In May 1951 the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) finalised plans to build a redesigned version of the North American F-86F Sabre fighter aircraft. The Australian design was significantly different to the American version and had a 7,500 lb thrust Rolls-Royce Avon RA.7 turbojet engine, a larger nose intake, increased fuel capacity, a revised cockpit layout, and two 30 mm Aden cannons instead of the normal six 0.50 in. machine-guns. CAC had to redesign about sixty per cent of the airframe. The resulting aircraft, sometimes called the “Avon-Sabre”, was widely regarded as the best of the Sabre variants, having a more powerful engine and being better armed.
The first prototype CAC Sabre flew on 3 August 1953 and the first production aircraft flew on 13 July 1954. A Sabre Trials Flight was established at No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit, at Williamtown, NSW, on 1 November 1954. 75 Squadron became the first Sabre squadron after reforming on 4 April 1955. 3 Squadron received its first Sabres on 1 March 1956 and 77 Squadron on 19 November 1956.
For most of the next decade, the Sabre was the RAAF’s front-line fighter. In 1964 and 1965 it was gradually replaced by the French-built Mirage III and the Sabre was retired on 3 July 1971.
CAC Sabre CA-27 Mk 32
Type: single-seat, swept-wing fighter
Entered service: 1955
Wing span: 11.3 m
Length: 11.43 m
Weight (laden): 8,038 kg
Ceiling endurance: 52,000 ft
Speed: cruising 885 km/h; max. 1,126 km/h
Armament: two 30mm Aden cannons, alternative loads of Sidewinder, rockets, and bombs
Search for related collection items