Saturday, December 24, 2011


F-105 Thunderchief


F-105 Thunderchief

The F-105 is history's largest single seat, single engine combat aircraft.  It was developed in the early 1950s with its primary role that of delivering a large, tactical nuclear weapon.  The mission called for flying fast and low to the ground and characteristics making for an effective fighter aircraft were given secondary consideration.  The illustration is by Jerry Boucher.  


Crew:                    1

Power:                  1 - Pratt & Whitney 11,113 kg / 24,500 lb afterburning thrust 
                                    J75-P-19W turbojet

Max. Speed:        2237 kph / 1390 mph
Ceiling:                12,560 m / 41,200 ft
Range:                1480 km / 920 miles
Climb:                  10,485 m / 34,400 ft per minute

Weight -
Empty:                 12,474 kg / 27,500 lb
Max. Take Off:     23,967 kg / 52,838 lb

Size -
Wingspan:           10.59 m / 34 ft 9 in
Wing Area:          35.77 sq m / 385 sq ft
Length:                19.61 m / 64 ft 4 in
Height:                  5.97 m / 19 ft 7 in

                              1 - 20 mm / 0.78 in cannon
                               6359 kg / 14,000 lb of bombs or air to surface missiles


Bombing mission during Rolling Thunder

Nearly half of the 800 F-105s built were lost over Vietnam, most brought down by ground fire, 32 by SAMs and 22 were shot down by MiGs.  The Thud flew daily operations over North Vietnam during the three years of Rolling Thunder.  A typical mission payload would be eight 340 kg (750 lb) bombs secured to wing pylons.  

100 Missions

Thud pilots were required to fly 100 missions before rotating out of the Vietnam theater.  Well before that number was reached the odds of successfully completing a sortie were definitely working against them.  Two F-105 pilots received the Medal of Honor for action over North Vietnam.  

Ejection seat

A two seat version of the F-105 was used for SAM missile suppression, a role referred to as Wild Wiesel.  These aircraft were the first in and the last out and carried armament specifically designed to knock out radar and the launch sites for the dreaded SA-2 surface to air missile.  

Pratt & Whitney 375

Modifications to the F-105 added to its weight and increased its drag to the point where Mach 2 speeds were no longer attainable.  The power plant was never upgraded as the Air Force instead looked ahead to replacing the Thunderchief with more advanced aircraft.  

Refuel Probe

Despite the fact that the F-105's bomb bay was used for additional internal fuel storage and the jet also carried two large drop tanks on its wings most every mission routinely involved aerial refueling because of the Thud's rapid consumption of fuel.  It is no coincidence that the F-105's designer, Alexander Kartveli, also designed the very large World War II fighter, the P-47 Thunderbolt.  

Extended Nose Radome

Equipment providing advanced targeting capability required lengthening the nose beyond that of the original F-105.  Other additions included ECM or Electronic Counter Measure devices used to thwart the radar guidance of SA-2 missiles over North Vietnam.  




No comments:

Post a Comment