|Two-seat F-105G Wild Weasel, with a 650 US gallon (2,500 L) centerline fuel tank and AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles.|
|Manufacturer||Republic Aviation Company|
|Designed by||Alexander Kartveli|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Unit cost||US$2.14 million in 1960|
The Republic F-105 Thunderchief, commonly known as the "Thud" by its crews, was a single-seat supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. The Mach-2 capable F-105 bore the brunt of strike bombing missions and air combat over North Vietnam early during the Vietnam War, and later specialized in the SEAD role suppressing missile sites.
The F-105 was armed with missiles and a cannon, but its design was tailored to high-speed low-altitude penetration carrying a single nuclear bomb internally. First flown in 1955, the Thunderchief entered service in 1958. As the largest single-engined fighter ever employed by the USAF, the single-seat F-105 would be adapted to deliver a greater iron bomb load than the four-engined ten-man strategic bombers of World War II, but at supersonic speeds. The F-105 would be best remembered as the primary strike bomber used over North Vietnam in the early stages of the Vietnam War. F-105 pilots would also be among the first Americans to encounter MiGs over North Vietnam in air combat. After flying over 20,000 missions, 397 F-105s were lost, of which 63 were operational casualties.
During the war, the two-seat F-105F and F-105G Wild Weasel variants became the first dedicated Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) platforms fighting against the Soviet-built S-75 Dvina (SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missiles. Two Wild Weasel pilots earned the Medal of Honor attacking missile sites, with one shooting down two MiG-17s the same day. The dangerous missions often required them to be the "first in, last out" in order to suppress the threat air defenses prior to strike aircraft arriving and keeping them suppressed until the strike aircraft left the area.
Although the F-105 weighed 50,000 pounds (22,680 kg), the aircraft could exceed the speed of sound at sea level and Mach 2 at high altitude. It could carry up to 14,000 pounds (6,700 kg) of bombs and missiles, in addition to an internal 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon. The Thunderchief was later escorted and eventually replaced as a strike aircraft over North Vietnam by the F-4 Phantom II when losses depleted the inventory. However, the "Wild Weasel" variants remained in service until 1984, when they were replaced by a specialized F-4G "Wild Weasel V".
- 1 Design and development
- 2 Operational history
- 3 Air combat
- 4 Replacement and legacy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Obsolescence
- 7 Variants
- 8 Operators
- 9 Specifications (F-105D)
- 10 References
- 11 External links
- 12 Related content
Design and development
The F-105 was the latest of a line of Republic fighters, including the P-47 Thunderbolt and F-84 Thunderjet. Republic Aviation started the Thunderchief an an internal projectto replace the F-84F Thunderflash. Team led by Alexander Kartveli examined some 108 configurations before settling on a large single-engine AP-63FBX (Advanced Project 63 Fighter Bomber, Experimental). The new aircraft was intended primarily for supersonic low altitude penetration into the Soviet Union on a hi-lo-hi mission and delivery of a single internally carried nuclear bomb. Thus, with emphasis placed on low-altitude speed and flight characteristics, range and payload, the aircraft would be fitted with a large engine, and a relatively small wing with a high wing loading which would gave a stable ride at low altitudes, and less drag at supersonic speeds.
Traditional fighter attributes such as maneuverability were a secondary consideration. Enthusiastic at first, the United States Air Force awarded Republic with a contract for 199 aircraft in September 1952. However, by March 1953 the USAF had reduced the order to 37 fighter-bombers and 9 tactical reconnaissance aircraft, citing the approaching end of the Korean War. By the time the F-105 mock-up had been completed in October 1953, the aircraft had grown so large that the Allison J71 turbojet intended for it was abandoned in favor of an even more powerful Pratt & Whitney J75. Anticipating protracted development of the engine, it was expected that the first aircraft would use the smaller Pratt & Whitney J57. On 28 June 1954, the USAF officially ordered 15 F-105As under the Weapon System designation WS-306.
The YF-105A prototype first flew on 22 October 1955, with the second YF-105A following on 28 January 1956. In spite of being powered by a less potent J57-P-25 engine with 15,000 pound-force (66.7 kN) of afterburning thrust (the J75 was expected to generate 24,500 pound-force (109.0 kN) with the afterburner), the first prototype attained the speed of Mach 1.2 on its maiden flight. Both prototypes featured conventional wing root air intakes and slab-sided fuselages typical of the early jets. However, insufficient power and aerodynamic problems with transonic drag, as well as Convair's experience with their F-102 Delta Dagger, led to a redesign of the fuselage in order to conform to the Area rule, giving it a characteristic "wasp waist". In combination with the distinctive forward-swept variable-geometry air intakes which regulated airflow to the engine at supersonic speeds and the J75 engine, this enabled the resulting F-105B to attain Mach 2.15.
In March 1956, the USAF replaced its F-105A order with that for 65 F-105B. The first pre-production YF-105B flew on 26 May 1956, and on June 19 the aircraft was officially named Thunderchief, continuing the Republic Aviation's nomenclature sequence of P-47 Thunderbolt, F-84 Thunderjet, and F-84F Thunderstreak/RF-84 Thunderflash. The first production F-105B flew on 14 May 1957.
The F-105 was a mid-wing monoplane with a 45 degree swept wing and tail surfaces. The single engine was fed by two intakes in the wing roots, leaving the nose free for a radome housing the multi-mode radar. At the time, the F-105 was the largest single-seat combat aircraft ever built. Its capacious fuselage provided room for 1,160 US gallons (4,460 L) of fuel and a bomb bay measuring 15 feet 10 inches by 32 inches by 32 inches (4.82 m x 0.81 m x 0.81 m), originally intended for a single nuclear weapon but typically containing an additional 390 US gallon (1,500 L) fuel tank. Two underwing and one fuselage wet-stores-capable pylons were provided for 450 and 650 US gallon (1,730 L and 2,500 L) expendable fuel tanks. Two outboard (dry) stations were wired for missiles or bombs. A single T-171E3 20 millimeter Gatling cannon was installed in the left side of the nose with a magazine for 1,028 rounds of ammunition., and the aircraft was designed to carry the short-range Sidewinder, but the aircraft would not be equipped with the radar guided missles fitted to dedicated interceptors like the F-106.
On 11 December 1959, an F-105B piloted by Brig. Gen. Joseph Moore (commander of the 4th TFW) set a world record of 1,216.48 mph (1,958.53 km/h) over a 100 kilometer (62 mi) circuit. Moore received the Bendix Trophy in 1959 for this feat.
A total of 833 F-105s were produced before production ended in 1964.
The F-105B entered USAF service with the Tactical Air Command's 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 27 May 1958. Typical of advanced aircraft, early F-105 service life was plagued by problems with avionics and the MA-8 fire-control system, with the aircraft requiring some 150 hours of maintenance for each hour of flying time. Most of the problems were addressed under Project Optimize. The lack of spares resulted in the entire F-105B fleet being briefly grounded in 1960. Nevertheless, the Thunderchief became the first aircraft in USAF history to complete its first operational year without a single major accident.
By 1964, the F-105B was relegated to Air National Guard squadrons. It was replaced in frontline service by the definitive F-105D whose advanced NASARR R-14A radar and AN/ASG-19 Thunderstick fire-control system gave it all-weather performance. The R-14A radar also added a terrain guidance capability. The F-105D entered service with 335th TFS in 1960. Designed for a European conflict with the Soviet Union, the F-105D saw considerable deployment in West Germany to provide NATO with tactical nuclear strike capability, and in Japan. Like the F-105B, the F-105D's early career was plagued with maintenance problems and in-flight failures. The origins of the nickname Thud were far from complimentary — it stood for the sound of an F-105 crashing into the ground. The entire F-105D fleet was grounded in December 1961 and then again in June 1962. Many of the issues were worked out during the production run and by 1964, early F-105Ds were upgraded with these fixes under project Look Alike, although engine failures and fuel system problems persisted until 1967.
Meanwhile, the USAF was gradually changing the anticipated F-105 mission from nuclear interdiction to conventional bombing. The Look Alike upgrades increased the aircraft's capacity from four to sixteen conventional 750 pound (340 kg) bombs on underwing and fuselage centerline hardpoints and added the equipment to launch AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-ground missiles. In June 1961, an F-105D delivered 7 tons (15,430 lb) of conventional bombs during a USAF test — at the time a record for a single-engine airplane and a heavier payload than World War II's four-engined heavy bombers such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator. In fact, one of the F-105Ds was named Memphis Belle II after the famed World War II B-17.
In spite of a troubled early service life, the F-105 became the dominant attack aircraft during the Vietnam War. The F-105 could carry twice the bomb load further and faster than the F-100, which was used mostly in South Vietnam. In a foreshadowing of its Wild Weasel role, the first F-105D combat mission of the war involved an attack of an anti-aircraft artillery site on Plaine des Jarres. The first Thunderchief of the war was also lost in this mission (the pilot managed to eject safely). The first strike mission took place on 13 January 1965 with the destruction of the Ben Ken bridge in Laos. Following the start of Operation Rolling Thunder on 1 March 1965, a large number of F-105Ds were deployed in Royal Thai Air Force Bases at Khorat and Takhli. On 2 August 1967, F-105Ds from 335th and 338th Tactical Fighter Squadrons made the first of many successful raids on the Paul Doumer bridge. While the planes were first deployed with their original natural metal finish, they soon adopted the distinctive 2-green and tan Vietnam camouflage scheme which blended into the jungle landscape.
On a typical combat mission into North Vietnam, the F-105D carried two 450 US gallon wing-mounted fuel tanks, a 390 US gallon fuel tank in the bomb bay, and five 1,000 pound (454 kg) or six 750 pound (340 kg) bombs, and required inflight refueling both going to and sometime returning from Hanoi 700 miles (1,125 km) distant. Thunderchiefs made a loop north of Hanoi over the valley of Thud Ridge, at a high speed and low altitude in order to avoid the heavily defended airspace around the city. Although the ridge would have provided proper shielding from the North Vietnamese radars and SAMs, the installment of anti-aircraft artillery and a MiG fighter airfield at the southern end of the valley prevented the F-105s from fully exploiting the benefit of cover. The valley received the name, "Thud Ridge," for its prominent role of covering the F-105s in their missions.
Air combat was a different matter. The F-105 was designed primarily for low-level interdiction and its unequalled low altitude speed was its greatest asset when dealing with small and agile Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighters. The Thunderchief's highly loaded wing was excellent for speed and smooth ride but not for sustained turns in a dogfight. Nevertheless, the F-105 managed 27.5 air-to-air victories against North Vietnamese aircraft at the cost of 17 aircraft lost to enemy fighters (North Vietnamese pilots claimed to have shot down an additional 23 F-105s but none have been confirmed by USAF). All victories were against MiG-17s -- 24.5 were shot down with cannon fire (one victory was shared with an F-4), and three with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. More maneuverable F-4 Phantoms would be employed to escort strike aircraft and become the primary air superiority platform of both the USAF and Navy.
On the basis of combat experience, the F-105D was updated with a better ejection seat, radar homing and warning (RHAW) antenna on the tail fin, additional armor, and protection to the hydraulic system which proved to be very vulnerable to combat damage. The hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia created problems for the capricious electronics, a problem encountered by virtually all advanced US aircraft of the war. High ambient temperatures also exacerbated the F-105's propensity for engine fires due to inadequate cooling of the afterburner. Most of the Vietnam aircraft were eventually fitted with ram-air scoops to ameliorate this problem.
Unfortunately, the low-altitude attacks and dive bombing brought the F-105s into the range of North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire and the loss rates were so high that the USAF began experiencing shortages of combat-ready aircraft. A total of 382 aircraft were lost in Southeast Asia, 320 of those in combat. The vast majority of losses were the result of enemy ground fire. Of the 610 single-seat F-105Ds built, 283 were shot down and 52 lost operationally. Of the 143 F-105F/G two-seaters, 37 were shot down and ten lost operationally (one "Ryan's Raiders" night interdiction aircraft and one Combat Martin jammer without a back-seat WSO were lost in combat, the other 45 losses were Wild Weasel aircraft).
The rear cockpits of several two-seat F-105Fs were modified under project Commando Nail with an R-14A radar and a radar scope that offered high resolution. These aircraft were used for all-weather and night low-level strikes against especially dangerous targets by a unit from the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron dubbed "Ryan's Raiders" starting in April 1967. Commando Nail aircraft were also used to develop tactics for proposed B-58 Hustler bomber missions in Vietnam, although the Hustler was never deployed to Southeast Asia. Some of these aircraft were later converted to the Wild Weasel III standard.
In an effort to thwart MiG attacks, several F-105Fs were also fitted with Hallicrafters QRC-128 VHF jammers under project Combat Martin. The North Vietnamese interceptor force followed Soviet air-defense doctrine, with pilots under rigid direction of ground controllers over radio links. The QRC-128, nicknamed "Colonel Computer," filled up the rear cockpit of the F-105F and bounced voice communications over the radio channel back out after a delay, resulting in an obnoxious garble. However, the first time the Combat Martin was used, the US National Security Agency, in charge of US strategic signals intelligence, ordered the Air Force to cease and desist immediately, since the NSA believed that the intelligence obtained by monitoring the channels outweighed the benefits of jamming them.  Some of these aircraft were eventually brought to the Wild Weasel III standard.
Persistent problems with the AN/ARN-85 LORAN system resulted in 30 F-105Ds being upgraded to the AN/ARN-92 in a long dorsal spine. Known as Thunderstick II aircraft, these F-105s could achieve a bombing circular error probable of 50 feet (15 m) from an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,570 m). Although the first of these aircraft flew in 1969, they were never deployed to Vietnam.
In 1965, the USAF began operating two-seat F-100F Super Sabres specially equipped for Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses mission in Vietnam. Nicknamed the Wild Weasel, these aircraft achieved 9 confirmed victories against North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile radars. The second crew member was an Electronic Warfare Officer, nicknamed the Bear, whose job was to decipher the information from the aircraft's sensors and guide the pilot towards the targets. However, the F-100F was an interim solution and because of its limited payload it usually had to rely on accompanying strike aircraft to actually attack the SAM sites. It also lacked the speed and the endurance to effectively protect the USAF's primary strike fighter — the F-105. With twice the payload capacity of the Super Sabre and considerably better performance, the two-seat F-105F was an ideal candidate for a more definitive SEAD platform.
The resulting EF-105F Wild Weasel III (the EF designation was popularly used but unofficial) supplemented its sensors and electronic jamming equipment with AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles and conventional bombs, giving it an offensive capability lacking in the F-100F. The first of these aircraft flew on 15 January 1966 and they began arriving in Southeast Asia in June, with five assigned to the 13th TFS at Korat and 6 more to the 354th TFS at Takhli. In a typical early mission, a single EF-105F would accompany one or two flights of F-105Ds to provide protection from enemy ground fire. While this strategy was effective in reducing F-105D losses, the Weasel aircraft suffered heavy casualties with five of the first 11 lost in July and August 1965. Attacks into high-risk environments saw the Weasels operating in "Iron Hand" Hunter-Killer flights of mixed single-seat and two-seat Thunderchiefs, suppressing sites during attacks by the strike force and attacking others during ingress and egress.
The EF-105Fs were upgraded to the definitive Wild Weasel Thunderchief, the F-105G, with the first aircraft arriving in Southeast Asia in late 1967. The genesis of the F-105G was a PACAF policy that all USAF fighter-bombers operating over North Vietnam had to carry ECM pods, which served to degrade the Weasel's own electronics and occupied one ordnance wing hardpoint.
The F-105G incorporated a considerable amount of new SEAD-specific avionics, including an upgraded RHAW system which required a redesign of the wingtips. To free outboard hardpoints for additional weapons, the Westinghouse AN/ALQ-105 electronic countermeasures were permanently installed in two long blisters on the underside of the fuselage. Thirty aircraft were fitted with specially designed pylons to permit carrying of the AGM-78 Standard anti-radiation missile, a considerable improvement over the somewhat lackluster Shrike. On a typical mission, the F-105G carried two Shrikes on outboard pylons, a single Standard on an inboard pylon balanced by a 450 US gallon fuel tank on the other side, and a 650 US gallon centerline fuel tank. The Wild Weasel aircraft were usually the first to arrive in the target area and the last to leave, staying after the strike to support rescue of downed aircrews. As such, fuel was a precious commodity and it was not uncommon for a Wild Weasel to require a 30-minute leave for aerial refueling in order to continue its mission.
Although the F-105D was withdrawn from Vietnam in 1970, the Wild Weasel aircraft soldiered on until the end of the war. They were gradually replaced by the F-4G Wild Weasel IV variant of the Phantom II.
Replacement and legacy
In the early 1960s, the Air Force adopted the Navy's Phantom. The F-4, which would never be called "sleek", was aerodynamically and aesthetically quite different from the F-105. However, it was similar in size, speed and capability. The slightly newer plane had evolved from an attack bomber into a massive interceptor carrying 4 medium range Sparrow and 4 short range Sidewinder missles and a 2 man crew. The F-4C had a larger wing and powerful J79 engines which made it more maneuverable against MiGs than the Thud, which had managed only a slightly better than even kill ratio. The Phantom was first tasked to protect F-105 strikes against MiG fighters. In Operation Bolo, Phantoms duplicated F-105 flight profiles to lure MiGs into thinking they were vulnerable F-105s. F-105 production would end in favor of the Phantom, which also had the payload capability to take over the strike role as well. After flying over 20,000 combat missions the F-105 was withdrawn from the theater by November 1970.
The F-105's mission was also taken over by the controversial General Dynamics F-111. Started as the TFX, the ambitious project failed in its goal to produce a versatile plane for all missions and services, but its USAF specification for an all-weather low level penetrator was essentially an F-105 follow-on. The F-111 would also have an internal weapons bay, but would incorporate more electronics for low flying at night, longer range and double the payload. It would be flown on missions into Hanoi and Haiphong before the end of the Vietnam war. The F-15E Strike Eagle carries this mission into the current force structure. Significantly, the basic characteristics of the planned F-35 Lightning II returns to the configuration of a single seat fighter with a massive engine and internal weapons bays.
Republic fighters had historically made their mark as rugged fighters bombers, often overshadowed by air superiority fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre, and the F-105 would not be an exception. Though often dismissed as a plane not designed for dogfighting, the F-105 would be the first USAF jet to use the M61 Vulcan in air combat. Its success would lead to the inclusion of the 20mm cannon in every subsequent fighter, starting with the definitive USAF F-4E variant. The Thud's kill ratio wasn't impressive, but its primary mission was as a bomber, not air superiority, and it was certainly a better match than the Korean-era F-84 Thunderjet compared to the MiG-15.
Versatility as an inteceptor would make the Phantom the primary air superiority fighter and fighter-bomber of both the Navy and Air Force until the 1970s. But the Phantom would be replaced by a new series of fighters which trace their design roots back to the first experience of air combat gained by F-105 pilots. The drastic change in American strategy over the skies of North Vietnam set the pattern for a force structure still in place that dominated the skies over Iraq and Kuwait. Republic would not build another fighter until the subsonic A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, still in service today.
The story of Thud pilots going downtown against not only the enemy on the ground, but a command structure they often did not agree with, would be documented in books such as Thud Ridge.
Just as aircraft fins influenced auto styling in the 1950s, the distinctive coke-bottle area-ruled fuselage shape of aircraft such as the F-105 would also influence automobile styling as cars including the Dodge Charger adopted wasp-waisted body styling by the late 1960s.
Medal of Honor recipients
Two Wild Weasel pilots received the Medal of Honor:
- USAF Captain Merlyn H. Dethlefsen was awarded the Medal of Honor and Capt Kevin "Mike" Gilroy the Air Force Cross for an F-105F Wild Weasel mission on 10 March 1967, flying F-105F 63-8352. After their aircraft was damaged by ground fire, Dethlefsen and Gilroy elected to stay in the skies above the steel works at Thai Nguyen until the SAM site was found and destroyed.
- USAF Captain Leo K. Thorsness was awarded the Medal of Honor and Capt Harold Johnson the Air Force Cross for an F-105F Wild Weasel mission on 19 April 1967, flying F-105F 63-8301. Thorsness and Johnson protected an attempted rescue of another Wild Weasel crew that was shut down, in the process destroying a MiG-17. After running out of ammunition, Thorsness and Johnson continued to act as decoys to draw the MiGs away from the rescue aircraft.
Flying the F-105
The initial reaction of the fighter pilot community to their new aircraft was lukewarm. Between its massive dimensions and troubled early service life, the F-105 had garnered a number of uncomplimentary nicknames. In addition to the aforementioned "Thud", F-105's nicknames included the "Squat Bomber," "Lead Sled," and the "Hyper Hog." With time, however, the F-105's responsive controls, excellent performance at high speed and low altitude, and sophisticated electronics won over even some of the F-104 Starfighter pilots. The "Thud" changed to a term of respect and endearment to the point where the F-84F Thunderflash became known as the "Thud's Mother."
Former F-86 Sabre pilot Jerry Noel Hoblit recalled the awe of the F-105's size after seeing it in person for the first time; he could not manage to reach the air intake lip even with a running jump. The F-105 had a spacious cockpit with a good layout (particularly after introduction of "tape" instruments) and visibility (except to the rear), and the advanced electronics were easy to learn and operate. With high wing loading, the Thunderchief was by all accounts an excellent aircraft to fly at high speeds. Takeoffs and landings were often performed in the 230 mph (370 km/h) range. The spoilers provided good roll control at all speeds and the distinctive four-petal airbrakes (which also opened slightly when the afterburner was engaged to allow for the larger flow of exhaust gases) were highly effective even at supersonic speeds. Loss of control due to a spin or complications of adverse yaw required deliberate effort from the pilot and spontaneous spin recovery was rapid.
|Unit R&D cost||2,716 prorated per aircraft|
|Flyaway cost||5,649,543||2.14 million||2.2 million|
|Modification costs by 1973||261,793||282,687||701,645 plus 1,803 for F-105G conversion|
|Cost per flying hour||1,020||1,020|
|Maintenance cost per flying hour||718||809||808|
The Thunderchief was rapidly withdrawn from USAF service after the end of the Vietnam War. Only 833 F-105 Thunderchiefs had been built; and having lost nearly 50% of that production figure in Vietnam, the F-105 was by military standards, nearly, no longer combat effective. Some aircraft remained in service with Air National Guard units, but their extended wartime service meant that many F-105s had already reached or exceeded their service lives by the mid-1970s. The Thunderchief was officially retired on 25 February 1984.
In 1964, specially modified F-105Bs with ballast replacing the Vulcan cannon, a number of fuselage and wing reinforcements for aerobatics, and the addition of a smoke generator, briefly flew with the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team. After only six shows, a fatal accident from overstressing the airframe forced a switch back to the F-100 Super Sabre. 
- Two pre-production prototypes.
- Four pre-production aircraft.
- Initial production model; 75 built.
- Test aircraft re-built from RF-105B airframes; 3 converted
- Proposed reconnaissance version of the F-105B; none built.
- Proposed dual-control trainer; cancelled in 1957, none built
- The definitive production model, all-weather capability thanks to advanced avionics, first flight 9 June 1959; 610 built.
- Proposed reconnaissance version of the F-105D; none built.
- Proposed trainer version of F-105D; cancelled in 1959, none completed
- Two-seat trainer version of F-105D, fully combat-capable, first flight 11 June 1963; 143 built.
- Initial SEAD/Wild Weasel version; 86 built.
- Two-seat Wild Weasel SEAD version, 61 converted from EF-105F and F-105F.
- Crew: 1
- Payload: 14,000 lb (6,700 kg) of weapons
- Length: 64 ft 4.75 in (19.63 m)
- Wingspan: 34 ft 11.25 in (10.65 m)
- Height: 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m)
- Wing area: 385 ft² (35.76 m²)
- Airfoil: NACA 65A005.5 root, NACA 65A003.7 tip
- Empty weight: 27,500 lb (12,470 kg)
- Loaded weight: 35,637 lb (16,165 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 52,546 lb (23,834 kg)
- Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W afterburning turbojet, 26,500 lbf (118 kN) with afterburning and water injection
- * Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0173
- Drag area: 6.65 ft² (0.62 m²)
- Aspect ratio: 3.16
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.08 (1,372 mph, 2,208 km/h) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
- Combat radius: 780 mi (680 nm, 1,250 km)
- Ferry range: 2,210 mi (1,920 nm, 3,550 km)
- Service ceiling: 48,500 ft (14,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 38,500 ft/min (195 m/s)
- Wing loading: 93 lb/ft² (452 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.74
- Lift-to-drag ratio: 10.4
- Time to altitude: 1.7 min to 35,000 ft (11,000 m)
- Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan cannon, 1,028 rounds
- Hardpoints: 5
- NASARR R-14A radar
- AN/ASG-19 Thunderstick fire-control system
- AN/ARN-85 LORAN (AN/ARN-92 in Thunderstick II-modified aircraft)
- Knaack, Marcelle Size. Encyclopedia of US Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems: Volume 1, Post-World War II Fighters, 1945-1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1978. ISBN 0-912799-59-5.
- Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. The Great Book of Fighters. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.
- Baugher, Joe. Republic F-105 Thunderchief.  Access date: 3 March 2006.
- Republic F-105. National Air and Space Museum  Access date: 2 March 2007.
- Futrell R. Frank, Greenhalgh, William H., Grubb, C., Hasselwander, G.E., Jakob, R.F., and Ravenstein, C.A. Aces and Aerial Victories: The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia, 1965-1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History and the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, 1976. ISBN 0-8987-5884-X.
- Price, Alfred. The History Of US Electronic Warfare, Volume III: Rolling Thunder Through Allied Force –1964 to 2000. New York: The Association Of Old Crows, 1989. ISBN 0-97037-940-4.
- Correll, JT. Calculated Courage at Thai Nguyen. Retrieved on 23 March 2006.
- [Colonel Merlyn H. Dethlefsen. Retrieved on 1 March 2007.
- Frisbee, JL. Wild, Wild Weasel. Retrieved on 23 March 2006.
- Audio excerpts and transcript of Maj Thorsness and Capt Johnson's mission on Wikisource
- Higham, Robin and Williams, Carol. Flying Combat Aircraft of USAAF-USAF (Vol.1). Rockville, Maryland: Air Force Historical Foundation, 1975. ISBN 0-8138-0325-X.
- Goebel, Greg. The Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Vectorsite. Retrieved on 2006-12-27.
- Loftin, L.K., Jr.. Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft: NASA SP-468. NASA. Retrieved on 2006-04-22.
- Kinzey, Bert. F-105 Thunderchief. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-8168-5020-8.
- Hobson, Chris. "Vietnam Air Losses." 2001. ISBN 1-85780-1156
- Craig Baker's F-105 Site
- Thud Ridge
- F-105 Thunderchief
- USAF Museum: F-105D and F-105G and general F-105 page
- Cold War Thuds
- The Republic F-105 Thunderchief from Greg Goebel's AIR VECTORS
- Aerospaceweb.org profile of the F-105
- Twenty-five hour day - Propaganda movie primarily covering an F-105 attack over North Vietnam. Plenty of Thud footage, and coverage of the support required for such an operation: maintenance crews, planning, refuelling, search and rescue, etc (thumbnails).
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