Designed to meet a U.S. Air Force 1956 requirement for a light-weight
twin-jet utility trainer, North American design NA-246 first flew
in 1958 and designated the T-39. In the tradition of the F-86
F-100 fighters, the new aircraft was named the Sabreliner.
The Sabreliner entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and the
U.S. Navy in 1963. Despite the trainer designation, many T-39s were
used as utility aircraft. Most U.S. military T-39s were phased out
As a commercial aircraft, the Sabreliner was quite successful.
600 military and civil Sabreliners were delivered. Rights to
the Sabreliner were sold to Sabreliner Corp in 1983.