The Republic F-84C was very similar to the F-84B, designed to be a heavily armed fighter aircraft in World War II. Republic was the descendant of Seversky Aircraft Corporation and was run by the legendary Major Alexander Seversky. The Seversky design team had a knack for picking the wrong equipment and putting it in the wrong airframe, but somehow still coming up with the right design at the right time.
The B model was the first production aircraft and was very similar to the prototype. The F-84B was armed with six M3 .50 caliber machineguns and had a rate of fire of 1200 rounds per minute. Retractable rocket launch stubs under the wing were installed, along with 230-gallon wingtip fuel tanks and bomb pylons. In addition, the B model incorporated an ejection seat, though the F-84 pilots were not authorized to use the feature.
The differences between the C model and the B model were small but significant. The F-84C was powered by the Allison J35-A-13 engine instead of the newer J35-A-15 engine that powered the F-84B. The C model switched to the slightly older model of engine because it had a much more compatible fuel system for the F-84 mission. Other changes included better fire seals around the engine compartment, an all-new electrical system, and a sequencing bomb release control.
The F-84B and F-84C shared many of the same problems including trim reversal, fuselage skin wrinkles, lack of spare parts and supplies, and poorly trained jet maintenance crews. The F-84 was nicknamed the “Mechanics Nightmare” because there were so many problems with the fighters. In 1949, the Army Air Force began a modification program to bring all the F-84Bs and F-84Cs up to structural standards.
The 33rd Fighter Group was the first unit to go operational with the F-84C in 1948. Republic built a total of 191 F-84Cs between May and November of 1948. With all the similarities between the B and C models, both fighters were fazed out of active service at almost the same time, the last leaving the Air Force inventory in 1952.
The F-84C in the EAA AirVenture Museum has been on loan from the Air Force since 1964.
Republic F-84C Thunderjet Republic F-84C Thunderjet