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The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was the fastest and most successful strike fighter of the Cold War. Designed to deliver nuclear weapons at low altitude and then fight its way back to base, by the early 1960s it was the primary weapon in the USAF's tactical strike arsenal. Thunderchief pilots in Europe, the Far East and the USA stood on short-notice alert, ready to take on the formidable defenses of their Communist Bloc targets. The F-105 was, however, to become a legend in a very different conflict. As direct American involvement in Vietnam increased, F-105s were deployed – initially as a deterrent, but ever more as conventional attack fighters against insurgency in Laos and Vietnam. With the start of the bombing campaign against North Vietnam, the Thunderchief became a vital element in attacks against some of the most heavily defended territory in modern history.
About the Author
Peter E Davies has written 33 books concentrating on modern combat aircraft, America's experimental X-planes and the Vietnam War. He has authored and co-authored 23 previous Osprey titles, with a particular focus on the US Navy's use of the F-4 Phantom II. All his books on this topic have contained extensive input from interviews with more than 100 former Phantom II aircrew, maintainers and mission planners. He is also a regular contributor to Aeroplane's Database series and has written the standard reference work on US Navy and Marine Corps Phantom II operations, Gray Ghosts. He is based in Bristol, UK.
Henry Morshead is a design consultant in the European automotive and aerospace sectors, with clients including Jaguar, Bentley, Citroën and Airbus. He is also a technical sponsor of the Bloodhound supersonic car, contributing digital surfacing and design services. A former officer in the Royal Engineers and illustrator for Jane's, he maintains a keen interest in the design and use of military land and air vehicles. Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor.
Table of Contents
Design and Development 5
The Kartveli Heritage
Weapons System Concept
Technical Specifications 19
F-105 Conversions, Modifications and Projects 28
F-105C (AP-63-5) and F-105E
F-105D Thunderstick II
F-105F/G Wild Weasel
Operational History 35
Thunder in the East
The MiG Threat
Further Reading 62
What People are Saying About This
"Author Peter Davies covers the aircraft's initial design and development as well as its introduction into unit service. Much of the book is dedicated to its combat record, as well it should. In this part of the publication we get the majority of pilot stories. Though designed as a bomber, the F-105 also shot down its share of MiGs during the conflict and we get some of those tales as well. Chock full of photos, most of them in full color and the superb art work of Adam Tooby, it makes for a well rounded title."
- Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness (October 2012)
"...a fine pick for any military aircraft reference collection."
- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review