Republic F-105 Thunderchief
1955
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Republic F-105 Thunderchief

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief, or company model AP-63, was conceived in 1951 as a nuclear strike aircraft with an internal bomb bay, but won renown for hauling bombs externally in a conventional war. Alexander Kartveli's design team originally intended a straight fuselage for the craft but, after seeing NACA data assembled by Richard Whitcomb, was won over by the wasp-waist or 'area rule' configuration which enhanced transonic flight performance. At first intended for the Allison J71 engine and powered in prototype form by the Pratt & Whitney J57, the F-105 attained its successes with the 7802kg thrust Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W turbojet which provided 11113kg thrust with afterburning. Its mid-mounted wing, swept 60 degrees, the F-105 stood high on its tricycle gear and was a big, brutish machine, yet it conveyed an image of sleekness and grace slicing through the air. Development of the aircraft was by no means without its difficulties, and things had only begun when two J57-powered YF-105As commenced flying 22 October 1955, soon followed by 15 aircraft designated JF-105B and F-105B for test programmes.

Production F-105Bs, long delayed by development problems, began to roll from Republic's Farmingdale line during 1958 and the USAF accepted its first machine on 27 May 1958. The 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, temporarily moved to Eglin AFB, Florida, began to work up in the new aircraft only to find that, given its complexity and production slippages, it would not become operational until 1960. Meanwhile, a two-seat strike variant, the F-105C, had reached the mock-up stage but was not built. Though technical problems persisted and critics were calling the 'Thud' a maintenance nightmare, Republic proceeded with the F-105D variant which afforded true, all-weather capability by introducing General Electric FC-5 fully integrated automatic flight fire-control system. The F-105D's fuselage was lengthened by 0.381m. Some 610 were manufactured, and first flight took place at Farmingdale 9 June 1959. The F-105D model soon equipped all three squadrons of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) were the first overseas recipient of the F-105D, the 36th TFW at Bitburg AB, West Germany re-equipping from 12 May 1961 and the 49th TFW at Spangdahlem soon following. In the early 1960s, with a war growing in Asia, F-105Ds joined the 18th TFW at Kadena AFB, Okinawa.

The F-105D was by now a proven ordnance-carrier. With multiple ejector racks (MER), it could carry an impressive load of external fuel, ECM gear, and eight 340kg bombs on long-range missions. The F-105D could also operate with the Martin AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-surface missile, which was to prove remarkably ineffective against 'hard' targets in Vietnam and would be observed bouncing off the Thanh Hoa Bridge. In addition, the F-105D model could carry 70mm rocket pods, napalm canisters and the AIM-9 infra-red (IR) air-to-air missiles, while its integral M61A1 Gatling-type 20-mm cannon proved invaluable in the dual roles of air-to-air combat and air-to-ground strafing. A late-model variant of the F-105D was the F-105D T-Stick II fitted with additional avionics which bestowed all-weather bombing capability, housed in a prominent dorsal fairing extending along the spine of the fuselage to the tail.

The F-105E was another two-seat variant that was not developed. A two-seat Thunderchief was inevitable, however, and in May 1962 Republic proceeded with the F-105F. This model, which made its first flight 11 June 1963, was some 900kg heavier as well as slightly longer than earlier Thunderchiefs in order to accommodate the second crewman in tandem; 143 F-105Fs were delivered and 61 were later reconfigured for the electronic warfare or 'Wild Weasel' role in Vietnam, at first under their original designation and later as the F-105G.

The F-105D, F-105F and F-105G all fought in North Vietnamese skies, the F-104D model fighter-bomber so extensively that over half of the 610 built eventually fell to Hanoi's air defences. After withdrawal from South East Asia in 1969-70, the Thunderchief soldiered on in Reserve and Air National Guard units, eventually flying its final sortie in 1984. At one time no fewer than 14 USAF and 11 ANG squadrons operated the type, which was built to the extent of 833 examples. Perhaps because of its complexity, no F-105 was ever exported.

Republic F-105 Thunderchief


Specification 
 MODELF-105D
 CREW1
 ENGINE1 x Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W, 76.5kN
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight23967 kg52838 lb
    Empty weight12474 kg27501 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan10.59 m35 ft 9 in
    Length19.61 m64 ft 4 in
    Height5.97 m20 ft 7 in
    Wing area35.77 m2385.02 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Ceiling12560 m41200 ft
    Range w/max.fuel3846 km2390 miles
 ARMAMENT1 x 20mm cannon, 6350kg of weapons

Republic F-105 Thunderchief

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140 141-160
Tom Docherty, 08.06.2015

I am currently researching the F-105 and hope to contact pilots who flew the type with the 36TFW and 49TFW in USAFE prior to Vietnam and with ANG units post Vietnam. Any help would be much appreciated.

Stephen, 10.04.2015

Question.... Was anyone stationed at Kadena prior to 1965 awarded the AF Long Tour Overseas ribbon? I was not, although my personnel file notes 18 months overseas service. We started bombing in middle to late 1964 (Couldn't say where, but it wasn't Viet Nam), although the official start of the war was 1965.

Jim Eng, 15.03.2015

For Denny Waiter; We got the bomb bay open on a B Model that went from the AF Museum to Willow Run, it was later destroyed in a fire. Give me an email and I think I can tell you how to do it, or maybe run down. [jimmer@new.rr.com] Worked on them from early 1963 to 1970, weapons man.

Larry Budzowski, 07.03.2015

I worked on the THUDS in Tahkli Thailand I was an aircraft electrian and did launch and recovery. A great airplane. BTW anyone know about agent orange in Thailand

TOm Murray, 28.02.2015

Served in the gun shop for the 418MMs from 9/71 until 3/73. Worked on 20 mm cannons for the F105 and F4's. Then went to Homestead AB in weapons releace . Anyone know where CMSGT Harold Inman ended up?

Harold (Pappy) Harmon, 23.02.2015

I worked on Doppler Radar on F105Ds at Nellis AFB, NV, 1962 and 1963. It was an awesome plane and good to work on. It carried an amazing amount of ordinance at one time.

Harold (Pappy), 23.02.2015

I worked on Doppler Radar on F105Ds at Nellis AFB, NV, 1962 and 1963. It was an awesome plane and good to work on. It carried an amazing amount of ordinance at one time.

Louis Hurtado, USAF RET, 23.02.2015

I was crew chief in 388tFW, 469th TFS 1968-1969. I was night shift crew chief on F-105D 220. Moved to 34th TFS after 469th broke up and transitioned to F-4E. I did second tour at Takhli with 44th TFS on F-105D 0076 JUlY - DEC 1970. Finished tour back at Korat DEC - April 1972.

Ed Rock, 11.02.2015

Flew the 105 for 10 years on and off. 35th TFS, 4526th, 354th, 13th, 333rd, 561st, 17th WWS. Always brought me home!

Eldred Duane Mitchell, 10.02.2015

This is my favorite aircraft. I loaded munitions on her during the Vietnam war. I was at Korat RTAB, Thailand, 388TFW 13TFS, June 1966 to June 1967. I kept a daily log of what munitions my team loaded on the THUD and I still have that log today. Many good memories here.

Bill Willey, 07.02.2015

Started with the B-29 & B-36, recip eng.B-52/KC-135 jet tech 43270, Fairchild, Spangdahlem F100 & F105, J-75 repair shop, test cell, flightline, Nellis , Korat, McConnel, F-43270, Nellis F-111, 1951-1972 retired. F-105, many hours in Acft & trim pad. The "Thud", my favorite.

Paul Scott, 18.01.2015

Classic aircraft - one of the earliest successes after the Sabre, of the American aircraft industry, truly brilliant machine!

Robert Sehl, 10.11.2014

Like this site. Nice to hear from some former 462xx0 troops.
Thanks

Ralph Cabrera, 08.11.2014

i was a crew chief on the T Stick II Acft in the 563RD TFS at McConnell AFB. My Acft was 61-0044, balls 44. Any former crew chiefs out there, get in touch.

Tom Septembre, 29.08.2014

Crew Chief F-105s Korat, Thailand, Sep. 67 - Oct. 68, 34TFS; TDY EB-66 Takhli.

My first pilot, Major "Digger" Odell A/C#24236, Call ISAIAH 6:8. Shot Down over N. Vietnam Oct 68. Returned home with the last POW group.
I remember the first aircraft assigned to me had no tail section due to major combat damage. One night we borrowed a good tail section from the engine run up pad. No one missed it.
I also remember our pilots coming back with barely airworthy aircraft due to new ventilation holes and pieces of wings missing. The line truck picked me up once to help with one that slid down the runway with no brakes and no drag shoot and the one that a wheel came off and slammed into the revetment wall a few feet from me. That I will never forget nor when Isaiah 6:8 did not return.

On another topic, I am seeking to contact any of my fellow ground crew who have been successful in obtaining VA Agent Orange disability. Please respond by email.

Thank you for letting me serve with you. I am glad that you all have kept this page up.

Becky Purcell arts, 05.08.2014

My dad was at Korat with 12TAC FTR Squadron. 1964-1965.
Capt. Robert B. Purcell. On July 27,1965 he was shot down & was POW for almost 8 years. I would love to find the crew chief that helped him into the Thunderchief on that day. I have a name, N Fetrucci who I know worked along side him from Jan. - June 1965.obe found 3 C/Cs that know & have worked with him but not on that July day. Daddy died aost 5 years ago. I would welcome any help. Thank you.
Becky Purcell Arts
Beckyarts@me.com

Al Roehl, 04.07.2014

Yes I was a weapons mech.Was at McConnel 66-67 Then Takhli in 68. Back to McConnel till discharge in Jan 70 Loaded everything on my crew.Overseas I worked in gun shop. Loved the gun shop. Lots of gun jams. knew the M-61 well Worked on it till I was out

Ron Mead, 07.06.2014

Worked as a loader at McConnel from 1972 to 1973. Then moved with them to George until 1978 when they started going to the Guard. Was a great plane. Anybody else out there who was a weapons loader on them

Denny Waite, 09.05.2014

We are going to mount a F-105 in the air here in Tupelo MS. Does anyone know how to get the bomb bay doors open without cutting on the plane? Ours does have the fuel tank still in it also. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

HGF, 17.02.2014

Yes I do, I was there.

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