Republic F-84 Thunderjet
Country of origin United States
Manufacturer Republic Aviation
First flight 28 February 1946
Introduced November 1947
Produced Numbers built 7,524
Unit costs US$237,247 (F-84G)
Max speed Maximum speed: 622 mph (540 kn, 1,000 km/h)
Cruise speed: 475 mph (413 kn, 770 km/h)
Max range Range: 1,000 mi (870 nmi, 1,600 km) combat
Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,700 nmi, 3,200 km) with external tanks
Service ceiling: 40,500 ft (12,350 m)
Dimensions Length: 38 ft 1 in (11.60 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 5 in (11.10 m)
Height: 12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Wing area: 260 ft² (24 m²)
Weight Empty weight: 11,470 lb (5,200 kg)
Loaded weight: 18,080 lb (8,200 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 23,340 lb (10,590 kg)
Powerplant 1 × Allison J35-A-29 turbojet, 5,560 lbf (24.7 kN)
Armament 6 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns, 300 rpg
Up to 4,450 lb (2,020 kg) of rockets and bombs, including 1 × Mark 7 nuclear bomb
Operators Former Operators:
Belgium, Republic of China (Taiwan), Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Yugoslavia
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet, a turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft, was the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) main strike aircraft while in the Korean War, flying 86,408 missions and wiping out 60% of all ground targets in the war and also eight Soviet-built MiG fighters. The F-84 was the first production fighter aircraft to implement in-flight refueling and the first fighter able to be armed with a nuclear weapon, i. e. the Mark 7 nuclear bomb.
Eventhough it came into service in 1947, the Thunderjet was weighed down by numerous structural and engine problems that a 1948 Air Force review announced it could not perform any aspect of its intended mission and thought of aborting the program. The aircraft was not deemed completely operational before the 1949 F-84D model and the design was perfectioned to F-84G model which was introduced in 1951.
The Thunderjet was the first aircraft to fly with the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. The fighter-bomber served with NATO nations as well.
The Design and Development of F-84
On 11 September 1944, the USAAF issued General Operational Requirements for a day fighter with a maximum speed of 600 mph (521 kn, 966 km/h), combat radius of 705 miles (612 nmi, 1, 135 km), and armament of either six 0. 50 in (12. 7 mm) or four 0. 60 in (15. 2 mm) machine guns. Additionally, the new aircraft was required to work with the General Electric TG-180 axial turbojet which got into production as Allison J35. In 1944, Republic Aviation’s chief designer, Alexander Kartveli, commenced focusing on a turbojet-powered alternative to the P-47 Thunderbolt piston-engined fighter.
On 11 November 1944, Republic obtained an order for three prototypes of the new XP-84-Model AP-23. Given that the design offers superior performance to the Lockheed-built P-80 Shooting Star and Republic had extensive experience in building single-seat fighters, the Republic had no rivals for the contract..
The first prototype XP-84 was relocated to Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards AFB) where it took a maiden flight on 28 February 1946.
On account of postponements with shipping of jet engines and production of the XP-84A, the Thunderjet had gone through only restricted flight testing by the time production P-84Bs launched to roll out of the factory in 1947.
The Variants of F-84
Following are some variants of F-84:
- XP-84 – The first two prototypes.
- XP-84A – The third prototype with a more powerful J35-GE-15 engine.
- YP-84A – Service test aircraft; 15 built.
- P-84B (F-84B) – First production version, J35-A-15 engine; 226 built.
- F-84C – Reverted to the more reliable J35-A-13 engine, improved fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems; 191 built.
- F-84D – J35-A-17 engine, various structural improvements. The pitot tube was moved from the tail fin to the splitter in the air intake with fins added to the wingtip fuel tanks; 154 built.
- F-84G – Single-seat fighter-bomber capable of delivering the Mark 7 nuclear bomb using the LABS, J35-A-29 engine, autopilot, capable of in-flight refueling using both the boom (receptacle in left wing leading edge) and drogue (probe fitted to wingtip fuel tanks), introduced the multi-framed canopy which was later retrofitted to earlier straight-winged F-84s. A total of 3,025 were built (1,936 for NATO under MDAP).
- EF-84G – Zero length launch version for point defense, used the booster rocket from MGM-1 Matador cruise missile, did not enter production.
- YF-84F – Two swept-wing prototypes of the F-84F, initially designated YF-96A.
- F-84F Thunderstreak – Swept wing version with Wright J65 engine.
- RF-84F Thunderflash – Reconnaissance version of the F-84F, 715 built.
- RF-84K FICON project – Reconnaissance version of the F model, 25 built to hang from the Consolidated B-36 Peacemaker.
- XF-84H Thunderscreech – Experimental supersonic-turboprop version.
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