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F-84B "Thunderjet"

The P-84Bs began reaching the AAF in the summer of 1947. The first P-84B productions were virtually the same as the YP-84A prototypes, but M3 machineguns were used instead of M2s.

With the 14th Fighter Group at Dow Field in Bangor, Maine. The initial operational capability (IOC) of December 1947 was accompanied by stringent flying restrictions, pending correction of new deficiencies discovered 3 months before. Speed was limited to a Mach number of .80 because of a slight reversal of trim, Wrinkling of the fuselage skin restricted the first P-84Bs to a maximum acceleration of 5.5 "G's."

Operational deficiencies were immediately compounded by critical shortages of parts and by innumerable maintenance difficulties that were to earn for several of the aircraft model series the nickname "Mechanic's Nightmare." The maintenance problems were particularly acute at first, because Republic's early delivery slippages had delayed training of jet maintenance personnel deployed to Muroc for this very purpose.

Beginning with the 86th production late in 1947, the P-84B's armament was supplemented by eight retractable rocket launchers beneath the wing.

Because of structural failure and almost concurrent with the end of its production, the entire P-84B fleet was grounded for inspection. The inspected aircraft returned to flying status were limited to specific maximum speeds until necessary fairing modifications could be accomplished by Republic.

The newly formed US Air Force stopped using US Army's aircraft terminology. The AAF pursuit aircraft, formerly identified by the letter P, acquired the F prefix for fighter, their new classification. In the process, the P-84 Thunderjet officially became the F-84 on 11 June 1948. The name "Thunderjet," suggested by Republic, had been approved late in 1946.

Production of the F-84B ended in June 1948.

The Air Force accepted 226 F-84Bs. This was less than half of the total ordered. The other F-84Bs under contract underwent production changes sufficiently important to warrant new designations.

Three F-84Bs were accepted in FY 47, all the others in FY 48-14 in July 1947, 3 in August, 11 in September, 25 in October, 17 in November, 18 in December, 13 in January 1948, 50 in February, 35 in March, 30 in April, 6 in May, and one in June 1948, when production was ended.

The 20th Fighter Group; Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C., was first to receive the F-84B. The second unit to be equipped with the aircraft was the 33rd Fighter Group, relocated in 1949 from Roswell, N. Mex., to Otis AFB, Mass.

The cost of the first 100 P-84s (15 prototypes and 85 F-84Bs), authorized for procurement in FY 45, was set at $286,407.00 per aircraft. The next 141 aircraft, authorized for procurement in FY 46, also came off the production line as F-84Bs. Their unit cost was lower and decreased to $163,994.00. Neither of the two figures reflected subsequent modification costs.

The F-84Bs were covered by the $8 million modification program approved in May 1949 a few months after the entire F-84 program was nearly disolved. This "mandatory" program included reinforcement of the aircraft's wings and over 100 other structural and engineering modifications.

Although the directed modifications substantially improved the F-84B's operational capability, the aircraft left the Air Force inventory before the end of 1952.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:31:32 ZULU