Airplanes of the Past Home Page Photo of restored U.S. Air Force Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak jet fighter



Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak

Classic side view of the F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 26936
Classic side view of the F-84F Thunderstreak

The swept-wing Republic F-84F Thunderstreak evolved from the straight-wing F-84 Thunderjet. The "F" model incorporated such aerodynamic improvements as swept back wings, due to the success of the North American Aviation F-86 Sabre. It also featured improved tail and elevator surfaces, a smaller canopy and a redesigned windscreen. With these improvements, the F-84F was introduced in 1949 as a competitor to the F-86.

The prototype first flew on June 3, 1950, and deliveries began in 1954, primarily to the Tactical Air Command (TAC) as a ground support fighter bomber.

Armed with six 50-caliber M-3 aircraft machineguns, 24 5-inch rockets and 6,000 pounds of bombs the Thunderstreak was designed as a fighter-bomber capable of attacking ground targets and intercepting high-altitude Soviet Bombers.

Early models of the F-84F were plaqued by control and stability problems. The first production models were equipped with conventional stabilizer-elevator tail-planes, which caused an accelerated stall pitch-up problem and degraded maneuverability at combat speeds. Republic promised a tooling commonality of 55 percent with the F-84, yet when initial production finally commenced it was much closer to 15 percent.

By May of 1954, the introduction of a hydraulically powered one-piece stabilizer and side-mounted spoilers improved performance and corrected the high-speed control problems.

B-36 and F-84F Thunderstreak during a FICON Project test flight
B-36 and F-84F Thunderstreak
testing FICON Project

F-84F and the FICON Project

The F-84F series was a key element in the FICON (Fighter Conveyor) program conducted by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. It involved testing the feasibility of a Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber to carry a RF-84K Thunderflash parasite fighter in its bomb bay.

The plan was for the heavy bomber with superior range to arrive in the vicinity of the target and deploy the faster, more maneuverable F-84F to deliver the tactical nuclear bomb. The F-84F would then return to the "mothership" and be carried home. Later, the concept was changed to a have the parasite aircraft perform reconnaissance missions while the B-36 awaited for its return.

F-84F Tenure with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Team

The USAF Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team had begun their air shows in the early 1950s with the F-84G Thunderjet. Always trying to display the most advanced fighters of the age, the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak became the team’s new aircraft in 1955.

U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds flying the F-84F Thunderstreak
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds flying the F-84F Thunderstreak

However, after one season in the F-84F, the Thunderbirds again traded aircraft, and transitioned to the F-100C Super Sabre in 1956.

A fine example of an F-84F in Thunderbird markings, S/N 52-6563, is restored and on display outdoors at the Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson (see photo below).

F-84F Production Numbers

Republic Aviation built 2,112 F84-F planes at its Farmingdale, New York assembly plant, and General Motors constructed an additional 599 at its Kansas City plant. Of these, 1,301 planes were delivered to NATO air forces under the Military Assistance Program to France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, West Germany, Turkey and Greece. 

Production of a reconnaissance version, the RF-84F Thunderflash, totaled 715 aircraft, including 386 for allied countries. The RF-84F featured engine air intakes at the wing roots plus cameras in the nose.

Technical Specifications of the F-84F Thunderstreak

Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and 24 5-in. rockets; 6,000 lbs. of bombs externally
Engine: Wright J65-W-3 of 7,220 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 685 mph
Cruising speed: 535 mph
Range: 1,900 mi.
Service ceiling: 44,450 ft.
Span: 33 ft. 7 in.
Length: 43 ft. 5 in.
Height: 15 ft. 0 in.
Weight: 27,000 lbs. maximum
Crew: One

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
(from the author's collection of Topps Wings Friend or Foe cards)

Surviving F-84F and RF-84F Aircraft on Display in the United States

In the late 1950s, the U.S. Air Force replaced its F-84Fs with supersonic F-100 Super Sabres, and the Thunderstreaks were distributed to Air National Guard units. However, some F-84Fs temporarily returned to USAF service in the early 1960s due to the Berlin crisis. The F-84F was operated by Air National Guard units until final phase out in 1971.

A total of 34 F-84F Thunderstreaks, and an additional 6 RF-84F Thunderflash aircraft, are on static display in the United States.

Photographs of several restored F-84F airplanes are included below.

F-84F Thunderstreak at the Pima Air & Space Museum ... by Airplanes Of The Past

Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 52-6563 in USAF Thunderbird markings, Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 52-6563 in USAF Thunderbird markings
Cockpit area of Republic F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 52-6563
Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 52-6563 in USAF Thunderbird markings
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 26563, tail section, in Thunderbird livery
Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 52-6563 in USAF Thunderbird markings

F-84F Thunderstreak at the England Air Park ... by Airplanes Of The Past

F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 52-7080 in Alexandria, Louisiana at the closed England AFB
F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 52-7080 on static display in Alexandria, Louisiana at the closed England AFB
F-84F Thunderstreak tail section, Buzz Number FS-080, England Air Park, Louisiana
F-84F Thunderstreak tail section, Buzz Number FS-080, England Air Park, Louisiana
F-84F Thunderstreak, nose view, England Air Park, Alexandria, Louisiana
F-84F Thunderstreak, nose view, England Air Park, Alexandria, Louisiana

F-84F Thunderstreak at the Global Power Museum

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 51-1386, Buzz Number FS-386, at Barkdale AFB Global Power Museum
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 51-1386, Buzz Number FS-386

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 51-1386, Buzz Number FS-386

F-84F Thunderstreak at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum

F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 0-28886, South Dakota Air & Space Museum, Rapid City, South Dakota
F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 0-28886, near the gate to Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, South Dakota
Tail section of U.S. Air Force F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 0-28886
F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 0-28886, tail section

F-84F Thunderstreak at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida

F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 51495, Buzz Number FS-495, at the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida
F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 51495, Buzz Number FS-495
F-84F Thunderstreak 51495, Buzz Number FS-495, tail section
F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 51495, Buzz Number FS-495. tail section

F-84F Thunderstreak at the Castle Air Museum

Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 51-9433, Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California
Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 51-9433

F-84F Thunderstreak at the Hill Aerospace Museum

F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 51-1640, at the Hill Aerospace Museum, Ogden, Utah
F-84F Thunderstreak, S/N 51-1640

F-84F Thunderstreak at the March Field Air Museum

F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-432, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-432, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-84F Thunderstreak, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-432, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-432 in California
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-432, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California

 

RF-84F Thunderflash at the Pima Air & Space Museum

Republic RF-84F Thunderflash S/N 51-1944, Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash S/N 51-1944

More F-84F Thunderstreak Photos

Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 011810, Buzz Number FS-810, at Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico (Photo courtesy of Andrew Hersey)
Republic Aviation F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 011810, Buzz Number FS-810, on display at Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico
Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 51-1810, Buzz Number FS-810, at Cannon Air Force Base (Photo courtesy of Andrew Hersey)
Republic Aviation F-84F S/N 51-1810, Buzz Number FS-810, on display at Cannon Air Force Base
F-84F Thunderstreak, 27019, in USAF Thunderbirds livery, Cheyenne, Wyoming
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-84F Thunderstreak, 27019, in USAF Thunderbirds livery, Cheyenne, Wyoming
F-84F Thunderstreak, 26974, Buzz Number FS-974, Malstrom Air Force Base, Montana
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-84F Thunderstreak, 26974, Buzz Number FS-974, Malstrom Air Force Base, Montana
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-567, Mountain Home Air Force Base
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-84F Thunderstreak, Buzz Number FS-567, Mountain Home Air Force Base

Newspaper Clipping:
Releasing men from some guard duties, King and his boss, Airman 2/C Gene R. Johnson,
help guard an F-84F Thunderstreak at England Air Base at Alexandria, LA
Newspaper account: Releasing men from some guard duties, King and his boss, Airman 2/C Gene R. Johnson, help patrol England Air Base at Alexandria, LA

USAF F-84F Thunderstreak Photographs

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 26936 in the markings of the Ohio Air Guard
Republic F-84F S/N 26936 in the markings of the Ohio Air Guard
Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks of the USAF Thunderbirds in flight
Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks of the Thunderbirds in flight
U.S. Air Force Republic RF-84F Thunderflash S/N 11845
U.S. Air Force Republic RF-84F Thunderflash S/N 11845
Stacks of Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks at Davis-Monthan AFB awaiting scrapping at AMARC in November, 1958
Stacks of Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks at Davis-Monthan AFB awaiting scrapping at AMARC in November, 1958

Historic Images of F-84F Thunderstreaks

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Republic RF84-F Thunderflash, Buzz Number FS-829, parked on the tarmac
Republic RF84-F Thunderflash, Buzz Number FS-829, parked on the tarmac
Republic RF84-F Thunderflash, Buzz Number FS-829, in flight
Republic RF84-F Thunderflash, Buzz Number FS-829, in flight
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 92430 in flight
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak S/N 92430 in flight
F-84F Thunderstreak on static display at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS
F-84F Thunderstreak on static display at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS