Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
A total of five Tactical Reconnaissance Wings of the USAF used the RF-84F, such as the 10th and 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wings of the USAFE.The first aircraft arrived August 1955 at Sembach, West-Germany. The American used the arrival of the aircraft also for publicity, on a open day for the press, the journalist could choose a target, the photos of the target were delivered within three hours.
In 1958 the Thunderflashes were replaced with the McDonnell RF-101C and in 1960 all USAF Thunderflashes were withdrawn from use and handed over to the Air National Guard and several NATO members.
Many NATO countries received the Thunderflash under MDAP conditions. The Netherlands received twenty-four Thunderflashes, Belgium received 34 aircraft and used the Thunderflash for a long period. In 1958 a Belgian Thunderflash was forced to land in the DDR by two MiG 17s.
The Netherlands replaced the Thunderflash the RF-104G Starfighter and two RF-84Fs were handed over to Greece in 1963. The last Greek Thunderflash was withdrawn from use at the end of the eighties. Friday July 28, 1988, after a journey of five days one of the former Dutch RF-84s, ex P-5, landed at airbase Volkel. This aircraft is now on display at the Militaire Luchtvaartmuseum at Soesterberg.
In service with RNLAF: 306 squadron
The Thunderflash entered Dutch service in 1955. At the beginning of 1995 the conversion the new type started and personnel was trained at Sembach. Also several aviators and technicians went to the USA for a conversion course.
306 squadron received three Lockheed RT-33 for training purposes. Alas one of these aircraft crashed, so only two of them entered operational use by 306 squadron.
In 1955 the Thunderflashes arrived together with Thunderstreaks and F-86K Sabres with US Corregidor and US Tripoli, in 1955 at Rotterdam.
The first two RF-84F’s were officially handed over to 306 squadron on April 22, 1956. In the period 1956-1959 the remaining aircraft were added.
At the beginning of 1958 306 squadron could join Royal Flush. Together with another, English, 2nd ATAF-member the squadron became the champion of the Royal Flush in 1959.
The Dutch Flashes were all of production blocks 10 till block 31. Initially no brake chute was applied to the aircraft. The chute was later added after a modification in 1958 and 1959.
March 22, 1963 the first six Thunderflashes were handed over to the Turkish air force. April 23, 1963 two aircraft went to Greece.