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F-105 Thunderchief

F-105 Thunderchief Development and Production

F-105 aircraft in flight formationF-105 aircraft in flight formation

The Republic Aviation F-105 was a supersonic fighter-bomber capable of Mach-2 speeds. The aircraft was initially an internal Republic project designed to replace the RF-84F Thunderflash.

The U.S. Air Force awarded Republic with a contract for 199 aircraft in September of 1952, but later downgraded the order in size. Near the end of 1953, the entire program was canceled by the Air Force due to a number of delays and uncertainties regarding the aircraft.

In 1954, it placed another order, and the YF-105A prototype first flew in October of 1955. The first production F-105B was accepted by the Air Force in May of 1957.

In June 1957 Republic Aviation requested that the F-105 be named Thunderchief, continuing the sequence of the company's Thunder-named aircraft, e.g. P-47 Thunderbolt, F-84 Thunderjet, and F-84F Thunderstreak.

F-105 Wild Weasel versions were also built.

The F-105 was the largest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft in history, weighing in at about 50,000 pounds. The Mach-2 capable F-105 conducted most of the strike bombing missions during the early years of the Viet Nam War. Over 20,000 Thunderchief sorties were flown during the war, with 382 F-105 aircraft lost.

One of its nicknames was "Thud".

F-105 Thunderchief of the USAF ThunderbirdsF-105 Thunderchief of the USAF Thunderbirds

Six airshows by the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team were flown in 1964 using the F-105. Following an in the F-105, the Thunderbirds transitioned back to the F-100 Super Sabre.

F-105 Thunderchief Models and Production

Various models were producted, including the F-105B, F-105D and F-105F.

By the end of production, 833 of the F-105 aircraft had been built.

F-105 Thunderchief Survivors

The last F-105 ended service in February, 1984.

Today, about ninety (90) F-105 Thunderchiefs have survived and are on display in the United States. Others are on display in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Mexico. Shown below are photographs of respresentative F-105 restorations and displays.

F-105D "Iron Duke", S/N 62-4360 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
F-105D "Iron Duke", S/N 62-4360 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark in Oklahoma City

 

Photos of Surviving F-105 THunderchiefs

F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57-803, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57-803, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
Tail section of F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57-803, at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57-803, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500 at HAMM, Tyler, Texas
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
Republic Aviation F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, Tyler, Texas
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
Republic F-105D Thunderchief
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief
Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, S/N 60-0500
F-105G Thunderchief, S/N 62-4440, restored and on static display near Salt Lake City
F-105G Thunderchief, S/N 62-4440
USAF F-105G Thunderchief, S/N 62-4440
F-105G Thunderchief, S/N 62-4440


F-105G Thunderchief S/N 56-3296 in the airpark at the site of the closed England Air Force Base
F-105G Thunderchief S/N 56-3296 on static display at the site of the closed England Air Force Base
Republic F-105 Thunderchief, in Fighting Tigers paint scheme, at England Air Force Base
Republic F-105 Thunderchief, in Fighting Tigers paint scheme, at England Air Force Base
Republic F-105 Thunderchief at the closed England Air Force Base, Alexandria, Louisiana
Republic F-105 Thunderchief on static display at the site of the closed England Air Force Base, Alexandria, Louisiana
F-105D Thunderchief S/N 61-0107 in Albuquerque, New Mexico
F-105D Thunderchief S/N 61-0107
F-105D Thunderchief in New Mexico
F-105D Thunderchief S/N 61-0107
F-105D Thunderchief S/N 62-4259, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
F-105D Thunderchief S/N 62-4259
F-105 Thunderchief at Eglin AFB near Fort Walton, Florida
F-105 Thunderchief at Eglin AFB
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839, at the gate of Ellsworth AFB
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839
Front view of F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839, Ellsworth AFB
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839
Tail section of F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839
F-105 Thunderchief, S/N 57839


F-105B Thunderchief at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-105B Thunderchief on display at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington