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F-84G "Thunderjet"

The F-84G incorporated a number of changes on the earlier F-84E. Incorporating in flight refueling equipment with wing receptacle in port wing for use with the Boeing developed and SAC endorsed "flying boom" system, the F-84G was the first fighter built with the capability of refueling in flight and at a single point. An Allison J35 A-29 engine, autopilot, A4 gunsight, a new instrument landing system, and a revised armament, with up to 4,000 lb. of external stores were also included. The F-84G was also the first single seat fighter bomber with atomic capability.

The F-84G was progressively developed from the F-84E. Production variances, therefore, occurred. The new A-4 gunsight first appeared on the 86th article, the new instrument landing system on the 301st. Similarly, an atomic capability was only introduced in the F-84Gs late in 1951, after a number of the new aircraft had already left the production line.

Eighty aircraft were accepted in July 1951. This was a delivery slippage of several months, caused by difficulties with the new J-35-A-29 engine.

The 31st Fighter Escort Wing at Turner AFB, Ga., was the first SAC wing to receive the new aircraft, beginning in August 1951. By the end of the year, the 31st, like the 27th Fighter Escort Wing at Bergstrom AFB, Tex., possessed about half of their complement of F-84Gs-35 and 36, respectively. However, F-84G aircraft, equipped to refuel with the flying boom system, did not enter the SAC inventory until 1952.

A total of 3,025 were accepted-789 for the USAF and 2,236 for the MDAP.

The Air Force accepted 447 F-84Gs in FY 52, 342 in FY 53. The Air Force also took delivery of the aircraft earmarked for the MDAP during the same period 710 in FY 52, 1,505 in FY 53, and 21 during the first month of FY 54.

It ended with delivery of the last 21 F-84Gs purchased for the MDAP in July 1953.

There were no other configurations of the F-84G.

Flyaway Cost Per Production Aircraft was $237,247-airframe, $150,846; engine (installed), $41,488; electronics, $4,761; ordnance, $2,719; armament, $37,433.

F-84Gs began reaching the Far East in the summer of 1952. Even though some of the new planes arrived without various items of needed supporting equipment, the F-84Gs were available in sufficient numbers by September 1952 to permit Fifth Air Force to bring its war depleted Thunderjet wings up to unit equipment strength for the first time in more than a year. In December, Fifth Air Force moved the 49th Wing's 9th Fighter Bomber Squadron of F-84Gs from Korea to Japan to train its aircrews in the delivery of tactical atomic weapons. In mid 1953, concurrent with development of the low altitude bombing system (LABS) to allow safe delivery of nuclear bombs from low altitudes, the 49th Air Division, based in the continental United States (CONUS), converted to a nuclear force and with the F-84G equipped 81st Fighter Bomber Wing deployed to Bentwaters in the United Kingdom (U.K.). The following month, on 20 August 1953, 17 USAF F-84Gs, refueling from KC-97s, flew nonstop 4,485 miles from Albany, Ga., to Lakenheath, also in the U.K. This was the longest nonstop mass movement of fighter bomber aircraft in history and the greatest distance ever flown nonstop by single engine jet fighters.

The success of the in flight refueling capabilities developed by SAC was first confirmed in mid 1952 with the staged deployment of the 31st Fighter Escort Wing from Turner to Misawa Air Base in Japan. Dubbed Operation Fox Peter I, this July oversee deployment counted 58 F-84Gs, configured to refuel with the flying boom system.

In March 1953, a few months before the end of hostilities on 27 July, F-84Gs of the Fifth Air Force completed the longest mission to that date in the Korean war. These fighter bombers made an 800 mile round trip to strike at the industrial center of Chonjin on the east coast of North Korea, approximately 40 miles south of the Manchurian border.

A total of 335 F-84D, E, and G aircraft were lost in Korea, where the F-84s earned such appellations as "workhorse" and "champ of all low level bombers." More than 50 percent of these losses were due to ground fire.

The Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, Thunderbirds, was organized in May 1953 to promote a better understanding and appreciation of air power. One of the most important decisions of the newly formed Thunderbirds was the selection of their first aircraft. Primarily, the aircraft had to be stable for maneuvers in formation; reliable to .meet show schedules; rugged for demonstration aerobatics; and combat proven. The choice was the F-84G Thunderjet.

F-84G aircraft were being employed in conjunction with Project ZELMAL (Zero Length Launch and Mat Landing), one of the Air Force's several projects in the area of reducing required takeoff and landing distances. The ZELMAL program was conducted by The Glen L. Martin Company to study rocket boost takeoff and arrested landing on a pneumatic landing mat. The first pneumatic mat landing with a ZELMAL modified F-84G airplane was attempted on 2 June 1954.

The F-84G had been retired from SAC by August 1955, but the aircraft continued to serve TAC for a few more years and did not completely disappear from USAF inventory until mid 1960.



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