The Republic Aircraft Corporation
first conceived the F-84 series of aircraft back in 1944 and the prototype
XP-84 - by then christened "Thunderjet" - first flew on 28th February 1946.
The Thunderjet underwent many
changes and improvements during its operational life, eventually culminating in
the F-84G. The last and best of the "straight-winged" models, the "G" also
holds the distinction of being the first production fighter aircraft to have
in-flight refuelling capability.
Aside from USAF service, many F-84E and
G aircraft were also supplied to foreign air forces and of the 12 countries
which received them, practically all of them mounted at least one aerobatic
team on the aircraft.
Development of the swept-winged F-84F
was born out a 1949 proposal to mate an F-84E fuselage with swept-back flying
surfaces and utilise existing tooling. As development progressed however, the
F-84F, now named Thunderstreak, evolved into an almost entirely
different aircraft. As well as service in the USAF, it too was procured by 7
other countries, several of which also formed aerobatic teams on the type.
The final major development of the
swept-winged F-84 was a photo-reconnaissance derivative, the RF-84F
Thunderflash. Produced in limited numbers and exported, surprisingly,
these too found themselves in aerobatic teams !