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
chief, tbmparadx1=sbcglobal.net, 17.05.2013

Crew chief 12thTFS Kadena A F B KJ Tague other forward elements 1969 to1971

Jeff Nawman, jnawman=yahoo.com, 13.05.2013

I am looking for anyone who might have flown with or knew my uncle- Major William N. Wright. He flew F105s in Viet Nam and I believe his suqadron left from McConnel AFB to go to Viet Nam. I don't know his squadron number or whether he was based in Thailand or not. Any information would be appreciated.

John G. Shubert, dadshub=aol.com, 11.02.2013

I worked on the F-105 B's and D's at Seymour Johnson AFB N.C.
from april 1960 till november 1963. First with 4th CAM Sq then three years with the 334th TFS. These times were very interesting with constant modifications and participating in
cold war crisis's of that time.

Gary Retterbush, gary.retterbush=t-online.de, 24.01.2013

By Far the best bird I ever had the honor of flying! I flew the first one non-stop from Mobile to Bitburg and flew her at the Paris Air Show. Did a tour at Nellis as an IP and then a tour at Takhli. Flew the last bird home from Spangdahlem for the F4 conversion; a sad day!
Had her at 50 ft AGL and 840 knots with the bomb bay doors open; yes, she could go fast on the deck!
It breaks my heart that there isn't one flying today. It deserves a place in the wild blue yonder.

Alan Bricker, abgr81=yahoo.com, 21.01.2013

I was in the 113th TFW of the D.C.ANG at Andrews AFB when they had F105D & F models. It was a great aircraft to work on. I was in the Weapons/Fire Control team(Radar/Bombing Computer). I've lost touch with the guys from the unit. It would be great to hear from any of them. I am in California now and saw a couple of the F-16's the DCANG now flys at an air show at Moffet NAS and talked w/ the crew. I loved watching and listening to the F-105's taking off and their distinct sound as they fly over. I was proud to see 60-0445 that I worked on, on display at the Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles in such nice shape.

Raymond Boback, rboback=windstream.net, 02.12.2012

I was assigned to the 36TFW in Germany. Was there from June of 1964 until June of 1967. We had the 105 D's and F models. Started out in the 336 MMS and then some of this was broken into the 23FS, 22FS and 53FS. The fighter squadrons consisted of the pilot, crew chief and the weapons personnel. I was assigned to the 23FS and was the MJ1 driver of our load crew. We loaded Mk28 and Mk 43,plus all the conventional weapons around at that time. Love working on that plane except when I fell off the wing twice, that's a long drop to the ground. Those wings were slick in the winter. Had some great friends in those squadrons, don't know what happened to a lot of them. Dave Kytola (died in 2011, really miss him), Doyle Wilhite, Bob Sims and so many others. Miss those guys. We had great times in Bitburg bars, especially the Dixie Bar. Spent many trips to Wheelus and loved the sea. Got to work in t-shirts and sometime no shirts due to the heat. Once I went to the restroom in the maintenance office and came off that commode like a bat out of hell when I reached for the toilet paper and a scorpion was sitting on the paper. While at Wheelus some of us got to take rides in the F models, what a kick in the pants. To go on bomb runs and air combat was just great, those gloves came in handy one time. Got to see a lot of Europe, liked most of it. Sometime in 1966 we started to get the F4D's and we lost a great plane in the 105. The F4's were a bunch of junk and so was the Sparrow missile. I hated loading them in the winter. Try loading a nuc. in the winter and connecting the plug. That is what caused me to get frost bite on my fingers. During late 1966 the Air Force was calling for people to go to Nam.
My buddy Dave and I volunteered and were turned down. The reason, they don't have nuc's over there, let them take them out of weapons school. June of 1967 was assigned to Davis-Monthan in Tucson and so were Dave, Doyle and Bob. WE were all short timers when we got there and the four of us were on the same load team. Can't believe how easy it was to re-certify. Loaded one set of weapons, then to the coffee shop for the rest of the day. Just signed off on the rest of the loads that were called for. State side didn't have to do full loads of anything. When we signed on to base and met the squadron commander who reviewed are files, he saw that Dave and I volunteered for Nam and wanted to know if we were still interested, guess what we said, NO Thank You Sir.WE were ask many times to go and promised a stripe before we left and another stripe when we got there. He made it sound very interesting, but with less then 90 days left on our enlistment we turned it down. Was even asked the day we signed off of base. Got to live off base while they remodeled the close barracks. Hell, they lost track of where we were and believed we were in one of the remodeled barracks. They found us when we were ready to be discharged. Loved that 105 and thought it was the best the Air Force had. The should have made more.

Lauren Eastwood, lauren044=yahoo.com, 01.12.2012

Worked on the "thud" while assigned to the 388th TFW hydraulic shop at Korat RTAB, Thailand. Rebuilt a lot of afterburned actucatos while assigned to in-shop.

RIchard Vander Jagt, KQ6YH=copper.net, 19.11.2012

I was stationed at itazuki from summer '62 thu summer '64 in the 8th A&E Fire Control System. Worked F-100 autopilot while waiting for F-105's to be delivered. When my 2yrs was almost up, got sent to George AFB and the F-4C. Later trained in reserves as C-119 Loadmaster. Loved the 105.

Tom Elder, thuds4evr=hotmail.com, 15.11.2012

I was in the 36th TFS 65-66 crewed A/C 372 , was at Tahkli with it in 65 Then it was my pleasure to be a part of the bunch that helped form the 34th TFS at Korat. There until Feb 67. Wondering if Gerald LaFrienere,Bobby Brown, Billy Brewer and others from that time are still around. My time on the F105 was short but the highlite of 20 AF yrs. Awesome people in those TFS's.

Thomas Bomback, tomaktwb=hotmail.com, 08.10.2012

on my enlistment 61/64 at Spang. Germany I Crew Chiefed Acft 61-103. To this day am still very proud of this aircraft. Was fun to work on.

bob lima, myfauna=hotmail.com, 15.09.2012

working at republic in farmingdale li, i was sent to bitburg germany base to do modification on f-105 in 1963. so i believe, yes they were exported. note: 29-10-2011

Tom Taylor, ttaylorvietvet=gmail.com, 07.08.2012

I was at McConnell AFB from July 1967 to July 1970. I was a 322 Weapons System Mechanic ASG 19 Radar),with the 561 TFS. Never went to Thailand or elsewhere. Moved to Shelbyville, TN in 1982. In 1983 or 1984, a Thud flew into Arnold AFB, Tullahoma for static display. I was the only fighter to fly into Arnold for static display. There are at least 6 other fighters on display there now. What a great fighter aircraft for its time.

Bob Stormeer, bs34354=gmail.com, 05.07.2012

I was assigned to the 67th TFS, 18TFW at Kadena AB from early 1965 to Aug 1966 as bomb loader (46250) on F-105s. Starting late 1965 I went TDY to Korat Thailand for 90 days. After that I another TDY to Korat and then a TDY to Takhli. On the TDYs to Korat we had long hours loading bombs, aand during one of the 36 hour load periods an AIM-9B Sidewinder was launched while wringing the A/C for pre-load checks. That was exciting. Nobody got physically hurt, but messed with few peoples minds and they got re-assigned. It never exploded because it finally came apart after hitting an A/C jack, a truck and building. The problem was later found to be short in the pylon that launched the missile when the "flashlight" check was initiated.
We loaded lots of 750LB GPs, 2,75 FFARs, Sidewinders, and a few 3000LB GPs, Air-to ground missiles (I don't remember the specific designation). I was the MG-1 driver and on one of trips to Korat it was "rice bug" season and I got hit in forehead by one of them while hauling bomb to the A/C. They large hard-shelled bugs that were delicacy for the Thai people. I never ate one but did run over a lot of them with the MJ-1.
Another memorable event at Korat was when another crew member (Larry Darland) and myself were assigned de-arming duty on the runway when the planes came back. It was hot, as usual, the planes were a little coming back so Larry and I laid down on the cots to rest. I don't know how long we were asleep but the planes came back and we didn't hear them until the lead plane pilot revved up the engine and finally woke us up. We both jumped up and ran into each other and fell back on the cots. We gained our composure and got the safety pins in, and the pilot was still laughing. It must have been a funny sight from his perspective.
I really enjoyed working on the F-105s. They were a unique airplane for weapons, with three wing stations on each side, and internal bomb bay that usually carried a fuel tank. I can only remember loading one dummy nuke on the internal rack, and that was just to stay certified. There was also a centerline station that would accommodate the MER (multiple ejector rack) for GP bombs. While I was at Takhli a plane came back with a hung 750 GP on the bottom front center of the MER (the closet to the ground). He couldn't jettison the bomb or the entire rack. He made very gentle landing so the bomb wouldn't scrape the runway and everything turned out OK.
The plane was a real workhorse for the mission needed during Vietnam.

Clint Lynch MSgt ret., cel2591=aol.com, 11.04.2012

I worked as a Jet Engine Mech for 7 years. Frist at Nellis when they first arrived, then Japan with TDYs in Korea, Thailand. Went on mobility to korat in 1966-67. I left the 105 and went to Williams AFB with run up and taxi on 38's f5's and 39's. Back to Bein Hoa with the F100

Chuck Balo, chaz=embarqmail, 01.04.2012

Seymour Johnson AFB 64-66 32251N Offensive Weapons Control
Great Bird....I learned a lot about life in those 3 years.
I'll never forget my Service. Proud to have served with this Bird.

Richard A Felder, rfelder=windstream.net, 19.03.2012

I was stationed at bitburg Germany 1961-1964, 36TFW, 23rd squadron straight out of technical school. Always had a suntan because I went to Wheelus, North Africa act.

Tom G., TCGmyinitials=AOL.com, 10.03.2012

I was with the 418th MMS Squadron Kadena AFB from 1970-71 working in the Gun Shop. We were the first to utilize a laser to boresight the M-61 Vulcan cannon. Our Chiefs treated us with the utmost respect, so I enjoyed my 18 month tour. In 1971 we also transitioned the 18th TAC wing over from the F-105 to F-4 Phantoms. Going from "walking" under the wings to constantly stooped over dealing with the centerline SUU-16 on a Phantom, you learn to appreciate a good design. We also took care of the emergency flares at the ends of the runways, a good day to get out of the shop and get a close view of the Habu taking off.

Robert Dunn, squire5455=aol.com, 15.02.2012

This is a second post. Chuck Anderson and I arrived at Yokota AFB on Oct. 15 1966. It was nearly midnight and it was a misty, rainy night we we stepped of the Brannif Airliner and look down to our left all you could see was a double row of thunderchiefs lit up by the light-alls. It was a most impressive sight and I've never forgotten it. Chuck and I were half of a load crew with Gary Moss who lives it Pa now and our crew chief was Mike "puke" Nelson, He was a riot. Working on the 105 was a joy, If I could go do it again I would. Chuck and I kept in touch all these years up until he passed away two years ago. But the memories of great times together and profound friendship linger on. Unfortunately I lost all of my photos of Osan and Yokota in a move to Germany in the mid 1970's and would love to those other have of those places from that time.

Klaatu83, klaatu83=lycos.com, 29.10.2011

"Perhaps because of its complexity, no F-105 was ever exported."

The fact that it was very LARGE and very EXPENSIVE probably had a lot more to do with that.

John Bush, jejo56=att.net, 16.10.2011

Stationed at Seymour 58/62 4th. CAMS instrument shop.We had
the F100s then (58) Switched to F105 58/59? 335th had first
105s in Florida. Remember working in the (Ball Room) on the
CADC computer system. (no pleasure there) Instrument systems
could be a pain but it was a real air hog. Sorry so many were lost in Nam. Enjoyed living in Goldsboro ( Hoods Trailer Court) with my young bride. Decided to come home in
62. Almost did'nt make it because if the Cuban deal.
Got a 105 on display at Hickory NC airport. Need to go see
the ole gal.

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140

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