Posts By Frank & Gijs & Hans
We have seen the Thunderstreaks of the Belgian Air Force very frequently, both in operational conditions , in storage and/or as museum-pieces. This post deals with pictures of Thunderstreaks in Belgian Air Force service, while they still were operational.
Many Thunderstreaks of the Belgian Air Force ended their service lives at the aircraft-depot at Koksijde AB. Most of them were scrapped but some survived: at first as eye-catchers (“decoys”) – sometimes disguised as Mirages ! – and later in museums or as monuments. This gallery gives an overview on the faiths of various Belgian Thunderstreaks. Note that withdrawn a/c may not be present anymore at the given locations.
The USAF of course used the Thunderflash in largest numbers : after all it was an American design ! The last U.S . RF-84F Thunderflash flew with 173rd TRS of the Nebraska ANG; this unit converted to the RF-4C Phantom in 1972.
The German Thunderflashes were phased out in the years 1965-1966 in favour of the RF-104G Starfighter. Two squadrons (Geschwader) flew the RF-84F: AKG-51 at Ingolstadt (recognizable by squadron-code EA) and AKG-52 (EB) at Erding and later Eggebeck. Luftwaffe squadron-codes BD was used for aircraft assigned to WS-50, the training unit at Furstenfeldbruck.
Denmark had one squadron of Thunderflashes that were phased out in 1971 in favour of the recce version of the Saab Draken. Initially 729 squadron at Karup received 10 Thunderflashes, but in 1963 they received 7 (ex Air National Guard) more as attrition replacements.
In the mid fifties the KLu (Koninklijke Luchtmacht) acquired 180 Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks, registered P-101 to P-277 and P-298 to P-300. The majority of the Streaks depicted in this album are selected out of the range P-157 to P-300, being the last of the type in operational service, flying with both 314 and 315 squadrons from Eindhoven AB. The Streak entered service in 1955 and the last ones were phased out in 1970. Last departures to other air forces (see below) took place in 1971.
The Italian Thunderflashes were based at Villafranca, in northern Italy. The 78 Italian aircraft started entering AMI service in 1956, equipping the 3rd Aerobrigata (Wing), replacing RF-84G Thunderjets. The 3rd Wing made a conversion to the RF-104G Starfighter in 1970.