The F-105 Thunderchief was a US jet fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force during of the Vietnam War. The F-105 was developed and manufactured by Republic Aviation Company. Its first flight took place on October 2, 1955, entering service with the USAF in May 1958. The Thunderchief firs saw combat action on August 14, 1964, carrying out an undercover attack on an enemy artillery site located on Plain of Jars in Laos. In 1967, it would take part in Operation Cedar Falls, providing fire support to ground troops. The F-105G version would participate in Operation Linebacker in 1972.
Although it was originally designed as a single seat aircraft, a two-seat Wild Weasel version of the F-105 was later developed for use in the specialized Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses role against surface-to-air missile sites. During the Vietnam War the two-seat F-105F and F-105G Wild Weasel variants attacked and destroyed the Soviet-built S-75 Dvina/(SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missiles launching platforms. Two Wild Weasel American pilots were awarded the Medal of Honor for attacking North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile sites, with one shooting down two MiG-17s the same day.
The F-105 was a mid-winged aircraft, with a round, all-metal fuselage and a conical nose, where the NASARR R-14A multi-mode radar was installed. Its swept wings were short, so that the aircraft length was longer than its wingspan. The Republic F-105D Thunderchief was powered by one Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W afterburning turbojet engine, whose air intakes were located in the base of the wings, right beside the fuselage. Despite being a fast aircraft, the Thunderchief was large and heavy and not very maneuverable.
The F-105 was armed with one 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon (1,028 rounds), AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-12 Bullpup missiles; the aircraft could transport up to 14,000 lb (6350 kg) of bombs, being the USAF fighter-bomber with highest bombload capacity in history.
Wingspan: 10.65 m
Height: 5.99 m
Wing area: 35.76 m2
Rate of climb:195 m/s
Maximum speed: 2,208 km/h (Mach 2.08)
Range: 3,550 km