The F-105 thunderchieft – one of the largest single-engined fighters ever built.
The F-105 Thunderchief aircraft was also nicknamed “Thud” as a supersonic fighter-bomber type used by the US Air Force during the early period of the Vietnam War.
After succeeding in the F-100 Super Sabre at Mach 1, the US military continued to develop the F-105 Thunderchief to carry a nuclear bomb, with supersonic speed, flying at a low altitude with High speed and ability to penetrate deep into enemy territory. The first flight was made on October 22, 1955 and began mass production on May 14, 1957, the F-105 Thunderchief was the largest American fighter-bomber ever built.
The F-105 Thunderchief sported sharp, clean lines throughout – from the pointed nose to the engine exhaust extending out beyond the vertical tail fin. The airframe was engineered to withstand these extremely exacting requirements, incorporating a highly swept short wing, pinched-waist fuselage, and exploiting the then new ‘area rule’ concept for reduced aerodynamic drag at supersonic speeds.
Also incorporated were unusual forward-swept air-intake ducts located at the wing root, and a ventral fin on the underside of the rear fuselage to provide enhanced lateral stability at high speeds.
The largest single-engine airplane ever built, the F-105 stood 5,99m high, more than 0.9m higher than the very large, twin-engine F-4 Phantom jet. The Thunderchief’s great size and weight demanded a powerhouse of an engine, and it got one–eventually.
Engine intakes were positioned at the wing roots to either side and to the rear of the pilots position and fed a single Pratt & Whitney J57-P-5 engine of 23,500lb thrust with afterburner.
The intakes also deserve special mention with their unique implementation – forward-swept on the outboard sides and recessing inward toward the fuselage sides.
Equipped with standard weapons for Thunderchief was a cannon that can fire at a rate of 6,000 rounds per minute – 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon.
In addition to this short-range weapon, it was also equipped with a variety of external or internal weapons in the form of conventional bombs, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods and special weapons when needed.
The Thunderchiefs can be equipped with up to 3.6 tons of bombs and ammunition to solve various roles. To make it easier to imagine, this bomb weight of the F-105 was larger than a ten-person four-engine strategic bomber during World War II.
- Crew: 1 (F-105F: 2)
- Length: 64 ft 4 3⁄4 in (19.628 m)
- Wingspan: 34 ft 11 1⁄4 in (10.649 m)
- Height: 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m)
- Wing area: 385 sq ft (35.8 m2)
- Aspect ratio: 3.18
- Airfoil: root: NACA 65A005.5; tip: NACA 65A003.7
- Empty weight: 26,855 lb (12,181 kg)
- Gross weight: 35,637 lb (16,165 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 52,838 lb (23,967 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 770 US gal (640 imp gal; 2,900 l) in three flexible fuselage tanks + 390 US gal (320 imp gal; 1,500 l) weapon-bay tank, with provision for 1x 650 US gal (540 imp gal; 2,500 l) or 750 US gal (620 imp gal; 2,800 l) centerline drop tank and 2x 450 US gal (370 imp gal; 1,700 l) underwing drop tanks; Total maximum fuel 2,810 US gal (2,340 imp gal; 10,600 l)
- Zero-lift drag coefficient: CD 0.0173
- Drag area: 6.65 sq ft (0.6 m2)
- Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W afterburning turbojet engine, 14,300 lbf (64 kN) thrust 26,500 lbf (117.88 kN) with afterburning and water injection
- Maximum speed: 1,210 kn (1,390 mph, 2,240 km/h) / Mach 2.1 at 35,000 ft (10,668 m)
- Combat range: 676 nmi (778 mi, 1,252 km)
- Ferry range: 1,917 nmi (2,206 mi, 3,550 km)
- Service ceiling: 48,500 ft (14,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 38,500 ft/min (196 m/s)
- Time to altitude: 35,000 ft (10,668 m) in 1 minute 42 seconds
- Lift-to-drag: 10.4
- Wing loading: 93 lb/sq ft (450 kg/m2)
- Thrust/weight: 0.74
- Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon, 1,028 rounds
- Hardpoints: 5 total: 4 × under-wing, 1 × centerline pylon stations plus an internal bomb bay with a capacity of up to 14,000 lb (6,400 kg) of ordnance,with provisions to carry combinations of:
- LAU-32/LAU-59 rocket pods with 7 x FFARs each