History and Development Edit
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was developed at the end of World War II as a jet engine fighter aircraft for the US Air Force, called P-84 (“P” for “Pursuit”). With the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system the P-84 was renamed to F-84 (“F” for “Fighter”). The first flight of the prototype was on 28th February 1946. It entered service in the year 1947 and until 1953 4,450 units were built.
The first F-84 variants had conventional wings, making them inferior to the Soviet Mikoyan MiG-15, which had swepted wings. Swepted wings allow the aircraft greater performance because of less air resistance. So that the F-84 wasn’t used as a fighter anymore, it was now used as a fighter-bomber, carrying bombs (including Napalm bombs) and unguided missiles. On 21st January 1951 the first north Korean MiG-15 was downed by a F-84, flown by the American pilot William E. Bertram. From 16th to 17th July 1952, 58 F-84 flew from the Turner Air Force Base in Georgia over the Pacific Ocean to the Yokota Air Force Base in Japan, to support the US troops in the Korea War.
The failure of the F-84 with conventional wings as a fighter aircraft, led to the development of a more enhanced derivative with swepted wings. This more advanced development of the F-84 was called F-84F Thunderstreak (even if the prototype was called YF-96). The on the F-84F based reconnaissance variant was called RF-84F Thunderflash.The F-84G was the first fighter-bomber of the United States, able to carry nuclear armament. In November 1951 the 20th Fighter-Bomber squadron received the first F-84G. In August 1953 many F-84G were based in Great Britain.
The F-84 was also sent to many allies, from 1957 450 F-84F fighter-bombers and 108 RF-84F reconnaissance aircraft were sent to the German Luftwaffe. In the middle of the 1960´s they were replaced by the F-104 Starfighter. The Hellenic Air Force operated until 1991 three RF-84F reconnaissance aircraft. The US Air Force replaced them in the 1960´s with the F-100 Super Sabre and sent them to the National Guard, which used them until the year 1971.