Former Ohio Air National Guard Thunderstreak on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force, July 2012.
Always in the shadow of its F-86 rival, the F-84F was the result of
Republic's efforts to improve the basic F-84 Thunderjet by grafting
swept wings and tail surfaces to the Thunderjet fuselage. The resulting
aircraft was at first designated as the YF-96A, and given the popular
name of Thunderstreak.
Development of the F-84F was to encounter some serious delays, and what
had started as an adaptation of an existing type turned into an
essentially new aircraft. Behind many of the problems was the use of
the new Wright J65 (the YF-96A had retained the Thunderjet's J35). The
J65 was twice as powerful as the J35, but in turn required greater
airflow, and delivering the required volume meant enlarging the
cross-section of the fuselage to allow a larger intake, and this
greatly reduced the structural commonality between the Thunderjet and
The Thunderstreak would have a short front-line life with the USAF,
being replaced by supersonic types such as the F-100 Super Sabre.
However, the type would have a lengthy tenure with the Air National
Guard, and indeed would be the last pre-"Century Series" fighter to be
actively employed in non-test use by the US. Guard units in Indiana,
Illinois, and Iowa were still flying Thunderstreaks in 1971, but by
early the following year the type had finally been retired. The
phase-out had actually been moved ahead slightly, following the
discovery of fleet-wide corrosion during inspections after the crash of
51-9371 in November 1971.
Of all the Republic fighters since the P-47, the Thunderstreak was
unique in not having seen combat in large numbers. The F-84F was a
victim of the program's early delays and the arrival of supersonic
fighters; basically a pre-Korea design, the Thunderstreak missed that
war, and was heading for retirement by the time of Vietnam. There were
some exceptions - in 1962 a pair of Iraqi IL-28 Beagle jet bombers were
downed by Turkish Thunderstreaks, and as late as 1974 Greek F-84Fs were
prepared for use against Turkey during the Cyprus Crisis. Greece would
be the final operator of the Thunderstreak, keeping a handful of the
elderly aircraft flying as trainers until 1991.
Articles and Photos:
Photo: "Republic F-84F" Aviation Week
March 12, 1956 p.82
"Air Force Makes 10% Cut In Republic F-84F Order" Aviation Week March 26, 1956 p.29
Photo: F-84F RATO launch Flight
8 June 1956 p.724
Photos (3): "F-84s for NATO" Aviation
Week December 31, 1956 p.56 Cocooned aircraft being transported
IPMS/USA Quarterly, Winter
1986. B&W profiles include RF-84Fs of the 107th TRS at
Selfridge, natural metal finish, RF-84K, RF-84F side & top view,
gray paint, RF-84F in Southeast Asia cam.
Photos (2): Greek RF-84Fs at the twilight of their careers World Air Power Journal Vol 8 /
Spring 1992 p.92
Photo: F-84F 52-6743 at the Hellenic Air Force
Museum. FlyPast January 1998 p.95
Photo: F-84F 52-6470 FlyPast February 1998 p.81
Photo: RF-84F FR32 FlyPast
April 1998 p.7
Photo: French F-84Fs in storage. Warbirds
International October 2000 p.33
Trevor Pask "Dutch Thunder" Model Aircraft November 2012 p.72-75 Building the Revell (ex Monogram) 1/48 F-84F kit as a Dutch aircraft.
Aircraft Anatomy" Edited by Paul E. Eden and Soph Moeng
p.50-51 cutaway drawing of an F-84F, plus a color photo of two
Thunderstreaks of the Ohio ANG's 164th TFS.
Lloyd S. Jones U.S. Fighters: Army-Air Force 1925 to 1980s Aero Publishers, 1975 p.219 scale 3-view plans for the F-84F
"Belgian Thunderstreak" Scale Modeler
May 1981 Building the Heller 1/72 scale kit as Belgian AF FU-52
includes a 3-view plan
Thomas Hollar "Armee de L-Air Thunderflash" Scale
Modeler October 1981 Building the Heller 1/48 scale RF-84F
kit in French markings.
Thunderstreak & Thunderflash Web Resources
A pretty much destroyed F-84F
used for firefighting
Air Force F-84F
model for Flight Simulator 2004
at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. This aircraft is one of
the Thunderstreaks that had been transferred from the ANG to the USN
for use as ground targets at China Lake