Affectionately called “Thud” by its crews the Thunderchief was the first supersonic tactical fighter-bomber developed from scratch rather then from an earlier design. Republic began designing the aircraft in 1952 but the program was cancelled at the end of the Korean War before being reinstated in 1954. The F-105 was selected in 1956 over the F-107 for production after a fly-off competition. The “D” model entered service in 1961. It introduced all weather capability and was the most widely used and produced version with 610 built. The F-105 served throughout the Vietnam War dropping thousands of tons of bombs on North Vietnamese targets. Thuds continued in U.S. Air Force service until the early 1980s when the last of them were retired from the Air National Guard.
355th Tactical Fighter Wing, 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, 1969
F-105D “Big Sal”
Pima Air & Space Museum