The North American F-100 Super Sabre was a Cold War, jet fighter aircraft, which saw combat action during the first years of the Vietnam War as tactical fighter support. In this armed conflict, it was widely used also as a ground-attack aircraft, which had a bombload capacity of 3,190 kg. At the behest of Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, it also flew intelligence missions over Cambodia and Laos from 1964. All in all, it was an iconic and one of the most reliable US aircraft of the Cold War period.
Entering service with the USAF in 1954, the F-100 was the world’s first production supersonic aircraft and was designed from the outset to operate at speeds above Mach 1 for extended period. The F-100 Super Sabre had been designed in 1951 by North American Aviation’s engineers. The prototype, the YF-100A, first performed its test flight on May 25, 1953, well ahead of schedule, reaching Mach 1.05. It was mass-produced by North American Aviation between 1953, replacing the F-86 Sabre. The F-100 would be replaced by the F-105 Thunderchief for strike missions over North Vietnam. The F-100 also served in several NATO air forces and with other US allies.
The Super Sabre had swept wings and swept tailplane, mounted low on the fuselage. Its powerplant consisted of one Pratt & Whitney J57-P-21 turbojet engine; its air intake was situated in the aircraft’s nose. North American Aviation made extensive use of titanium throughout the aircraft. It was equipped with an AN/APR-26 rearward warning radar and an AN/AJB-1B low-altitude bombing radar system. Variants: F-100A, F-100B, F-100C, F-100D, F-100F, DF-100F, NF-100F, F-100J.
Four 20mm (0.79 in) M39 cannons; two AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-ground missiles (or four AIM-9 Sidewinders); could carry up to 7,040lb (3,190 kg) of bombs, both conventional or Mark 7 nuclear bombs.
Type: jet fighter
Wingspan: 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m)
Length: 50 ft (15.2 m)
Height: 4.95 m
Wing area: 37 m2
Maximum speed: 864 mph, or 1,390 km/h (supersonic)
Range: 1,995 mi, or 3,210 km
F-100 Super Sabre in Action (footage)