Combat Air Museum banner
Combat Air Museum "Wing"
Republic F-105D Thunderchief
Republic F-105D-30-RE Thunderchief
Return button

In response to a US Air Force (USAF) request in June 1950, Republic Aviation Corporation initiated design studies be for an all-weather supersonic tactical fighter-bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Republic submitted a design to the USAF in late 1952 and an initial order was made for the YF-105A by March 1953. The new design was named Thunderchief. It was in competition with North American Aviation’s YF-107A

The YF-105A first flew October 30, 1955 and easily broke the sound barrier on its maiden flight. It reached a speed of Mach 1.2 even though it was using a less powerful engine than the planned power plant, and the fuselage had not been designed with the Area Rule (coke bottle shape) principles. The Thunderchief was the largest and heaviest single-seat, single-engine fighter ever built up to that time.

The first production aircraft, the F-105B, did not reach the USAF until 1958. Other F-105 production series included the D, F, and G. The definitive version was the F-105D, with 610 built out of a total of 833 of all versions. The Thunderchief could fly at Mach 2.1 and had an internal bomb bay for nuclear weapons. It could also carry bombs and/or missiles externally, and it was this bomb carrying capacity that sent the Thunderchief to war.

F-105D’s flew their first combat mission on March 1, 1965 from Da Nang, South Vietnam against targets in North Vietnam. F-105s accumulated over 20,000 missions in Southeast Asia and carried out 75 percent of the strikes against North Vietnam. F-105 losses totaled 397 with over 350 shot down, 274 over North Vietnam. The F-105 earned the nickname “Thud” during the Vietnam War.

The F-105D on exhibit was built in Farmingdale, New York and delivered to the USAF June 21, 1963. It served in the USAF and USAF Reserve for nearly 21 years. Its first eight years of service were overseas in the Far East. Surprisingly, our records show this aircraft never served in Southeast Asia. It made its last flight in January 1984 to McGee Tyson Municipal Airport, Knoxville, Tennessee. It was placed on exhibit at the I.G. Brown Professional Military Educational Center in Knoxville, Tennessee Air National Guard. Members of the 192 Tactical Fighter Group, Virginia Air National Guard painted the F-105 in its current markings in June 1988.

The aircraft became available to Combat Air Museum in August 1991. A year later, Museum volunteers went to Knoxville to disassemble the aircraft for transportation. The US Army’s 172nd Transportation Company transported the F-105 to Topeka over two trips. Volunteers reassembled the fighter February - April 1993. Is this F-105D Old Crow II? Answer: No. Over the years a number of F-105 fans have asked if this aircraft is Old Crow II flown by World war II triple ace Colonel Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson during the Vietnam War. It is not. We wrote Colonel Anderson in May 2000 with this question, and he kindly responded with a telephone call. Old Crow II was F-105D s/n 60-5375. Our F-105D is s/n 62-4375. The former aircraft crashed after a mid-air collision near Wichita Falls, Texas in February 1974.

This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the Untied States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio


October 1963
8th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Itazuke Air Base (AB), (Fukoka) Japan
May 1964
41st Air Division Headquarters, PACAF, Yokota Air Base AB, Japan
April 1965
6441st TFW, PACAF, Yokota AB, Japan
January 1967
18th TFW, PACAF, Kadena AB, (Naha, Okinawa) Japan (several deployments to Osan AB and Kwangju AB South Korea)
June 1971
23rd TFW, Tactical Air Command, McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), (Wichita) Kansas
July 1972
507th Tactical Fighter Group, US Air Force Reserves (USAFRES), Tinker AFB, (Midwest City) Oklahoma
September 1977
465th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS), USAFRES, Tinker AFB
November 1980
466th TFS, USAFRES, Hill AFB, (Ogden) Utah
January 1984
I.G. Brown Professional Military Educational Center, McGee-Tyson Airport, Tennessee Air Air National Guard, Knoxville, Tennessee
August 1992
Combat Air Museum
Republic Aviation Company
Basic Role:
Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W turbojet, 17,200lb (7,802kg) static thrust; 26,500 lb (12.020kg)
afterburner thrust
One 7,220 lb. (3,275kg) static thrust Curtiss-Wright/ Buick J-65-W-3 turbojet (license-built British Sapphire)
Maximum speed (sea level):
836 mph (1,345km/hr) at 38,000 ft (11,582m); 1,420 mph (2,285km/hr)
Cruising speed:
778 mph (1,252km/hr)
Range (combat radius):
860 miles (1,384km)
Max Range:
2,208 (3,553km)
Combat Range:
778 miles (1,252km)
Service Ceiling:
32,100 ft (9,784m)
Combat Ceiling:
48,500 ft (14,783m)
34 ft 11 in (10.6m)
64 ft 3 in (19.6m)
19 ft 8 in (6m)
Wing Area:
385 sq ft (35.8sq m)
Weight (empty):
27,500 lb (12,474kg) Combat: 35,637 lb (16,165kg)
Max Weight:
52,546 lb (28,835kg)
One 20mm cannon; 14,000 lb (6,350kg) of bombs, rockets or four missiles
Serial number:
USAF 62-4375
Republic F-105 Thunderchief
Return button
Copyright © 2008-2018 Combat Air Museum