CAC Sabre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
CAC Sabre
CA-27 Sabre.gif
CAC CA-27 Sabre, c. 1953
Role Fighter aircraft
National origin United States / Australia
Manufacturer Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation
First flight 3 August 1953
Introduction 1954
Retired 1971 (Royal Australian Air Force)
1982 (Indonesian Air Force)
Status Retired, 1 active as a warbird
Primary users Royal Australian Air Force
Indonesian Air Force
Royal Malaysian Air Force
Produced 1953-61
Number built 112
Developed from North American F-86 Sabre

The CAC Sabre, sometimes known as the Avon Sabre or CA-27, is an Australian variant of the North American Aviation F-86F Sabre fighter aircraft. The F-86F was redesigned and built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Equipping five RAAF squadrons, the type saw action in the Malayan Emergency in the late 1950s, and was employed for air defence in Malaysia and Thailand in the 1960s. Ex-RAAF models also saw service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force.


In 1951, CAC obtained a licence to build the F-86F.

In a major departure from the North American blueprint, it was decided that the CA-27 would be powered by a licence-built version of the Rolls-Royce Avon R.A.7, rather than the General Electric J47. In theory, the Avon was capable of more than double the maximum thrust and double the thrust-to-weight ratio of the J47. This necessitated a re-design of the fuselage, as the Avon was shorter, wider and lighter than the J47.[1] Over 60 percent of the fuselage was altered and there was a 25 percent increase in the size of the air intake. Because of the engine change the type is sometimes referred to as the "Avon Sabre".

CAC engineers made two other major alterations to the F-86F design:

  • replacement of the 's six machine guns with two 30mm ADEN cannons.[2]
  • an increased fuel capacity.[3]

Changes were also made to the cockpit layout and to provide

A prototype, given the CAC designation CA-26 001 (A94-101), flew for the first time on 3 August 1953.

Production Sabres were designated CA-27 and the first deliveries to the Royal Australian Air Force began in 1954, with the RAAF serial prefix A94. The first batch of aircraft, powered by the Avon 20, were designated CAC Sabre Mk 30. Between 1957 and 1958 the wing slats of these aircraft were removed, after which the type was redesignated Mk 31.[1] These Sabres were supplemented by 20 new aircraft, built to Mk 31 standard. A third and final block of 69 Sabres, with the Avon 26 engine and completed in 1961, were given the designation Mk 32.[2]

Operational history[edit]

A94-964 and A94-982 (Mk 32), Thailand, c. 1962
A94-901 (Mk 30), the first production CAC Sabre, in the colours of the "Black Panthers" aerobatics team of No. 76 Squadron
A94-901 at HARS open day, Albion Park
Mk 32 (A94-983) landing at Avalon in 2015
Mk 32 (TS-8603, RAAF A94-368) in Indonesian markings at the Indonesian Air Force Museum

The RAAF operated the CA-27 from 1954 to 1971. The Aircraft Research and Development Unit received the first example in August 1954; it was delivered to No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit (subsequently No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit) in November. Over the next six years the Sabres progressively equipped Nos. 75, 3, 77 and 76 Squadrons.[3]

From 1958 to 1960, CAC Sabres of No. 78 Wing, comprising Nos. 3 and 77 Squadrons, undertook several ground attack sorties against communist insurgents in Malaya, during the Malayan Emergency. Following the Emergency, they remained in Malaysia at RAAF Butterworth.[4] Armed with Sidewinder missiles, the Sabres were responsible for regional air defence during the Konfrontasi between Indonesia and Malaysia from 1963 until 1966, though no combat took place.[5] Between October and December 1965, a detachment of six Sabres, initially from No. 77 Squadron and later from No. 3 Squadron, was based at Labuan to conduct combat patrols over the Indonesian–Malaysian border on Borneo.[6]

In 1962, a detachment of eight CAC Sabres, which was later expanded and designated No. 79 Squadron, was sent from Butterworth to RAAF Ubon, Thailand, to assist the Thai and Laotian governments in actions against communist insurgents. Australia and Thailand were allies of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War; No. 79 Squadron was responsible for local air defence at Ubon, where United States Air Force attack and bomber aircraft were based. The squadron never engaged North Vietnamese aircraft or ground forces.[7][8] Two Sabres were lost to engine failure in Thailand, in September 1964 and January 1968. No. 79 Squadron ceased operations and was deactivated in July 1968.[9]

The RAAF began re-equipping with the Dassault Mirage III in 1964.[10] The last Sabres in Australian service, operated by No. 5 Operational Training Unit, were retired in July 1971.[11]

Former RAAF CAC Sabres were operated by No. 11 Squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) between 1969 and 1972. Following the establishment of better relations with Indonesia, 23 CAC Sabres were donated to the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) between 1973 and 1975, and operated by No. 14 Squadron; five of these were former Malaysian aircraft.[2]

In Australia one aircraft, RAAF-owned Sabre A94-983, has been restored to flying condition, and takes part in displays at the Temora Aviation Museum, New South Wales.[12]


CA-26 Sabre
Prototype, one built.[3]
CA-27 Sabre Mk 30
Production version powered by the Avon 20 engine and fitted with leading-edge slats; 22 built.[3]
CA-27 Sabre Mk 31
Version similar to Mk 30 but with an extended leading edge; 20 built and surviving Mk 30s converted to this standard.[3]
CA-27 Sabre Mk 32
Final production batch with underwing pylons and Avon 26 engine; 69 built.[3]



Preserved aircraft[edit]

Specifications (Mk 32)[edit]

Data from Meteor, Sabre and Mirage in Australian Service[13]

General characteristics



  • Guns: 2× 30 mm ADEN cannons with 150 rounds per gun
  • Rockets: 24× Hispano SURA R80 80mm rockets
  • Missiles:AIM-9 Sidewinder Air-to-air missiles
  • Bombs: 5,300 lb (2,400 kg) of payload on four external hardpoints, bombs are usually mounted on outer two pylons as the inner pairs are wet-plumbed pylons for 2× 200 gallons drop tanks to give the CAC Sabre a useful range. A wide variety of bombs can be carried with maximum standard loadout being 2 x 1,000 lb bombs plus 2 drop tanks.

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ a b Wilson, Stewart (1994). Military Aircraft of Australia. Weston Creek, Australia: Aerospace Publications. p. 216. ISBN 1875671080. 
  2. ^ a b c Farquhar, Rod. "Avon Sabre in RAAF service and beyond" (PDF). ADF Serials. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "CAC Sabre". RAAF Aircraft. RAAF Museum. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, pp. 252, 259–260
  5. ^ Stephens, The Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 251–252
  6. ^ "RAAF Sabres began Borneo patrols". Air Power Development Centre. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, pp. 272–273
  8. ^ Eather, Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force, p. 93
  9. ^ RAAF Historical Section, Fighter Units, p. 73
  10. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, p. 358
  11. ^ "Final operations for RAAF Sabres". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "RAAF CA-27 Sabre". Temora Aviation Museum. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Meteor, Sabre and Mirage in Australian Service, p. 66


  • Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3. 
  • RAAF Historical Section (1995). Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: A Concise History. Volume 2: Fighter Units. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. ISBN 0-644-42794-9. 
  • Stephens, Alan (1995). Going Solo: The Royal Australian Air Force 1946–1971. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. ISBN 0644428031. 
  • Stephens, Alan (2006) [2001]. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195555414. 
  • Wilson, Stewart (1989). Meteor, Sabre and Mirage in Australian Service. Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 0-9587978-2-X. 

External links[edit]