The F-100 Super Saber was considered the first in the “century aircraft” series developed for the US Army during the period 1950-1960.

Introduce

The Century Series is a popular name for a group of US fighter aircraft representing models designated between F-100 and F-106 which went into full production. They included the first successful supersonic aircraft designs in the United States Air Force’s service, which remained in active service well into the 1970s and 1980s with the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Although F-104 Starfighter was very insecure, but if there is a record of the most self-defeating record in the Vietnam War, no aircraft can match the F-100 Super Saber – The world’s first fighter capable of supersonic speed in level flight.

With the success of the F-86 Sabre during the Korean War, North American Aviation sought to refine and improve the aircraft.  In January 1951, the company approached the US Air Force with an unsolicited proposal for a supersonic fighter that it had dubbed “Sabre 45.”  This name derived from the fact that the new aircraft’s wings possessed a 45-degree sweep. And its nose-intake distinctively tapered into a flattened elliptical shape. The first of the ‘Century Series’ of advanced 1950’s-era fighters, the F-100 was nicknamed the ‘Hun’ as an abbreviation for 100.

F-100 Super Saber
F-100 Super Saber

Design

F-100 Super Saber was a single seat fighter and bombing aircraft with a length of 15.20m, 4.95m high. Weight without arms was 13,085kg. The afterburner on the F-100 was J-57-P-7 turbojet was designed to dump raw fuel straight into the tailpipe, bypassing the jet turbine.

Though this gulped fuel prodigiously, it helped boost the F-100 to supersonic speeds as high as 1,290Km/h at high altitude, allowing F-100s to set several speed records. The range of operation was 3,201km. Maximum height 15,000m. The F-100 Super Saber was equipped with 4 20mm M39 cannons and can carry 3,190kg of bombs.

The F-100 Super Saber operated in the US Air Force from 1954 to 1971. By 1964, the US Air Force removed the F-100 Super Saber from the fighting squad in Vietnam and replaced it with F-4 Phantom II and F-105 Thunderchief.

The first flight on May 25, 1953, the F-100 Super Saber was considered the first US supersonic fighter model. It is also considered the first in the “century aircraft” series developed for the US Army during the period 1950-1960.

Operations

Officially commisioned for the US Air Force on September 27, 1954, the early F-100 was primarily for training and limited operations in the United States. On April 16, 1961, F-100 first appeared in Southeast Asia – at Clark (Philippines) and Don Muang (Thailand) bases. When the United States brought the “bomb” to North Vietnam in 1964, the F-100 began carrying out large-scale combat missions in Vietnam.

The first F-100 was shot down in Vietnam on April 18, 1964. During the years of deployment in Vietnam, the F-100 participated as an escort fighter, besides being used for bombing.

In addition, a small number of F-100s were also converted to train pilots and were equipped with APR-25 vector radars for service in suppression of enemy air defense (Wild Weasel) missions, namely, disabling SA-2 missiles in northern Vietnam.

Most of the time serving in Vietnam, the F-100s were not appreciated in any of the missions it participated in. Even, it was considered to be unsafe, “not beaten has fallen”.

Summarizing during the time of fighting in Vietnam, the US admitted losing a total of 242 F-100s, of which 186 were shot down by anti-aircraft fire and 45 were in accidents. This number turns the F-100 into the most “self-falling” aircraft in Vietnam.

During the time in the US Air Force, there were 889 F-100s out of a total of more than 2,000 aircraft built in accidents, killing 324 pilots. Even in 1958 there were 116 accidents, killing 47 pilots. That shows how insecure the F-100 was.

During the later years of the war, the F-100 was slowly replaced by the F-105, F-4, and LTV A-7 Corsair II. The U.S. Air National Guard finally retired its last Super Sabres in 1980. 325 completed their service as shiny orange QF-100 target drones used as missile test targets, though a few F-100s remain in flyable condition.

The F-100 Super Sabre also saw service in the air forces of Taiwan, Denmark, France, and Turkey.  Taiwan was the only foreign air force to fly the F-100A.  These were later updated to close to the F-100D standard.  The French received 100 aircraft in 1958 and used them for combat missions over Algeria.  Turkish F-100s, received from both the US and Denmark, flew sorties in support of the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

The first American supersonic jet was known as a fighter with a terrible accident rate, but it still pioneered new revolutionary technologies and tactics.

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