Republic F-105 Thunderchief

Aircraft Profile
 

Key Facts

Main Role:
Tactical Fighter Bomber
Configuration:
Swept-winged jet
Country:
United States
Current Status:
Out of Service, Out of Production

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F-105G 63-8266
(photo, USAF)

Development

The F-105 Thunderchief or “Thud” was the first supersonic tactical fighter-Bomber to be developed as such from the outset. All other such aircraft were developments of fighter aircraft. The “Thud” was the largest single-seat fighter ever built. The F-105’s design role was nuclear strike; however, it was most famous for the part it played in the Vietnam War, using conventional weapons against the North Vietnamese.

In June 1950, the USAF asked Alexander Kartveli of the Republic Corporation to start design studies for a successor to the F-184F Thunderstreak. The primary role was to be nuclear strike with an air-to-air capability. Republic issued the initial contractor proposal to the USAF in April 1952. In October 1952 the USAF awarded Republic a contract for Pre-production engineering and tooling. The F-105 mock-up was ready by 27th October 1953. It was to be powered by the J-71 engine but that unit was deemed no to be powerful enough, so Republic decided to go for the Pratt & Whitney J-75 instead.

On 1st December 1954 the USAF issued a General Operational Requirement for the F-105, it called for a J-75 engined tactical strike aircraft with in-flight refuelling and an advanced fire control system.

Whilst the first YF-105A’s were being built, Republic heard of the problems suffered by Convair’s YF-102 in that they had mis-calculated its speed. (It could not fly supersonic in level flight). Convair engineers found that if the fuselage cross section was “waisted” it would reduce the drag. The first YF-105A was rolled out in the autumn of 1955, and the first flight was on 22nd October 1955.

The F-105B was the initial production version; it differed from the YF-105A in having swept forward air intakes, a larger vertical tail incorporating a ram-air duct in the base. The first YF-105B flew on 26th May 1956 and the first production F-105B flew on 14th May 1957. The F-105B had the MA-8 fire control system, which included an E-50 sighting system operating in conjunction with an E-34 radar ranging gunsight and an E-30 bomb computer.

On 11th December 1959, an F-105B, piloted by Brig. Gen. Joseph Moore, commander of the 4th TFW, set a new world speed record of 1216.48 mph over a 100 km closed circuit. In May 1963 the F-105B was chosen to replace the F-100C Super Sabres of the “Thunderbirds Flight Demonstration Team”, all nine were delivered by 16th April 1964.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?

Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
Model AP-63 Final ‘Advanced Project’ design configuration for YF-105 programme.
YF-105A First pair of prototype aircraft with J57 engine.
YF-150B Prototypes of initial production version with YJ75 engine.
F-105B Initial production version with revised engine air intake design.
RF-105B Projected photo-reconnaissance version of the F-105B. This contract was cancelled in July 1956 and the part-completed aircraft redesignated JF-105B.
JF-105B Redesignation of three RF-105B aircraft and one F-105B, used for experimentation and test.
F-105C Projected two-seat advanced trainer version of the F-105B. Cancelled.
F-105D Major production version. All-weather capability introduced with bigger nose housing NASARR R-14A radar.
F-105DT-Stick II F-105D with additional avionics equipment located in the fin tip. 30 aircraft modified.
RF-105D Projected photo-reconnaissance version of F-105D. Not built.
F-105E Either a two-seat combat-capable all-weather strike fighter or a two-seat trainer, depending on source. Cancelled May 1959.
F-105F Two-seat dual-control advanced trainer version of F-105D with full combat capability. Lengthened forward fuselage and enlarged fin and rudder.
EF-105F Temporary designation for F-105G.
F-105G Wild Weasel F-105F converted to anti-SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) role with specialist avionics to detect and jam SAM guidance systems. 86 aircraft converted.

History

Key Dates:
April 1952    Initial contractor proposal to the USAF issued by Republic.
October 1952    USAF awarded Republic a contract for pre-production engineering.
27th October 1953    F-105 mock-up inspected.
1st December 1954    USAF issued General Operational Requirement for the F-105 (GOR-49)
February 1955    USAF Authorised 15 test aircraft, these were to be two YF-105A’s, ten YF-105B’s and 3 RF-105B’s.
Autumn 1955    First YF-105A rolled out.
22nd October 1955    First flight of YF-105A.
26th May 1956    First flight of YF-105B.
14th May 1957    First production F-105B took off on maiden flight.
1958    Production of F-105B’s begun at Farmingdale.
27th May 1958    USAF officially accepted the first F-105B.
January 1959    The first unit was declared operational.
9th June 1959    First flight of F-105D.
16th June 1959    F-105B went into ANG service.
11th December 1959    Brig. Gen. Joseph Moore set a new world speed record of 1216.48 mph.
28th September 1960    First F-105D accepted by USAF.
May 1961    First European deployment to Bitburg, Germany.
June 1961    F-105D demonstrated its ability to carry seven tons of bombs.
May 1963    F-105B selected to replace the F-100C Super Sabres in the “Thunderbirds” team.
16th April 1964    Last F-105B delivered to the “Thunderbirds”.
1964    F-105D began replacing ‘B’ model.
1984    Last F-105D retired from US ANG service.
Two views of F-105G-RE 63-24428, Gate Guardian at RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire.
(photo, Allan Barley)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force May 1958-19??
U.S. Air National Guard June 1959-1984

Government Agencies

None

Civilian Operators

None

Specifications

Republic YF-105A Thunderchief
Crew: Pilot
Dimensions: Length 61 ft 5 in (18.71 m); Height 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m); Wing Span 34 ft 11 in (10.64 m); Wing Area 385 sq ft (35.76 sq m)
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney J57-P-25 turbojet, rated at 10,200 lb.s.t. (4,627 kg) dry and 15,000 lb.s.t. (6,804 kg) with afterburner.
Fuel: Fuel capacity was 850 US gallons (3,217 l) internal fuel. With full external fuel capacity, a total of 2500 US gallons (9,463 l) of fuel could be carried.
Weights: Empty Equipped 21,010 lb (9,530 kg); Normal Combat 28,966 lb (13,139 kg); Maximum Take-off 40,561 lb (18,398 kg)
Armament: Armed with one 20-mm M61 rotary cannon. Up to 8000 lbs (3,628 kg) of ordnance could be carried.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 857 mph (1379 kph) at 33,000 ft (10, 058 m), 778 mph (1252 kph) at sea level; Cruising speed 560 mph (901 kph); Stalling speed 185 mph (298 kph); Time to 30,000 ft (9,144 m) 17.6 minutes; Combat ceiling 49,950 ft (15,225 m); Normal range 1010 miles (1625 km); Maximum range 2,720 mls (4,377 km)
Republic F-105B Thunderchief
Crew: Pilot
Dimensions: Length 63 ft 1 in (19.22 m); Height 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m); Wing Span 34 ft 11 in (10.64 m); Wing Area 385 sq ft (35.76 sq m)
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-3/J75-P-5 turbojet, rated at 17,200 lb.s.t. (7,802 kg) dry and 23,500 lb.s.t. (10,659 kg) with afterburner.
Fuel: Fuel capacity was 900 US gallons (3,407 l) internal fuel. With full external fuel capacity, a total of 2510 US gallons (9,500 l) of fuel could be carried.
Weights: Empty Equipped 25,855 lb (11,728 kg); Normal Combat 34,870 lb (15,817 kg); Maximum Take-off 46,998 lb (21,318 kg)
Armament: Armed with one 20-mm M61A1 rotary cannon with 1028 rounds. Up to 8,000 lbs (3,628 kg) of ordinance could be carried in the internal weapons bay. In addition, a further 6000 lbs (2,721 kg) of ordinance could be carried on external weapons racks (four underneath the wings, one underneath the fuselage).
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1376 mph (2214 kph) at 36,000 ft (10, 973 m), 864 mph (1390 kph) at sea level; Cruising speed 585 mph (941 kph); Stalling speed 204 mph (328 kph); Time to 35,000 ft (10,668 m) 1 minute; Service ceiling 32,750 ft (9,982 m); Combat ceiling 48,100 ft (14,661 m); Combat range 744 miles (1197 km); Maximum range 2,228 mls (3,586 km)
Republic F-105D Thunderchief
Crew: Pilot
Dimensions: Length 64 ft 3 in (19.58 m); Height 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m); Wing Span 34 ft 11 in (10.64 m); Wing Area 385 sq ft (35.76 sq m)
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W turbojet, rated at 17,200 lb.s.t. (7,802 kg) dry and 26,500 lb.s.t. (12,020 kg) with afterburner.
Fuel: The internal weapons bay can accommodate a 390 US gallon (1476 l) auxiliary tank which supplements the normal internal fuel load of 1160 US gallons (4391 l). This fuel load can be further augmented by a 450 US gall (1703 l) or 650 US gall (2460 l) external tank on the fuselage centerline plus a 450 US gallon (1703 l) tank on each of the inboard underwing stores pylons.
Weights: Empty Equipped 27,500 lb (12,474 kg); Normal Combat 35,637 lb (16,165 kg); Gross 48,400 lb (21,954 kg); Maximum Take-off 52,546 lb (23,835 kg)
Armament: Armed with one 20-mm M61A1 rotary cannon with 1029 rounds. Up to 8,000 lbs (3,628 kg) of ordinance could be carried in the internal weapons bay. In addition, a further 6000 lbs (2721 kg) of ordinance could be carried on external weapons racks (four underneath the wings, one underneath the fuselage). Typical weapons load include 16 750-pound (340 kg) bombs, 9 LAU-3/A or LAU-18/A rocket pods, or four AIM-9B Sidewinder infrared homing missiles in the intercept role.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1420 mph (2285 kph) at 38,000 ft (11,582 m), 1372 mph (2208 kph) at 36,000 ft (10,973 m), 836 mph (1345 kph) at sea level; Cruising speed 778 mph (1252 kph); Stalling speed 208 mph (335 kph); Time to 34,500 ft (10,516 m) 1 minute; Service ceiling 32,100 ft (9,784 m); Combat ceiling 48,500 ft (14,783 m); Absolute ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Normal range 900 miles (1448 km); Combat range 778 miles (1252 km); Maximum range 2,208 mls (3,553 km)
Republic F-105F Thunderchief
Crew: Student pilot (front) and instructor pilot (rear)
Dimensions: Length 69 ft 7 in (21.21 m); Height 20 ft 2 in (6.15 m); Wing Span 34 ft 11 in (10.64 m); Wing Area 385 sq ft (35.76 sq m)
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W turbojet, rated at 17,200 lb.s.t. (7,802 kg) dry and 26,500 lb.s.t. (12,020 kg) with afterburner.
Fuel: Total internal fuel capacity was 1160 US gallons (4391 l) in seven tanks (including 25 US gallons (95 l) in the fuel lines). The internal weapons bay can accommodate a 390-US gallon (1476 l) fuel tank in place of the “special store”. The fuel load could be further augmented by two 450 US-gallon (1703 l) drop tanks on the inner underwing pylons and an additional 450 US gallon (1703 l) or 600 US gallon (2460 l) drop tank carried on a pylon underneath the fuselage, bringing total maximum fuel capacity to 3100 US gallons (11,734 l).
Weights: Loaded ‘clean’ 40,073 lb (18,178 kg); Maximum Take-off 54,027 lb (24,508 kg)
Armament: Armed with one 20-mm M61A1 rotary cannon with 1029 rounds. Up to 8,000 lbs (3,628 kg) of ordinance could be carried in the internal weapons bay. In addition, a further 6000 lbs (2,721 kg) of ordinance could be carried on external weapons racks (four underneath the wings, one underneath the fuselage). Typical weapons load include 16 750-pound (340 kg) bombs, 9 LAU-3/A or LAU-18/A rocket pods, or four AIM-9B Sidewinder infrared homing missiles in the intercept role.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1386 mph (2230 kph) at 38,000 ft (11,582 m), 876 mph (1410 kph) at sea level; Time to 34,500 ft (10,516 m) 1 minute at 39,350 lbs (17,850 kg); Combat radius 740 miles (1191 km) with 8 750 lb (340 kg) bombs

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Alexander Kartveli
Design Office: Republic Aviation Corporation, Farmingdale, New York

Manufacture

Republic Aviation Corporation
(Farmingdale, NY, USA. Later Fairchild-Republic)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YF-105A 2 Farmingdale, NY Feb 1955-Oct 1955
YF-105B 4 Farmingdale, NY Feb 1955-May 1956
RF-105B* 3 Farmingdale, NY Feb 1955-1956
F-105B** 71 Farmingdale, NY 1958-end 1959
F-105D 610 Farmingdale, NY 1960-1964
F-105F 143 Farmingdale, NY late 1963-1964
F-105G (conv) 86 rebuilds Farmingdale, NY 1966-1967
Total: 833    

Total Produced: 833 a/c

* Completed as JF-105B.
** One converted to JF-105B.

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘F-105 Thunderchief: Workhorse of The Vietnam War’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins
Published by McGraw Hill Publishing Co, 1 May 2000 ISBN: 0 07135 511 1
* Concise development and service history. ‘Aviation Week’ series.

‘Republic F-105 Thunderchief – Osprey Combat Aircraft Series’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David A. Anderton
Published by Osprey Publishing, 31 Nov 1983 ISBN: 0 85045 530 8
* Detailed examination of all versions and their operational use.

‘Republic F-105 Thunderchief – Warbird Tech 18’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Larry Davis and David Mennard
Published by Speciality Press, 18 Feb 1999 ISBN: 1 58007 011 6
* Well illustrated history with excerpts from official technical manuals.

‘F-105 Thunderchief Walk Around’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Ken Neubeck
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, Oct 2000 ISBN: 0 89747 418 X
* Close-up photos of F-105 external and internal details.

‘Thud – F-105 Thunderchief’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, 27 March 1986 ISBN: 0 89747 171 7
* Highly illustrated operational history of the F-105.

‘F-105 Thunderchiefs’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by W. Howard Plunkett
Published by McFarland & Company, 1 Sept 2000 ISBN: 0 78640 880 4
* Type history and summary histories of all 103 surviving F-105s now on display.

‘International Air Power Review Volume 6’
Published by AIRtime Publishing, Autumn/Fall 2002 ISBN: 1 880588 46 3 (PB)
* Includes 36 page detailed feature on the F-105.

‘The Republic F-105 Thunderchief: Wing and Squadron Histories’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by James Greer
Published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Oct 2002 ISBN: 0 764316 68 0
* Comprehensive history of all units that flew the F-105.

‘When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam’
by Ed Rasimus
Published by Smithsonian Books, February 2003 ISBN: 1 588341 03 8
* Extremely well written memoirs of an F-105 pilot in the Vietnam War.

‘100 Missions North: A Fighter Pilot’s Story of the Vietnam War’
by Brig. Gen. Ken Bell
Published by Brassey’s Inc, April 2003 ISBN: 1 574886 39 8 (PB)
* Highly recommended personal account of flying the F-105 over North Vietnam.

‘Pak Six: A True Story’
by Gene I. Basel
Published by Jove Books, June 1992 ISBN: 0 515090 05 0 (PB)
* Classic account of flying missions over North Vietnam in 1967 in the F-105D.

‘Thud Ridge’
by Colonel Jack Broughton
Published by Bantam Books, Dec 1990 ISBN: 0 553251 89 9
* Takes you into the cockpit of the F-105 during operations over Vietnam.

Magazines

Links

Thud Ridge Web
(F-105 Thunderchief units, honor roll, pics, MiG killers, articles, links etc)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Good profile of all major versions – no pics)

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Profile of the F-105)

Cold War Thuds
(The F-105 Thunderchief in Europe 1961-1968)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Short history and photos)

FAS: Republic F-105 “Thunderchief”
(Brief text, spec, photos)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief – The “Thud”
(Detial photos, markings, modelling tips etc)

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief – Air National Guard Service
(Pics for each ANG unit flying the F-105)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Comprehensive French-language profile with very good photos)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Official flight manuals for F-105 on CD-ROM)

Craig Baker’s F-105 Site

F-105 Close Up
(F-105 walkaround photos)

Wing’s Palette
(Several F-105 colour profiles)

Airliners.net
(2 pages of F-105 photos – mostly museum examples)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(German-language site with some nice photos)

F-105B on Lakebed
(Nice photo from NASA Dryden)

Republic F-105 Thunderchief
(Japanese site with interesting photos)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
‘The F-105 Thunderchief In Detail & Scale – Detail & Scale 8’
by Bert Kinzey
Published by Aero Publishers Inc, USA, 1983 ISBN: 0 85368 554 1
* Close-up photos, scale drawings and modelling information.

Videos:

To be added.

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One thought on “Republic F-105 Thunderchief

  1. I am looking for some good photo’s (in color) of the J-75 PW -19 Turbojet engine. Can you help?

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