Republic F-84F Thunderstreak

The Republic F-84F Thunderstreak was an American-built swept-wing turbojet fighter-bomber. While an evolutionary development of the straight-wing F-84 Thunderjet, the F-84F was a new design. The RF-84F Thunderflash was a photo reconnaissance version.


Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Republic Aviation
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1950
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Belgium View
China View
Denmark View
France View
Germany View
Greece 1954 1991 View
Italy View
Netherlands View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United States of America 1954 1972 View
Norway View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Republic Aviation 3428 View

In 1949, a swept wing version of the F-84 was created with the hope of bringing performance to the level of the F-86. The last production F-84E was fitted with a swept tail, a new wing with 38.5 degrees of leading edge sweep and 3.5 degrees of anhedral, and a J35-A-25 engine producing 5,300 pound-force (23.58 kN) of thrust. The aircraft was designated XF-96A. It flew on 3 June 1950 with Otto P. Haas at the controls. Although the airplane was capable of 602 knots (693 mph, 1,115 km/h), the performance gain over the F-84E was considered minor.

 Nonetheless, it was ordered into production in July 1950 as the F-84F Thunderstreak. The F-84 designation was retained because the fighter was expected to be a low-cost improvement of the straight-wing Thunderjet with over 55 percent commonality in tooling.

The Thunderstreak suffered from the same poor takeoff performance as the straight-wing Thunderjet despite having a more powerful engine. In reality, almost 700 pounds-force (3.11 kN) or ten percent of total thrust was lost because the J65 was installed at an angle and its exhaust had a prominent kink. On a hot day, 7,500 feet (2,285 m) of runway were required for takeoff roll. A typical takeoff speed was 160 knots (185 mph, 300 km/h). Like the Thunderjet, the Thunderstreak excelled at cruise and had predictable handling characteristics within its performance envelope. Like its predecessor, it also suffered from accelerated stall pitch-up and potential resulting separation of wings from the airplane. In addition, spins in the F-84F were practically unrecoverable and ejection was the only recourse below 10,000 feet (3,000 m).

Project Run In completed operational tests in November 1954 and found the aircraft to be to USAF satisfaction and considerably better than the F-84G. However, ongoing engine failures resulted in the entire fleet being grounded in early 1955. Also, the J65 engine continued to suffer from flameouts when flying through heavy rain or snow. As the result of the problems, the active duty phaseout began almost as soon as the F-84F entered service in 1954, and was completed by 1958. Increased tensions in Germany associated with construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 resulted in reactivation of the F-84F fleet. In 1962, the fleet was grounded due to the corrosion of control rods. A total of 1,800 man hours were expended to bring each aircraft to full operational capacity. Stress corrosion eventually forced the retirement of ANG F-84Fs in 1971.

On 9 March 1955, Lt. Col. Robert R. Scott, in a F-84F Thunderstreak, set a three-hour, 44-minute and 53-second record for the 2,446 mile flight from Los Angeles to New York.

With the appearance of the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, which also used wing-root mounted air intakes, the Thunderstreak became known as the Thud's Mother. The earlier F-84A had been nicknamed the "Hog" and the F-84F "Super Hog," the F-105 becoming the "Ultra Hog".

In what is probably one of the very few air-to-air engagements involving the F-84F, two Turkish Air Force F-84F Thunderstreaks shot down two Iraqi Il-28 Beagle bombers that crossed the Turkish border by mistake during a bombing operation against Iraqi Kurdish insurgents. This engagement took place on 16 August 1962.

The F-84F was retired from active service in 1964, and replaced by the North American F-100 Super Sabre. The RF-84F was replaced by the RF-101 Voodoo in USAF units, and relegated to duty in the Air National Guard. The last F-84F Thunderflash retired from the ANG in 1971. Three Hellenic Air Force RF-84Fs that were retired in 1991 were the last operational F-84s.

Role Fighter-bomber/Reconnaissance Aircraft
Manufacturer Republic Aviation
First flight June 3, 1950
Introduction May 12, 1954
Retired 1972 (US ANG)
1991 (Greece)
Primary users United States Air Force
Belgian Air Force
German Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Number built 3428
Unit cost US$769,330 (F-84F)
Developed from Republic F-84 Thunderjet
Variants Republic XF-84H Thunderscreech


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 43 ft 4¾ in (13.23 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 7¼ in (10.25 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 4¾ in (4.39 m)
  • Wing area: 325 ft² (30 m²)
  • Empty weight: 13,830lb (5,200 kg)
  • Loaded weight: lb (kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 28,000 lb (12,701 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J65-W-3 turbojet, 7,220 lbf (32.2 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 695 mph (604 knots, 1,119 km/h, Mach .91) at sea level
  • Range: 810 mi (704 nmi, 1,304 km) combat radius with two droptanks
  • Service ceiling: 46,000 ft (14,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 8,200 ft/min (42 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 86 lb/ft² (423 kg/m²)

Armament

  • 6× .50 in (12.7 mm) Browning M3 machine guns,
  • Up to 6,000lb (2,727 kg) of rockets and bombs, including one Mark 7 nuclear bomb

Avionics

  • A-1CM or A-4 gunsight with APG-30 or MK-18 ranging radar

Communications Equipment

  • AN/ARC-33 or 34 command set radio
  • AN/APX-6 or 6A IFF set
  • AN/AR-6 radio compass
  • AN/APW-11 or 11A radar set
  • AN/APN-21 TACAN set

End notes