F-86 Sabre VS MiG-15

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's May 2001

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When a war begins combat happens on land, sea and in the air. The two main contenders for air superiority during the Korean War were the F-86 Sabre and the MiG-15 fagot. The F-86 and MiG-15 while based on the same aircraft technology acquired from the Germans, these two fighters differed in designated roles, armaments and speed.

The primary mission role of the F-86 was to be an escort and dogfighter (fighter-to-fighter combat), which required it to have a larger fuselage to accommodate a larger fuel tank for extended travel distances and 0.50-inch guns that make it more suitable for dogfighting. The MiG-15 is an interceptor-class fighter used to attack bombers before they can get over their designated targets and deal any significant damage therefore it was smaller, lighter and packed heavier armament of 23 and 37 mm machine guns.

The armaments of these two planes vary as like their roles because the F-86 is armed with 6 quick firing 0.50-inch

machine guns and two weapon racks located under the wings for 16.5-inch rockets or more fuel tanks. The MiG-15 is armed with 23 and 37 mm guns, which could take down a bomber with ease.

The speed of the plane is a determining factor in combat, which could mean the life or death of a pilot no matter how skilled the pilot is. The F-86 had an Allison J35-C-3 turbojet engine and went a maximum of 1000 km/h or mach 1. The MiG-15 used a Ye-50 engine that allowed it to go to a max speed of 2460 km/h or Mach 2.32. In this category the MiG-15 won by a whole mach that would help the pilot escape if the situation got nasty and retreat would be necessary.

Although the MiG-15 may be faster and with heavier armament, the F-86 was designed for dogfighting and therefore would last longer in combat due to more fuel and quicker firing weaponry. The F-86 proved that point at the end of the Korean War with 792 kills and only 78 losses. This solidified that during the Korean War that the F-86 Sabre was the most superior fighter in many ways and is known in the US as the first American plane to go past Mach 1.