|Location:||National Cold War Exhibition|
The British-designed replacements for the outclassed Meteor and Vampire fighters were suffering many development problems, and the appearance early in the Korean War (1950 to 1953) of the Soviet MiG-15 forced the Royal Air Force to acquire the North American Sabre.
At a critical time in East/West relations, with no other Western jet able to combat the MiG-15, the United States of America supplied the Royal Air Force with 430 high-performance, swept-wing Sabre fighters.
The Royal Air Force’s Sabres were built in Canada and most were based in Germany as part of NATO’s 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force. The Royal Air Force actually had some experience of the type before it was introduced into service as a small number of British pilots flew with the Americans in Korea. A number of MiG-15 aircraft were shot down by these Royal Air Force pilots. Most pilots found the Sabre a delight to fly and many expressed disappointment when they were replaced by the Swift and early marks of the Hunter.
In the spring of 1955 the first Hunters began to arrive in Germany, completely replacing Sabres by June 1956. The Sabres were returned to the Americans who passed them on to the Italian and Yugoslav Air Forces.