North American F-86L-60-NA: All Rockets, No Guns

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Have you ever looked at aerial combat and said to yourself, “Man, guns have no business in any of this. Why deal with the negligible damage of a bullet when I can launch an explosive-filled package at my adversary? Why deal with the limited range of a gun when I can hit them from miles away, not even needing to see them?” If you said yes, then you’re definitely thinking the same way Western aircraft designers were at the start of the Cold War.

The F-86L was probably the last of its kind, the rocket-armed fighter. Stemming from the F-86D, the F-86L offered the same old kick in a slightly newer package. In the early 50s, many aircraft designers took the “amazing” performance of the 2.75" FFAR and put it on anything that had the prospect of flying. Many recognize aircraft such as the Lockheed F-94 and Northrop F-89 as being the harbingers of the “rocket-armed interceptor” era. With massive wingtip pods, these lumbering aircraft were designed to intercept bombers with great ease. Fortunately, North American joined in with their nimble Sabre modified to take part in the fun.

Though not as heavily armed as its Northrop and Lockheed cousins (only 24 rockets, compared to the 48 on the F-94, or the whopping 104 on the Scorpion), the Sabre Dog would be more accustomed to being treated like a fighter. Similarly, it would be the only one of the three to find itself in the arsenals of other nations (though most would recognize the F-86K in this part of the history, as guns were not completely forgotten) and find itself serving for way longer. Despite this longevity, the entire fleet of Sabre Dogs would never see combat. With lessons learned from Korea, and not a single conflict desiring the necessity of rocket interceptors, these aircraft were quickly forgotten and the gunfighters lived on.

The F-86L is noteworthy for it’s very (at the time) sophisticated fire control system. Similar to, yet much better than that found on the F-89D familiar to those who’ve read about it, the F-86L’s avionics allow for accurate firing and precise timing of rocket salvos on enemy aircraft. The aircraft also featured systems that allowed communication with ground systems. If it wasn’t clear already, the radar is the heart of the aircraft. Everything lives and dies by it. Aside from this, it’s about the same as the F-86K seen in-game.

The block numbers of the aircraft do not usually matter. In the case of War Thunder, differences are usually cosmetic or are unimportant.


Crew: 1
Length: 40.3 ft.
Wingspan: 39.1 ft.
Wing area: 313.37 sq.ft.
Height: 15.0 ft.

  • Empty: 13,822 lb. / 13,847 lb. basic
  • Combat: 16,252 area lb. / 17,160 point lb.
  • Take-off: 20,276 lb.

Fuel: 610 gal. @ 3,965 lb / 850 gal. @ 5,525 lb with drop tanks
Powerplant: 1 x J47-GE-33
Thrust @ SSL:

  • 5,100 lbf normal
  • 5,550 lbf military
  • 7,650 lbf max

Flight Performance

  • Basic: 535 kt. @ 40,000 ft.
  • Combat: 500 kt. @ 48,250 ft.
  • Max: 602 kt. @ SL

Stall speed: 119 kt. @ MTOW
Climb rate:

  • 11,100 fpm @ SL, MTOW
  • 12,200 fpm @ SL, Combat Weight

Combat Range: 227 nm.
Ferry Range: 652 nm.
Take-off run: 2450 ft.
Ceiling: 49,600 ft. @ MTOW

24 x 2.75" FFAR in retractable launcher
2 x GAR-8 (Sidewinder)
2 x 120 gal. drop tanks

E-4 Rocket Fire Control System consisting of:
AN/APG-37 Radar Ranging
AN/APA-84 Rocket Fire Computer
AN/ARR-39 GCI Data Link


Images (Technical) (13)

Images (General F-86L Aircraft) (15)


T.O. 1F-86L-1 - F-86L Flight Manual - 19630131
T.O. 1F-86L-1 - F-86L Flight Manual - 19611027 (For checking updated information in the formerly listed manual)
F-86L Characteristics Summary - 19580922
F-86L Standard Aircraft Characteristics - 19580922
Duncan Curtis - North American Sabre Dog Part Two: USAF F-86D/L (For photos)


Need more unguided rocket interceptors. Not like the current F89D given air prox fuzes not meant for it. Give lead indication to simulate the fire control computer and make the ffar’s shotgun out and then you have a more historically accurate interceptor that I’d love to fly in. Especially in sim it would be cool!

Speaking of unguided rocket interceptors, Gaijin where is F-89H

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Yeah, hope they get added alongside the 89J. 89J premium and 89H tt? This way the TT gets the best of both D and J.

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I guess F-89G could be premium pack order in gaijin store because armed GAR-1/GAR-2 Falcon AAM like F-89H but never built

F-89A, F-89C, F-89H & F-89J would be regular tech tree

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