The RF-84F Thunderflash was the very succesful reconnaissance version of the Thunderstreak. We try to cover all NATO air forces that flew the type.
Greece started receiving their first Thunderflashes in 1957, when 348 squadron (Mira) was formed at Larissa. The initial batch was augmented in 1964 by a number of ex Netherlands and German Air Force examples. In Greece the Thunderflashes were replaced by RF-4C Phantoms.
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.
One squadron of the Royal Danish Air Force was equipped with Thunderflashes until 1971 when they were phased out 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.
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.
|No 306 Sqn KLu received its first RF 84F Thunderflash at RAF Laarbruch (G) on 4 April 1956. The squadron was stationed at Laarbruch from 8 Nov 1954 till 15 Jan 1958 when they moved to Deelen.|
In their early days they wore a silver livery with the 306 squadron-code (TP-) on the nose; in later years they were camouflaged and subsequently their P- registration was added.
French Thunderflashes flew with the 33rd Wing (Escadre) at Strassbourg. Within the 33 Wing the RF-84F equipped 3 squadrons: 1/33 with code 33-C, 2/33 with code 33-D and 3/33 coded 33-T. They were (of course) replaced by the Mirage 3R between 1964 and 1967.