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  • Republic F-105 Thunderchief Single-Seat Fighter-Bomber / Reconnaissance / Wild Weasel

    The large Republic F-105 Thunderchief was the most technologically advanced aircraft of its type when introduced in the late-1950s.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The F-105 Thunderchief was a Cold War product of the Republic Aviation Corporation and became the company's last production aircraft before its merger with Fairchild. The platform was developed as a successor to the F-84 series (also a Republic product) and carried on the former's nuclear munitions capability. The F-105 featured an impressive internal weapons bay along with external hardpoints and played a pivotal role in the Vietnam War, operating as both strike fighter and air defense suppression platform ("Wild Weasel").

    Origins of the Thunderchief series lay in a 1951 Republic private venture initiative to replace existing Republic F-84F Thunderstreak/Thunderjet aircraft in the high-performance, supersonic tactical fighter-bomber role. In fact, design of the Thunderchief was already under way before the F-84 was even in service with the United States Air Force. Thunderchief The design was brought to the USAF and quickly made an impression thanks to its multi-role capabilities coupled with impressive performance potential. The prototype YF-105A was made ready and saw her first flight on October 22nd, 1955, featuring a massive airframe wrapped around an equally powerful Pratt & Whitney J57-P-25 turbojet engine of 15,000lb thrust. Only two of these prototypes were eventually built but quickly became the largest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft in aviation history . These prototypes were followed by four YF-105B models fitted with newer J75-P-3 engines of 16,470lb thrust and forward-swept engine inlets at the wing roots.

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    Republic F-105D Thunderchief Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1958
    Type: Single-Seat Fighter-Bomber / Reconnaissance / Wild Weasel
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Republic Aviation Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 833

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 64.24 feet (19.58 meters)
    Width: 34.94 feet (10.65 meters)
    Height: 19.59 feet (5.97 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 27,500 lb (12,474 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 52,838 lb (23,967 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W turbojet engine developing 24,500 lb of thrust with afterburning capability.

    Maximum Speed: 1,390 mph (2,237 kph; 1,208 knots)
    Maximum Range: 920 miles (1,480 km)
    Service Ceiling: 41,207 feet (12,560 meters; 7.80 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 34,400 feet-per-minute (10,485 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x M61 20mm internal cannon

    Internal bomb load capacity of up to 8,000lbs (3,629 kg) with an overall capacity of 12,000lbs (5,442 kg) of munitions (with the inclusion of the four external underwing hardpoints).

    Mission-specific armament could include AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, mine dispensers, air-to-surface missiles, anti-radiation air-to-surface missiles, 2.75" rocket pods, 450-gallon fuel tanks, nuclear-tipped weapons, conventional iron bombs, chaff and flare dispensers and electronics equipment.

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    YF-105A - Initial prototypes of which two produced; Pratt & Whitney J57-P-25 turbojet of 15,000lb thrust.

    YF-105B - Second prototype of which four produced; J75-P-3 powerplant of 16,470lb thrust; becoming F-105B production models.

    F-105B - First production rate model based on YF-105B prototypes; 75 examples produced as 10 pre-production and 65 production airframes.

    RF-105B - Intended F-105B-based photographic reconnaissance models; cancelled after three produced; these designated as JF-105B.

    JF-105B - Redesignation of three completed RF-105B reconnaissance models.

    F-105C - Planned Two-Seat Trainer; cancelled.

    F-105D - Definitive All-Weather Attack Variant; 610 examples produced.

    F-105E - Intended Two-Seat Models based on F-105D all-weather platform; cancelled with no production examples.

    F-105F - Final production designation; Two-seat dual-role trainer/fighter-bomber model; 1 x J75-P-19W engine of 24,500lb thrust; 143 examples produced.

    EF-105F - Initial Designation for Wild Weasel conversion; fitted with special radar detection equipment and anti-radar air-to-surface missiles; later becoming F-105G models; 55 examples converted.

    F-105G - Later designation of same EF-105F Wild Weasel Variant; 1 x J75-P-19W engine of 26,500lb thrust.