- Wingspan: 37 ft 1½ in.
- Height: 14 ft 9 in.
- Empty weight: 10,618 lb
- Max. takeoff weight: 17,560 lb
- Powerplant: 1 × Avro Canada Orenda 14 turbojet, 7,275 lbf
- Maximum speed: 710 mph
- Range: 1,270 mi
- Service ceiling: 54,000 ft
- Rate of climb: 11,800 ft/min
A wide variety of bombs can be carried (max standard load out being 2 x 1,000 lb bombs plus 2 drop tanks),
- Guns: 6× 0.50 in. M2 Browning machine guns (1,602 rounds in total)
- Rockets: variety of rocket launchers; e.g: 2× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each
- Missiles: 2× AIM-9 Sidewinders
- Bombs: 5,300 lb of payload on four external hard points, bombs are usually mounted on outer two pylons as the
inner pairs are wet-plumbed pylons for 2× 200 US gallons drop tanks to give the Sabre a useful range.
napalm bomb canisters and can include a tactical nuclear weapon.
ABOUT The Canadair Sabre was a jet fighter built by Canadair
under license from California-based and produced until 1948. It
was primarily used by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) until
the Canadair CF-104 replaced it in 1962. Several other air forces
would adopt the aircraft. The resulting variant was considered one
of the finest "dogfighters" of its day.
In 1948, the Canadian government decided to re-equip the RCAF
with the F-86 Sabre and Canadair was contracted to produce them
in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. An initial batch of 10 aircraft was
ordered for tool verification. The Korean War changed this to a
production batch of 100 aircraft. Canadair slowly built up its
production facility to make all components with related equipment
obtained from other Canadian suppliers. Canadair gave the Sabre
the project number CL-13.
Canadair produced six versions of the CL-13 Sabre. The sole
Sabre Mk.1 was essentially the same as the North American Sabre
F-86A. It had a General Electric J47-GE-13 turbojet of 5,200 lbf
(23 kN) thrust. The Sabre Mk.2 had the same engine, although after
the first 20 aircraft were produced, the remainder of the production
run was distinguished in having power-assisted controls and an "all-
flying" tailplane. The sole Sabre Mk 3 was the first of the Canadian
Sabres to use the Avro Canada Orenda turbojet (Orenda 3 with
6,000 lbf (27 kN) thrust). The Sabre Mk.4 retained the General
Electric engine and was destined for the RAF and was later passed
on to other overseas air forces. The Sabre Mk.5 was the next
production version, equipped with an Orenda 10 with 6,500 lbf (29
kN) thrust. A change to the Orenda 14 with 7440 lbf (33 kN)
powered the Sabre Mk.6. The designation Sabre Mk.7 was mainly
experimental. From 1950 to 1958, a total of 1,815 CL-13 Sabres
were built at the Canadair plant in Montreal.
The second generation of Canadair Sabre aircraft, and first to be
built in quantity, was the Mk 2, with 350 produced from 1952–
1953. The RCAF received 290 of these improved aircraft. During
the first half of 1952, the remaining 60 Mk.2s were supplied to the
USAF for use in the Korean War. Most RCAF Mk.2 Sabres were
utilized in the air defense role with NATO's No. 1 Air Division in
Europe, proving itself to be an outstanding dogfighter. Others were
assigned to the training role at bases in Canada. After replacement
by the Sabre 5 in RCAF service from 1954, just over 210 surviving
Sabre 2s were overhauled and modified in the UK and supplied in
roughly equal numbers to the Greek Air Force and Turkish Air
In mid-1952, the Sabre Mk.4 went into production with the first
one flown on 28 August 1952. Apart from some minor structural
and systems changes, including improved air-conditioning and gun
sight, the Mk 2 and the Mk 4 were identical. Of 438 Mk 4s built,
approximately 70 were used temporarily by the RCAF, all surviving
examples being passed to the RAF. The other Sabre 4s went
directly to the RAF under a mutual aid program, equipping 11 RAF
squadrons. The majority served in West Germany with NATO, with
two squadrons being based in the UK as part of RAF Fighter
Command. The Sabre Mk.4 served with the RAF until mid-1956
when they were replaced by Hawker Hunters. The survivors were
overhauled in the UK, fitted with '6-3' wing modifications and
handed to the USAF (which had funded these aircraft) which in
turn passed them on to other NATO members, with the majority
going to Italy and Yugoslavia.
On 30 July 1953, the first Sabre Mk.5 flew with the Orenda 10
engine, which gave it a clear rate of climb and ceiling advantage
over earlier variants. Other Mk 5 improvements included a new
oxygen system and improved maneuverability and low-speed
characteristics achieved by increasing the wing chord by six in
(15.2 cm) at the root and three in. (7.2 cm) at the wing tip along
with fitting a small vertical wing fence. This modification, originated
by North American on the F-86F, dramatically improved
maneuverability, though the loss of the slatted leading edge
increased landing speed and degraded low speed handling
considerably. Canadair built 370 Mk 5s with the majority
designated for use in the RCAF’s Air Division squadrons in Europe
to replace the Mk.2s. A total of 75 RCAF Sabre 5s were transferred
to the German Luftwaffe during 1957.
The Canadair Sabre Mk.6 was the final variant and was considered
to be the "best" production Sabre ever built. It was equipped with a
two-stage Orenda engine developing 7,275 lb (3,302 kg.) of static
thrust. Its altitude performance and climb rate was enhanced over
the Mk 5 and the reinstatement of the wing leading edge slat gave it
excellent low-speed characteristics. The first production model was
completed on 2 November 1954 and ultimately 655 were built with
production terminating on 9 October 1958.
A total of 390 Mk 6s went to the RCAF with the majority replacing
the existing Canadair Sabre Mk 5s at the Air Division squadrons in
West Germany and France. The main air threats to NATO in the
1950s in Central Europe were the early variants of the Soviet MiG-
the MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21. Based on the Korean
War experience, the selection of the Mk 6 Sabre to provide an
effective opposition to the MiG threat proved to be a logical one.
Canada’s commitment to NATO was to provide 12 squadrons
located at four bases – two in France (Marville and Grostenquin)
and two in West Germany (Zweibrücken and Baden Soellingen).
Initially, the contribution consisted of only Sabre aircraft; however,
later it was decided to include the Avro Canada CF-100 aircraft in
the defense package to provide a night and all-weather fighter
In addition to the RCAF deliveries, 225 Canadair Mk 6 Sabres were
exported to the West German Luftwaffe, six were delivered to the
Colombian Air Force, and 34 went to the South African Air Force.
Canadair Sabres were dominant in the two major conflicts in which
they were employed: the Korean War where F-86 Sabres racked up
an impressive 11-1 kill record and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
Sabre Mk.6 Variant
655 built, 390 to RCAF, 225 to Luftwaffe, six to Colombia and 34
to South Africa.
NOTE: In 2010, the Museum's Sabre Mk.6 was reconditioned
and Re-painted to it's RCAF F-86 Status.
|Canadair - CL 13 Mk6 Sabre
National origin Canada
First flight 9 August 1950
Retired 1980, Portugal
Primary users Royal Canadian Air Force, United States Air Force
Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe
Number built 1,815
Number Mk6's built 655
Developed from F-86 Sabre
Specifications (Sabre Mk.6)
The Canadair - CL 13 Mk6 Sabre
leaves for its new residence in
The F-86 will now be on display at
the Planes of Fame Museum.
Please follow her journey at