F-84F Thunderstreak

The F-84F Thunderstreak was the culmination of attempts by Republic to increase the speed capabilities of the straightwing Thunderjet by converting to a sweptwing configuration. The intial conversion and testing was accomplished with two test aircraft, the YF-96A serial number 49-2430 and the YF-84F serial number 51-1344. This program, which eventually resulted in a substantial amount of production F-84F aircraft, not unlike Thunderjet program, was accompanied by a mixture of, to use the old cliche', the "good news and the bad news." The good news was that significant speed increases were accomplished with the swept wing configuration. The bad news was that the intended advances in speed and capability required a larger engine, the larger engine required a larger fuselage, and the larger fuselage required money and time to develop. As though these requirements weren't sufficient, the new Thunderstreak suffered from design and mechanical problems as well as production delays brought about by development problems with the engine. Production was also delayed because the intended main wing spar was a forged part, but there was no available press for manufacturing the part; the spars had to be redesigned before production could continue. And again, production was delayed because aluminum was in short supply, and Republic had to wait their turn for aluminum. Further, the traditional elevator system installed was not sufficient for longitudinal control at high speeds; an interim "fix" accomplished by interconnecting the elevators and the stabilizer so they moved as a unit failed, and the "fix" was removed and the traditional two-piece horizontal tail was reinstalled. The eventual solution was to change to a flying tail, which started with -25 models. All these problems and the resulting delays put a heavy toll on Republic's finances, and the company was again on the verge of fincancial collapse.

The need for aircraft to maintain the effort in Korea led to the Air Force orders for the "interim" G-model Thunderjet because the F-model, being delayed, was not available. No doubt these orders kept Republic afloat during the delays. Nevertheless, although the delays in F-84F production would approach two years, the F-84F eventually became operational, but not without continuing woes due to engine problems. Even though the engines in later F-models were the upgraded J65-W-7 or J65-B-3 units, earlier F-models were not designed in a manner to allow them to be retrofitted, so the aircraft fitted with the earlier J65-W-1, -1A, and W3A engines were removed from service in 1957.

Thunderstreaks figured prominently in foreign use, with 852 examples serving in non-US capacities. F-84Fs also were used to carry nuclear devices, a follow-on to the program first undertaken by the Thunderjet. Thunderstreak service with the USAF ended in 1964; however, they soldiered on in ANG use until 1971, and they were used in Turkey until 1982, some thirty years after initial production started.

Identification Features:
Swept wings and tail, oval nose intake, "razor-back" canopy.


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F-84F USAF Museum photo by Fred Nickel
F-84F SN 57-1595. Photo courtesy of Bob Young.
F-84F SN 51-9364. Photo courtesy of Bob Young.



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F-84F-40-GK 51-9480 photo by Ted Theoe.
F-84F-66-RE 53-6810, Italian Air Force, SMA photo courtesy of Luca Orsini.
F-84F-66-RE 53-6813, Italian Air Force, SMA photo courtesy of Luca Orsini.



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F-84F FU-188, Belgian Air Force, photo by Guido Van Roy.
F-84F FU-154, Belgian Air Force, photo by Guido Van Roy.
Two USAF F-84Fs in flight, USAF photo via Joe Vincent.

Links to photos at other sites

March Field Museum F-84F Page -- 51-9432
USAF Museum F-84F -- Page about Display
USAF Museum F-84F -- Information Page
USAF Museum F-84F -- Photo
USAF Museum F-84F -- Photo
USAF Museum F-84F -- Photo
USAF Museum F-84F -- Photo
USAF Museum F-84F -- Photo
Bergman's Photo Links Netherlands -- F-84F Photo
James Bevis Photo, Mercer Field, Georgia -- F-84F Photo

Contents Copyright Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved
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