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F-105 Thunderchief

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The F-105 "Thunderchief" was a single-seat combat plane with a single Pratt & Whitney J75 engine (capable of generating 26,500 pounds of thrust).  It was the biggest plane of its kind in aviation history and another "workhorse" of the Vietnam War.

With a maximum speed of 831 mph, the Thunderchief carried lots of armament: 

  • One M6-1 20mm Vulcan cannon
  • 14,000 lbs. of ordnance (such as conventional bombs, rocket packs, missiles and special weapons which were carried internally or externally)

The Federation of American Scientists provides more information about this important aircraft:

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was the first supersonic tactical fighter-bomber developed from scratch. Apart from being the biggest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft in history, the F-105 was notable for its large internal bomb bay and unique swept-forward engine inlets in the wing roots. The wing was highly swept and incorporated low-speed ailerons and high-speed spoilers for lateral control, and a droop-snoot leading edge.

Known as "the Thud", this greatest of all single-engine combat jets bore a huge burden throughout the Vietnam War, and was a deadly and effective tactical fighter-bomber. A supersonic jet, the Thud is characterized by two unique systems: it is the only jet fighter to refuel from a side-fuselage boom, and was the first jet fighter to employ a Vulcan 20mm "Gatling Gun" cannon.

The D-model made more air strikes against North Vietnam than any other US aircraft, and also suffered more losses. During the war, the versatile Thud was also credited with 25 MiG kills.

The F-105 evolved from a project begun in 1951 by Republic Aviation at Farmingdale NY to develop a supersonic tactical fighter-bomber to replace the F-84F. The massive F-105 was intended primarily for nuclear strike missions. The prototype first flew on October 22, 1955, but the first production aircraft, an F-105B, was not delivered to the USAF until 1958.

Each F-105 Thunderbird cost $2,237,000.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Federation of American Scientists.

PD

 

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