F-105 Thunderchief in Action
The largest single-seat, single engine combat aircraft to enter production, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief was conceived as supersonic, low altitude fighter-bomber capable of delivering a nuclear payload. While thankfully never used as intended, the Thunderchief however did see extensive combat, as the F-105 carried the brunt of the US bombing campaign during the early part of the US involvement in Vietnam, completing over 20,000 sorties. While serviced and flown by brave and competent men, the extremely sophisticated Mach 2-capable F-105, or "Thud" as the type was nicknamed, was ill suited for repetitive missions in humid southeast Asia. Maintenance requirements exceeded 100 man-hours labor per flight hour. Further, combat losses rose to almost half of the total of 833-unit production, leading ultimately to the type being withdrawn from the theater. The development, production and deployment of the seven models of Thunderchief are chronicled in this 80-page volume through nearly 200 vintage photos, over half of which are in color. These photos are augmented with a dozen line drawings and eight color profiles.
By David Doyle