The F-105 Thunderchief was originally designed as a supersonic strike fighter capable of delivering a tactical nuclear weapon deep within enemy territory. The prototype YF-105A first flew on 22 October 1955 and the first production F-105B Thunderchief entered service in 1958. The F-105B was replaced on the production line by the F-105D, featuring improved radar and fire control systems that gave the “Thud” all-weather strike capability.
The men and women of Robins Air Force Base were associated with the Thunderchief for most of its operational life. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center was the primary management and repair center for the avionics, fire control and communication systems, guns and air launched missiles used on all F-105s. The center was also deeply involved in developing and maintaining the advanced electronic warfare systems used on the F-105.
The F-105D Thunderchief on display, s/n 62-4259, was built by Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, New York, and delivered to the USAF in March 1963. It was first assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, NC. In November, it was transferred to Osan AB, South Korea, where it stood nuclear alert with the 41st Air Division. In August 1967, 62-4259 was transferred to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli RTAB where it remained until October 1970. During this time, the aircraft flew numerous combat missions.
In August 1972, 62-4259 was transferred to the 507th Tactical fighter Group (AFRES) at Tinker AFB, OK. In October 1980 it was transferred to the 466th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, UT where it was one of the last F-105Ds operated by the USAF. It was retired from active service in 1983 and sent to Lackland AFB, TX where it was used to train Air Force Security Forces personnel in flight line operations. The aircraft arrived at the Museum of Aviation in the summer of 2011.
Span: 34 ft. 11 in.
Length: 64 ft. 5 in.
Height: 19 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 52,838 lbs. max.
Armament: One M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon and more than 12,000 lbs. of ordnance
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W of 24,500 lbs. thrust
Serial Number: 62-4259
Maximum speed: 1,390 mph.
Cruising speed: 778 mph.
Range: 2,206 miles
Service ceiling: 51,000 ft.