In 1951, Republic Aviation began a project to develop a supersonic tactical fighter-bomber to replace the F-84F. The result was the F-105 “Thunderchief,” later affectionately nicknamed the “Thud.”
The prototype YF-105A first flew on October 22, 1955 but the first F-105D did not fly until June 9, 1959. F-105s were produced in the single-seat -B and -D series, and in the two-seat F-105F model.
Later, some -Fs were modified to become F-105Gs. A total of 833 Thunderchiefs of all types were built, including 610 F-105Ds.
The F-105D could carry over 12,000 pounds of ordnance, a heavier bomb load than a World War II B-17. Up to 8,000 pounds could be carried internally in the bomb bay.
The F-105D was used extensively in the Vietnam War. It flew 75 percent of the air strikes against North Vietnam during its first four years. One plane accumulated 1500 hours and 450 missions. The last F-105D was withdrawn from USAF service on July 12, 1980.
Almost seventy-five percent of all bombing missions flown in Vietnam were flown by F-105’s.
First flown in 1955, the F-105 was developed as an all-weather strike fighter-bomber; it was one of the only fighters with an internal bomb bay. The USAF Thunderbirds flew the F-105 for only six shows before switching to the F-4.
The small wing area and large fuselage resulted in the nickname, “Thud,” because it did not glide well when the engine was off.
|Span:||34 ft. 11 in.|
|Length:||64 ft. 5 in.|
|Height:||19 ft. 8 in.|
|Weight:||52,838 lbs. max.|
|Armament:||One M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon and more than 12,000 lbs. of ordnance|
|Engines:||One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W of 24,500 lbs thrust with afterburner|
|Years in Service:||1958-1975|
|Maximum Speed:||1,390 mph|
|Cruising Speed:||778 mph|
|Service Ceiling:||51,000 feet|