packing a more powerful punch. In addition, the plane in later service had more potent air to ground munitions with the option of low drag bombs and 70 mm FFARs. Because of its unique characteristics, I think the F-86H would be a more fun addition to address the lack of a Sidewinder Sabre in the U.S. tree than just moving the F-86F-40 over. With how many Sabres were exported, it’s nice in a way that this one was retained exclusively by the USAF as it provides a unique analogue to souped up Sabres of other nations like the CL-13B or CA-27 Mk.32. If you enjoyed the F-86F-2, you’d probably love to see this get added and it would bring some more attention to a (relatively) obscure variant that deserves a little more love in my opinion.



Sources

9 Likes

Instant +1 from me, one of my most wanted/desired aircraft ever

1 Like

Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please!!! Give it to meeeeeeeee PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I just need one F-86 with sidewinders in US TT!!! IDEC if it’s premium or event. PLEASEEEEEEEEEE

1 Like

I have to give a shoutout to Miki for providing a photo of an F-86H with AIM-9Bs in the other F-86H thread (this one is specifically for the H-10 while the other is for the whole family)

2 Likes

This one looks familiar… you know I gotta give it a thumbs up

+1!

Heck yes.
I’d love a generic 86H with at least the Blocks 5 and 10, and maybe the 1 as well, as modifications, so we can get all 3 versions in one nice package.

This jet is loooooong overdue in WT
Same can be said for FJ-3(M) and Aussie Sabre

2 Likes

Should’ve been added many years ago, during the heyday of Sabres. But better late than never.

+1, it should’ve been added a long time ago. I always think it was a big shame that Gaijin rushed through 50’s and 60’s jets to go straight to late-60’s and 70’s jets, and it would’ve been an opportunity to space out the BRs at the upper levels of the game

2 Likes

FJ-3M and even the basic FJ-4 (1856 kg lighter in combat load than FJ-4B) definitely need to be added, along with an F-86H

1 Like