No. 2 Squadron flew the North American F-86F Sabre during the Korean War in 1952 and 1953.  In 1956, thirty-four Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk VI aircraft having the serial numbers 350 to 383, were purchased from Canadair Ltd, Montreal, Canada to equip 1 and 2 Squadron.  Sabre 361 was built during December 1955 and allocated the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) serial number 23680 but this number was never used.

 This aircraft was taken on charge by the South African Air Force on 4 April 1956 but only arrived in South Africa during October 1956.  The aircraft was allocated to 1 Squadron at Air Force Base Waterkloof with the identification code letter “F”.  Sabre 361 sustained Category 1 damage on 09 November 1956 when the aircraft burst a tyre on landing while being flown by Lieutenant A.J. Bester but was repaired.  The Squadron operated from Air Force Base Waterkloof until December 1966 before being re-located to Air Force Base Pietersburg (now Polokwane) in January 1967.

This aircraft sustained Category 2 damage on 09 February 1965 when 2nd Lieutenant Adelaar was involved in a mid-air collision with Sabre 381 flown by 2nd Lieutenant Roos but both aircraft landed safely and were repaired.  Sabre 361 flew her last flight on 16 February 1972 when, during a major servicing, severe corrosion was found that resulted in the aircraft being grounded with a total of only 2 159 flying airframe hours.  Sabre 361 was placed in long term storage and her engine and American designed Webber ejection seat were removed.  It was re-assembled at 15 Air Depot during March 1976 using the wings from two other aircraft before being presented to the SAAF Museum in April 1976 and refurbished for static display by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation (now Denel Aviation) on 7 April 1977.  Sabre 361 is currently displayed in the colour scheme as used by 1 Squadron during the immediate post 1971 period.

The SAAF Museum is currently in possession of three Sabre aircraft.  Sabre 361 and 367 are displayed at the SAAF Museum at Zwartkop while Sabre 372 is displayed at the SAAF Museum in Ysterplaat, Cape Town.  Sabre 358 that was initially mounted in the Municipal Gardens at Polakwane, has since been re-located to Air Force Base Makhado (Louis Trichardt).  Sabre 369 is displayed as a gate guard at Air Force Base Waterkloof.


Country of origin: Canada
Manufactured as: Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk VI
Served with: 1 & 2 Squadrons and 85 Advanced Flying School
Role: Air-to-Air Fighter and Ground Attack
Power Plant: One Orenda 14 turbojet engine, delivering 3 300 kg of thrust
Max take-off mass: 7 988 kg
Max speed: Mach 0,93 (1 142 km/h) at sea-level
Max range: 2 405 km
Armament: Six .50 inch (12,7 mm) Browning machine guns, (3 on either side of the nose).
                      Two 250 kg bombs, under the wings
                      Two x 18 tube (68 mm) rocket pods (Originally), 24 X 3 inch rockets