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F-86 Sabres of Pakistan Air Force


Mar 21, 2007
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United States
F-86 F&E Sabres in Pakistan Air Force

Gp Capt SULTAN M HALI talks about the fighting warhorse of the PAF that gave us air superiority in the 60s.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) received a total of 102 F-86Fs from the USA, following the conclusion of a mutual defence assistance pact in 1954.

After the Pakistan-India war of 1965 and the resulting embargo on US Military aid, PAF purchased 90 ex-Luftwaffe Orenda-engined Sabre Mk-6s known in PAF as F-86Es. The Sabres were phased out after exhausting their airframe life in 1980. During its twenty four years stay with Pakistan Air Force, the Sabres and their pilots saw meritorious service.

PAF pilots flew a total of 320,185 hours in the PAF out of which about 4,500 hours were flown during the war. Fifty PAF pilots were decorated with gallantry awards for their kills during the 1965 and 1971 Pakistan-India Wars.

Some prominent landmarks are listed in the chart that follows.


13 June 1956​
F-86F Sabres enter PAF inventory.
25 Feb 1957​
7 Sabre Aerobatics Team The Falcons formed.
23 Mar 1957​
64 Sabres participate in the fly past on Pakistan Day Parade.
02 Feb 1958​
PAF stages first-in-the world 16 aircraft formation loop in an air display in honour of King Zahir Shahof Afghanistan.Details provided
10 Apr 1959​
Flight Lieutenant M Yunis shoots down an Indian Air Force (IAF) Canberra, which intruded into Pakistani territory on Eid Day.Canberra crewSquadron Leader Sen Gupta and Flight LieutenantS M Rampal made POWs. Details provided.
01 Sep 1965​
Squadron Leader Sarfraz Rafiqui and Flight Lieutenant Imtiaz Bhatti shoot down 4 IAF Vampires.Details provided.
06 Sep 1965​
No 19 Squadron carries out devastating strike at IAF Base, Pathankot.Details provided.
06 Sep 1965​
No 5 Squadron attacks IAF at Halwara.Details provided.
06 Sep 1965​
Squadron Leader M M Alam shoots down Indian Hunter during a raid on IAF Base,Adampur.IAF pilot Flight Lieutenant Rawllay of No 7 Squadron was killed in action
07 Sep 1965​
No 14 Squadron strikes IAF Base Kalaikunda.Details provided.
07 Sep 1965​
Squadron Leader M M Alam becomes an Ace during epic battle over PAF Sargodha.Details provided.
07 Sep 1965​
Flight Lieutenant Anwar-ul-Haq Malik shoots down an IAF Mystere over Sargodha.Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant B Guhe of No 1 Squadron killed in action.
13 Sep 1965​
Flight Lieutenant Yusuf Ali Khan shoots down IAF Gnat over Amritsar (India).Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant A N Kale of No 2 Squadron ejected safely.
16 Sep 1965​
Squadron Leader M M Alam down IAF Hunter over Amritsar (India).Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant F D Bunsha of No 7 Squadron killed in action.
19 Sep 1965​
Flight Lieutenant Saiful Azam shoots down an Indian Gnat over Sialkot.Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant Maya Dev of No 9 Squadron was made POW.
20 Sep 1965​
Squadron Leader Sharbat Ali shoots down an IAF Hunter over Lahore.Indian pilot Changezi Squadron Leader S K Sharma of No 7 Squadron ejected over own territory.
20 Sep 1965​
Flight Lieutenant S N A Jilani shoots down an IAF Hunter over Lahore.Indian pilot Squadron Leader D P Chatterjee of No 7 Squadron killed in action.
F-86Es enter PAF inventory.
09 Mar 1967​
Grand Fire Power demonstration held at Jamrudrange in honour of Shah of Iran.F-86Fs & F-86Es participate actively.
23 Nov 1970​
F-86Es modified to carry bombs
04 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Mujahid Salik shoots down IAF Hunter over Duman.Indian pilot Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi of No 27 Squadron killed in action.
04 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Salim Baig shoots down IAF Hunter over Peshawar.Indian pilot, Flying P Muralidharan of No 20 Squadron killed in action.
04 Dec 1971​
Squadron Leader Javed Afzal shoots down an IAF MiG-21 and one Hunter. His No 2 Flight Lieutenant Saeed Afzal shoots down a Hunter over Dhaka (then East Pakistan).In the ensuing battle, Flight Lieutenant Saeed Afzal was shot down and is martyred in action.
04 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Schms shoots down an IAF over Dhaka.Details of the Air-ul-Haq Battle over Dhaka Hunter by the lone No 14 Squadron comprising Sabres against 10 IAF Squadrons is given in detail.
04 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Shams-ul-Haq shoots down an IAF SU-7 and two Hunters while his No 2 Flying Officer Shamshad shoot down one Hunter over Dhaka.
04 Dec 1971​
Squadron Leader Dilawar Hussain, shoots down an IAF over Narayanganj (then East Pakistan).Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Hunter Lemontree ejected safely and made POW.
10 Dec 1971​
Wing Commander Moin Rabb shoots down an IAF SU-7 while his No.2 Flight Lieutenant Taloot Mirza also shoots down an SU-7 over Jaurian, battlefront.Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant S.K. Chibber was killed in action.
10 Dec 1971​
Squadron Leader Aslam Choudhry shoots down an IAF Hunter over Chamb battlefront.Indian pilot MK Jain was killed in action.
11 Dec 1971​
Wing Commander Ali Imam Bukhari and his No 2 Squadron Leader Cecil each shoot down an SU-7 over the battlefront at Shakargarh.Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant K K Mohan of NoChoudhry 26 Squadron was killed in action.
14 Dec 1971​
Squadron Salim Gohar shoots down an IAF Krishak over Shakargarh battlefront.Indian pilot Captain P K Gaur killed in action.
14 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Salim Baig shoots down an IAF GnatDetails provided.
17 Dec 1971​
Flight Lieutenant Maqsood Amir shoots down an IAF MiG-21FL over Pasrur (Pakistan).Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant Tejwant Singh of No 29 Squadron made POW.
A rare seen pic of Squadron leader Sarfraz Ahmed Rafiqui Shaheed , iconic and a brave fighter pilot


PAF started receiving F-86F in 1956, Fury and Attacker were moved out of inventory.

By the end of 1957 100 Sabres were flying in PAF, mostly in newly formed squadrons i.e No.15 (1957), No.16(1957), No.17(1957),No.18(1957), No.19(1958) and No.11(1956), No.14 (1957).

History of PAF Sabre starts after the Korean war, when USAF realized Mig-15 was much better fighter and Sabre
needed much work on it,specially rate of climb. F-86Fm the day fighter variant which pakistan acquired embodied a
much improved airframe. Combat experience also revealed a need for enhanced manoeuvrability, resulting in the
development of the so called '6-3' wing with leading edge slats removed. With this modification installed, the Sabre
was able to out-turn a Mig-15 and its high altitude/high Mach number manoeuvrability was considerably

The F-86 was powered by the J47-GE-27 engine rated at 5,910lb thrust, a 13 per cent improvement on A and E
models. This resulted in greater speeds but a significantly improved rate of climb - in the order of 25 per cent at sea
level - although this was still slightly inferior to the Mig-15.

The final varint of F series, was the F-86F-F40. It had a curious mix of wing features. In order to restore the
previous low speed docility and reduce the stalling speed, the leading edge slats were reinstated and each wing tip
extended by 12 inches, resulting in a an overall wing span of 39ft 1.4 in and wing area increased to 313.4sq ft. The
result was a stalling speed some 17 knots below that of the F-86F with '6-3' wing.

Powerplant One 5,910lb thrust General Lelectric J-47-GE-27 axial flow torbojet; internal fuel capacity 437 USgal (1,654 l) and/or two 120 USgal underwing drop tanks.

Dimensions Wing span 37 ft 1.4 in; length 37 ft 6.6 in; wing area 303sq ft.

Weights Empty 10,950lb; normal loaded 16,860lb; maximum 20,357lb.

Armament Six 0.50in Browning M-3 machine gun in nose with 267 rounds per gun; four underwing hardpoints for drop tanks or two 1,000lb on inboard points; alternatively 15 5in HVAR rockets.

Performance maximum speed 604kt (1,118km/h) at sea level, 530kt at 35,000ft; cruising speed 423-452kt, initial climb rate of 9300ft/min; service ceiling 48,000ft; combat radius (2 1,000lb bombs) 275 nm, combat radius with internal fuel 683nm. ferry range with 2 external tanks, 1,327nm

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