The superlative Canadair Sabre was the RAF’s first swept-wing jet fighter. Malcolm V Lowe relates the story of this important 1950s warplane.
By the early 1950s it was becoming obvious that the RAF’s day-fighter strength of ‘straight-wing’ Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire airframes was being left far behind by more modern types. The Korean War of 1950-53 clearly demonstrated that a completely new warplane was needed, and the British aircraft industry eventually met this need with the iconic Hawker Hunter and (to a lesser extent) the Supermarine Swift. Both types were ‘swept-wing’ fighters of considerable potential, but until they were ready for frontline service the RAF needed a stop-gap.