Intended as a replacement for the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the F-84 Thunderjet was a turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 USAAF proposed “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946 and it entered service in 1947.
Initially, the Thunderjet was plagued with so many structural and engine problems that in 1948, the U.S. Air Force reviewed it and declared it unable to execute any aspect of its intended mission and considered canceling the program. The aircraft was not considered fully operational until the 1949 as the F-84D model and the design didn’t come into its own until the definitive F-84G was introduced in 1951. In 1954, the straight-wing Thunderjet was joined by the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak fighter and RF-84F Thunderflash photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The Thunderjet became the USAF’s primary strike aircraft during the Korean War, flying 86,408 missions and destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built MiG fighters. Over half of the 7,524 F-84s produced served with NATO nations, and it was the first aircraft to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. The USAF Strategic Air Command had F-84 Thunderjets in service from 1948 through 1957.
The F-84 varients can be confusing. The straight-wing F-84A to F-84E and F-84G models are called the Thunderjet. The F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash are a different airplane with swept wings. The XF-84H Thunderscreech (not its official name) was an experimental turboprop version of the F-84F. The F-84F swept wing version was intended to be a small variation on the normal Thunderjet with only a few different parts, so it kept the basic F-84 number. Production delays on the F-84F resulted in another order of the straight-wing F-84G version.