Republic F-105G Thunderchief

First delivered to the Tactical Air Command in 1958, the Thunderchief was designed as an all-weather long-range fighter/bomber capable of supersonic speed. The Museum’s Thunderchief is the final variant of the series, fitted with sophisticated electronics to enable it to perform “Wild Weasel” missions over North Vietnam. This aircraft served with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron based in Korat, Thailand. It came to the Museum in 1996. Thanks to a grant from Lockheed Martin, it was refinished in its original Vietnam War configuration and markings of USAF Lt. Col. Don Carson, who later served as a Communications Director for Martin-Marietta at Middle River. 

F-105G Thunderchief …..  Fast Facts  

 

  • The F-105 Thunderchief, built by Republic Aviation for the U.S. Air Force, was the first supersonic tactical fighter-bomber that was developed from scratch for this role.

  • The first production F-105B flew in 1957 and a total of 833 F-105s, of all variants, were built before production ended in 1964.

  • At the time it was the world’s heaviest single-seat jet at 50,000 lbs., with a full bomb load and external fuel tanks.  The F-105 was known under several nicknames such as “Super Hog”, “Ultra Hog” and “Lead Sled.”  But the aircraft is now best remembered as the “Thud.”

  • The F-105F was two-seat variant, carrying a pilot and an Electronic Warfare Officer.  The fuselage of the two-seaters was extended by 31 inches to fit the second seat. Many of the F models were converted to F-105Gs with the addition of greatly improved avionics. These two-seat “Wild Weasels” were used to attack enemy anti-aircraft missile and artillery sites.

  • Although designed for a nuclear strike role, the Thunderchief gained distinction for the role it played in the Vietnam War delivering conventional ordinance on targets in the North. This aircraft carried out 75% of the strikes against North Vietnam from 1965 to 1969.

  • Because almost all of its missions were in the heavily defended airspace over North Vietnam, the Thunderchief suffered very high losses. Of the 833 F-105s built, a combined 395 F-105s were lost in Southeast Asia, including 334 (296 F-105Ds and 38 two-seaters) lost to enemy action and 61 lost in operational accidents.

  • After the war, most F-105s were transferred to Air Force Reserve (AFRES) units. The last flight of the F-105 Thunderchief was by the AFRES 466th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 25 February 1984.

  • The museum’s F-105G, built as an F-105F,.first served with the 41st Air Division of the Pacific Air Forces based in Yokota, Japan, where it was on nuclear alert. In 1967, it was converted for night, bad weather, regular bombing, and Wild Weasel missions, and in 1968 was assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying from Korat, Thailand. It returned to the U.S. in 1969 and converted to the G model.  It then served as a trainer, ending its career with the Georgia Air National Guard in 1983.  Don Carson, whose name is on the plane, flew it while it was in Yokota and Korat.

  • The fuselage was delivered from the  Aberdeen Proving Ground by flatbed truck in late 1995.  The tail was delivered by Chinook helicopter in June 1996.. The restoration was made possible by a grant from the Lockheed Martin Corporation.