F-105B Thunderchief

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Manufacturer: Republic
Designation: F-105
Version: B
Nickname: Thunderchief
Type: Fighter
First Flew: 05/26/1956
Length: 63' 1" 19.23 M
Height: 19' 8" 5.99 M
Wingspan: 34' 11" 10.64 M
Gross Weight: 39998.0 lbs 18140.0 Kg
Max Weight: 40000.0lbs 18140.0 Kg
No. of Engines: 1
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney J75-P-3
Range: 2000 miles 3220.00 Km
Max Speed: 1254.00 Mph 2019.00 Km/H 1091.35 Kt
Ceiling: 50000.0 Ft 15239.0 M


As Republic Aviation's F-84 "Thunderjet" series of aircraft was reaching the
twilight of its operational career, the engineers at Republic were hard at work
on a new aircraft design. This aircraft was to be a single engine, fighter
bomber. Capable of delivering nuclear weapons from its bomb bay or its five
external weapons pylons.

The YF-105A first flew on the 22nd of October, 1955. The YF-105B followed on
the 26th of May, 1956. The "B" model became operational two years later in May
of 1958. Only 88 "B" model "Thunderchiefs" were built before introduction of the
"D" model (another source indicates that only 75 B models were produced). The
"C" model, a two seat instructional aircraft, was never introduced into
production. The F-105B flew as a fighter-bomber until final type phase out in

The F-105 Thunderchief was the heaviest US single seat, single engine fighter
ever built. The extreme weight earned it the unofficial nickname "Thud" or "The
Lead Sled". It was a very durable and rugged aircraft. A full load take off roll
was over 8000 feet. Pilots in Vietnam claimed that rocks could be put in the jet
air intakes and sand would come out the other end. The F-105 could carry all of
the weapons of the US inventory (including nuclear) during the Vietnam War era
and its bomb load was greater than that of a World War II B-17. It is no
surprise, then, that this aircraft type carried out more attack missions in
Vietnam than any other type of aircraft. Of the 137 enemy planes shot down
during the war, 29 were shot down by F-105's. The high usage took its toll,
however. Out of 833 aircraft built by Fairchild Republic, over 400 were lost in
Vietnam air-to-air combat and bombing missions.

The March Field Museum has two F-105's. This is a B model, serial number
57-5803. The main difference between models is internal avionics and weapons
capability. 57-5803 was also used as a prop for the movie "Firefox" with Clint Eastwood. Filming took place in 1981 at March AFB when the museum was located on base. Please see pictures below.


This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.


According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's F-105B has the following history:

F-105B, s/n 57-5803, was manufactured by Republic Aircraft, Farmingdale NY
and delivered to the USAF on 10 Sep 1959. Its assignments were:

Sep 1959  - Retained by manufacturer

Jun 1960  - To Wright Air Development Division (ARDC) Wright-Patterson AFB OH
(converted to JF-105B)

Mar 1961  - To Mobile Air Materiel Area AL (to F-105B)

Jul 1962  - To 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (TAC), Seymour Johnson AFB NC

Jun 1964  - To Mobile Air Materiel Area AL

Jun 1965  - To 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing (TAC), Nellis AFB NV

Oct 1967  - To 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TAC), McConnell AFB KS

Jun 1970  - To 177th Tactical Fighter Wing (ANG) Atlantic City AP NJ

Nov 1972  - To 945th Military Airlift Group (AFRES), Hill AFB

Jan 1973  - To 508th Tactical Fighter Group (AFRES), Hill AFB UT

Jan 1980  - To 466th Tactical Fighter Squadron (AFRES), Hill AFB UT

Nov 1980  - Dropped from inventory by transfer to museum or school