The single-seated F-84G was one of the many variations of the Republic F84 Thunderjet, which served as the Air Force’s main air to ground strike aircraft throughout the Korean War. This American turbo jet originated in 1944 when the (then) United States Army Air Force requested a design for a “day fighter”. By February of 1946, the F-84 recorded its first flight and found its way into service by 1947.
BRIEF HISTORY ON DEVELOPMENT
At first, this aircraft was inundated with a number of problems, including both the structure and the engine. By 1948, the Air Force realized the F84 was not capable of performing any of the functions it was originally designed to handle. At this time, the Air Force actually considered cancelling the program entirely. Finally, in 1949, with model F-84D, the Thunderjet was in full operation. This was followed by the ultimate straight-winged F-84G in 1951 and by 1954, was joined by the F-84F Thunderstreak variation, which was a straight-winged fighter. Also introduced was the RF-84F Thunderflash, which would serve as a photo reconnaissance aircraft.
During the Korean War, the Thunderjet flew over 86,400 missions and managed to demolish 60% of the intended ground targets during the war. This aircraft was also successful in destroying eight MiG fighters that had been built in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the aircraft also had its challenges. The hot summers experienced during the Korean War mandated the aircraft have at least 10,000 feet of runway in order to take off. Once airborne, all the jets that would take off and fly behind the lead aircraft had their visibility greatly hampered by the thick smoke the rockets on the aircraft would create.
NOTABLE FACTS ABOUT THE F-84
Landing and takeoff acceleration of this aircraft was higher than most – 160 miles per hour. Other aircraft were capable of landing and taking off at speeds around 120 miles per hour. A major advantage on this aircraft, however, was the minimal problems it encountered with crosswinds. Also, the design of the instruments on the F-84 made it easier to fly.
The F-84 Thunderjet aircraft would not only become the first fighter aircraft to refuel while in–flight but it was also the first aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons. In all, over 7,500 of the various models of the F-84 would come off the assembly line and utilized in at least 15 different countries.