Today in History – March 1, 1965 – The Thud officially enters combat service

An F-105D Thunderchief flying with a full load of sixteen 750 lb (340 kg) bombs on its five hardpoints.

1 March 1965 – The combat debut of the Republic F-105 Thunderchief took place, as USAF F-105D aircraft based at Da Nang, South Vietnam, begin bombing missions over North Vietnam. (2)

“The F-105 was commonly known as the “Thud” by its crews. The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was an American supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. Capable of Mach 2, it conducted the majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War; it was the only American aircraft to have been removed from combat due to high loss rates. It was originally designed as a single-seat, nuclear-attack aircraft; a two-seat Wild Weasel version was later developed for the specialized Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role against surface-to-air missile sites.” (1)

“Difficulties with its avionics and the MA-8 fire-control system were experienced early on; typically the F-105 required 150 hours of maintenance for each flying hour. Most of these problems were addressed under Project Optimize. The lack of spares resulted in the entire F-105B fleet being briefly grounded in 1960.

In 1964, modified F-105Bs with ballast replacing the cannon, fuselage, and wing reinforcement for aerobatics, and the addition of a smoke generator, briefly flew with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. After only six shows, a fatal accident from overstressing the airframe led to the reintroduction of the F-100 Super Sabre.”[60][61] (2)


Source: PIMA Air & Space Museum, (2) Wikipedia

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