The original production schedule for the Thunderstreak that was prepared in August of 1950 called for the first deliveries to be made by the autumn of 1951. The production F-84Fs were to use heavy press forgings in the construction of the wing structure. However, the only forge press in the country suitable for the job was tied up in the B-47 program. A mechanical breakdown in the press caused further delays. To make matters worse, serious delays were encountered in the production of the J65 license-built Sapphire engines. In July of 1951, Republic was forced to admit to the USAF that the original schedule could not be met.
In order to get the F-84F program back on track, it was decided to redesign the wings so that they could be manufactured with existing tools and facilities. Although this would cure the press forgings problem, this redesign would add many months to the delivery schedule. In order to fill in the production gap until the F-84F could be available, the USAF decided to have Republic built the straight-winged F-84G as a stop-gap measure. The delays in the Thunderstreak program were in fact so time-consuming that the F-84G actually became the most widely-produced F-84 version produced, some 3025 examples being built before the last one rolled off the production lines on July 27, 1953.
The first production F-84F-1-RE (51-1346) was finally ready for its first flight in the late fall of 1952. It took off on its maiden flight on November 22, 1952. The production F-84F differed in several important respects from the earlier service test models. The cockpit canopy had previously been a sliding bubble type similar to that fitted to "straight-wing" F-84s. The cockpit canopy was now of a hinged arm, upward-swinging type that raised the part of the enclosure upward above the pilot before it swung backwards. For normal exits, the canopy was pushed upward, but for emergencies the canopy could be completely released from the aircraft to permit pilot ejection. This canopy was stronger, easier to install, and better sealed than the sliding version.
The production F-84F also introduced a raised "turtle deck" aft of the cockpit, which replaced the rear fuselage deck of the previous bubble-canopied versions.
Service-test Thunderstreak models had a single speed brake on the belly of the fuselage, similiar to that of the Thunderjet. The production Thunderstreak replaced this with two perforated panels on the fuselage sides just aft of the wing trailing edge. These brakes could be opened at any speed up to the maximum dive speed without large trim changes or excessive buffeting.
Leading edge wing slats were added to improve airflow characteristics. Control tabs were removed from the ailerons in favor of an irreversible power-boosted control system.
Production of the Thunderstreak at Farmingdale was supplemented by subcontractors such as Kaiser Metal Products of Bristol, Pennsylvania which built the rear fuselage, Servel of Evansville, Indiana which built wings, and Goodyear Aircraft which built the cockpit windshield, canopy, and rear fuselage turtle deck.
A second source of Thunderstreak production was established in 1952 when a contract was given to General Motors to build Thunderstreaks in a plant at Kansas City. This plant had been used by North American Aviation during World War II to build B-25 Mitchells. General Motors-built Thunderstreaks were known as F-84F-GK (rather than RE), and could be distinguished from Republic-built Thunderstreaks only by their serial numbers.
Ten examples of the F-84F-1-RE were built. They were powered with the early US-built Wright J65-W-1 turbojet.
The F-84F-5-RE had the 7330 lb.st. J65-W-3 or the equivalent Buick-built J65-B-3. The deliveries of this version began in the latter part of 1953. The first F-84F-25-RE (51-1621) appeared at the end of 1953. It introduced an "all-flying" horizontal tailplane, in which the entire horizontal tail moved as a unit. The earlier F-84Fs suffered from a high-g stall pitch-up tendency which was often severe enough to tear the wings off the aircraft. This could make for a real bad day :-). The all-flying tail provided more positive control which helped to alleviate this problem, although the F-84F continued to operate under maneuverability restrictions throughout much of its service life.
The F-84F-50-RE appeared in March of 1955. It had the more powerful J65-W-7 (or J65-B-7), rated at 7800 lb.st. Airframe limitations prevented any improvements in low-altitude speed, but the added power increased the initial climb rate and the combat ceiling.
The F-84F-75-RE was the last version of the Thunderstreak to be built at Farmingdale. It introduced a new fairing under the fuselage for the braking parachute. This feature was later retrofitted to earlier models.
The last Thunderstreak rolled off the production lines at Farmingdale in August of 1957. A total of 2112 examples had been built. An additional 599 had been built by General Motors.
F-84F serial numbers:
51-1344/1345 Republic YF-84F-RE Thunderstreak 51-1346/1355 Republic F-84F-1-RE Thunderstreak 51-1356/1380 Republic F-84F-5-RE Thunderstreak 51-1381/1430 Republic F-84F-10-RE Thunderstreak 51-1431/1510 Republic F-84F-15-RE Thunderstreak 51-1511/1620 Republic F-84F-20-RE Thunderstreak 51-1621/1709 Republic F-84F-25-RE Thunderstreak 51-1710/1760 Republic F-84F-25-RE Thunderstreak 51-1761/1827 Republic F-84F-30-RE Thunderstreak 51-9311/9320 General Motors F-84F-1-GK Thunderstreak 51-9321/9335 General Motors F-84F-5-GK Thunderstreak 51-9336/9356 General Motors F-84F-10-GK Thunderstreak 51-9357/9409 General Motors F-84F-25-GK Thunderstreak 51-9410/9454 General Motors F-84F-30-GK Thunderstreak 51-9455/9503 General Motors F-84F-35-GK Thunderstreak 51-9504/9547 General Motors F-84F-40-GK Thunderstreak 51-17061/17088 Republic F-84F-35-RE Thunderstreak 52-6355/6422 Republic F-84F-30-RE Thunderstreak 52-6423/6522 Republic F-84F-35-RE Thunderstreak 52-6523/6642 Republic F-84F-40-RE Thunderstreak 52-6643/6812 Republic F-84F-45-RE Thunderstreak 52-6813/6907 Republic F-84F-50-RE Thunderstreak 52-6908/7007 Republic F-84F-55-RE Thunderstreak 52-7008/7017 Republic F-84F-56-RE Thunderstreak 52-7018/7049 Republic F-84F-35-RE Thunderstreak 52-7050/7089 Republic F-84F-40-RE Thunderstreak 52-7090/7114 Republic F-84F-45-RE Thunderstreak 52-7115/7126 Republic F-84F-46-RE Thunderstreak 52-7127/7191 Republic F-84F-51-RE Thunderstreak 52-7192/7228 Republic F-84F-56-RE Thunderstreak 52-8767/8834 General Motors F-84F-41-GK Thunderstreak 52-8835/8982 General Motors F-84F-46-GK Thunderstreak 52-8983/9128 General Motors F-84F-51-GK Thunderstreak 52-10510/10538 Republic F-84F-56-RE Thunderstreak 53-6532/6715 Republic F-84F-61-RE Thunderstreak 53-6716/6835 Republic F-84F-66-RE Thunderstreak 53-6836/6955 Republic F-84F-71-RE Thunderstreak 53-6956/7075 Republic F-84F-76-RE Thunderstreak 53-7076/7230 Republic F-84F-81-RE Thunderstreak 53-7231/7520 Cancelled contract for F-84F
Specification of the F-84F-25-RE:
One Wright J65-W-3 turbojet rated at 7220 lb.st. Maximum speed (clean), 695 mph at sea level (Mach 0.91), 658 mph at 20,000 feet (Mach 0.94) The F-84F is redlined at Mach 1.18 in a dive. Tactical radial (clean): 450 miles at 36,000 feet. Combat radius with two 230 US gallon drop tanks is 790 miles. Ferry range with four 230 US gallon drop tanks is 2140 miles. Initial climb rate (clean): 8200 feet per minute. Service ceiling: 46,000 feet. Weights: 14,014 pounds empty, 19,340 pounds combat weight (clean), normal loaded 26,000 pounds, and 28,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: wingspan 33 feet 7 1/4 inches, length 43 feet 4 3/4 inches, height 14 feet 4 3/4 inches, wing area 325 square feet. Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch M-3 machine guns, four mounted in the nose and two mounted in the wing roots. A radar-ranging A-4 gunsight was provided. A maximum of 6000 pounds of external ordinance could be carried, a typical load being two 2000-lb. bombs and eight 5-inch HVARs or four 1000-pound bombs and 24 3-inch rockets. Total internal fuel capacity was 475 Imp.gall., but two 191.5 Imp.gall. drop tanks are normally carried on the inner underwing racks, while for ferry purposes two 375 Imp. gall or four 191.5 Imp.gall drop tanks could be carried to provide a range of 2140 miles.