A Big “Thud” at the Flying Heritage Collection

On a recent visit to the Flying Heritage Collection it was cool to see the newest static addition to their museum, a Republic F-105G Thunderchief called “Patience” (serial number 63-8336). The aircraft was originally manufactured in 1964 as a two-seat, fully combat capable F-105F trainer (earlier production model F-105B/D aircraft were single seaters) but was heavily modified in 1971 to become an F-105G Surface to Air Missile (SAM) suppression “Wild Weasel” attack aircraft (high aircraft losses to air defences during the Vietnam War required new weaponry to suppress or eliminate the threat). F-105 crews nicknamed them the “Thud”.

FHC USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief "Patience"
USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief “Patience” (FHC September 2016)
FHC USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief "Patience"
This USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief “Wild Weasel” SAM Suppression attack aircraft saw operation service in Vietnam between 1968 and 1973 (FHC September 2016)
FHC F-105G Patience
“Patience Hell…, I’m Gonna Kill!”
The name “Patience” and the Buzzard artwork were inspired by a cartoon at the time where scavengers pondered the merits of becoming aggressive predators (info from FHC)
FHC USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief "Patience"
One big aircraft!

The “Wild Weasel” aircraft were fitted with new sensors, electronic jamming equipment and anti-radar missiles. The most noticeable difference from the earlier F-105F variant is the AN/ALQ-105 electronic countermeasure systems that were permanently installed in the two long blisters along the underside of the fuselage of the F-105G.

AN/ALQ-105 electronic countermeasure systems were permanently installed in two long blisters on the underside of the F-105G fuselage
AN/ALQ-105 electronic countermeasure systems were permanently installed in two long blisters on the underside of the F-105G fuselage
Air space over Vietnam was heavy with anti-air defences. Of the 833 F-105's produced almost half were lost in combat during the Vietnam War (382 including 62 non-combat operational losses)!
Air space over Vietnam was heavy with anti-air defences. Of the 833 F-105’s produced almost half were lost in combat during the Vietnam War (382 including 62 non-combat operational losses)!

This big attack aircraft saw service with the USAF during the Vietnam War over North Vietnam first as a fighter-bomber F-105F from 1968 and then later as an F-105G Wild Weasel” attack aircraft from 1972-1973 crewed by a pilot and Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO). During this time the aircraft operated out of Korat, Thailand with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing and more specifically with the 17th Wild Weasel Squadron participated in the 1972 Operation Linebacker I and II bombing offensives of North Vietnam.

F-105G Crew: Pilot & EWO FHC
Crew: Pilot & EWO
FHC USAF Republic F-105G Thunderchief "Patience"
The F-105G “Wild Weasel” aircraft had bite!

After the Vietnam War this F-105G served on with the USAF and Air National Guard in the United States until retired in the early 1980’s. The big “Thud” is on long term loan from the National Museum of the USAF. During my visit it was cool to see it’s big shark mouth alongside the collections “Flying TigersCurtiss P-40C Tomahawk that sports a similar snarling mouth!

Flying Heritage Collection F-105G & P-40C sharks mouth
Flying Heritage Collection F-105G & P-40C snarling!
FHC F-105G & P-40C Sharks Mouth
Ferocious!
FHC "Flying Tigers" Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk
“Flying Tigers” Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk as operated by US volunteers in Nationalist China during World War Two

On a typical “Wild Weasel” mission an F-105G would be armed with a single AGM-78 Standard ARM and two AGM-48 Shrike Anti Radiation Missiles (they would home in on enemy anti-aircraft radar signals). The F-105 was also fitted with a Vulcan M61A1 20mm rotary cannon with 1,028 rounds of ammunition and various pylon mounted fuel tanks to maximise operational range.

USAF F-105G Thunderchief "Wild Weasel" SAM Suppression aircraft armed with the AGM-78 Standard ARM and AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles (USAF Photo)
USAF F-105G Thunderchief “Wild Weasel” SAM Suppression aircraft armed with the AGM-78 Standard ARM and AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles – the Shrike is on the closest wing pylon (USAF Photo)
USAF 388th TFW F-105G "Wild Weasel" and F-4E Phantoms refuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker on a mission to North Vietnam, 1970
USAF 388th TFW F-105G “Wild Weasel” and F-4E Phantoms refuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker on a mission to North Vietnam, 1970  – an AGM-78 Standard ARM missile is visible on the F-105G (USAF Photo)
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9 thoughts on “A Big “Thud” at the Flying Heritage Collection

    1. I was in Montana when they unveiled this F-105 but apparently they had a number of pilots gathered who had flown this very aircraft in the past. That would have been interesting to hear their stories

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Matthew,

      In your writing research have you ever come across this gentleman, Clyde Douglas Stewart – a RNZAF photographer in WW2? http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C142088

      He was the Grandfather of a friend of mine in Auckland. She shared a letter from him and mentioned he was in an AWM painting. Turns out he saw and documented quite a few significant historical moments in NZ World War Two history, including the surrender of Lieutenant General Masatane Kanda of the Imperial Japanese Army at Bougainville September 8th, 1945.

      The painting: awm.gov.au/collection/ART26675

      Regards
      Dean

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Dean – I can’t say I have! The name rings a bell and it’s possible I’ve used some of his photos, if they were on the official record, in my original ‘Kiwi Air Power’ (the 1998 illustrated original, not the current unillustrated Kindle version).

        Liked by 1 person

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