F-84 Thunderjet Units Over Korea (Frontline Colour 3)
By Warren Thompson
Publisher: Osprey Publishing 2000 128 Pages
PDF 42 MB
Long before World War 2 ended, most of the major military powers were heavily involved m the research and development of jet-propelled aircraft. The Germans held a distinct advantage in this area over the United States and Great Britain, with Messerschmitt's Me 262 twin-engined fighter being easily the best jet-powered aircraft to see operational service during the conflict.
Both sides in that war realised that speed was not only life, but that it also meant power and victory. In the United States, most of the major aircraft manufacturers had jet-powered prototypes in the making, including Lockheed. Bell. North American and Republic.
By the time the latter company's effort in the shape of the XP-84 had flown in February 1946. the war had been over for almost six months. Nevertheless, the Army Air Force (AAF) still expressed a keen interest in the airframe. Republic lagged quite some distance behind both Bell and Lockheed, whose designs the P-59 Airacomet and P-80 Shooting Star respectively had already entered production. Indeed, the latter aircraft would go on to become the first truly successful frontline American jet fighter, and its service in Korea will be examined m detail m a later volume within this series.
The Shooting Star was a fighter interceptor which could trace its ancestry back to Lockheed's war-winning P-38 Lightning. And although capable of carrying up to 2000 lbs of bombs or rockets, it was hardly the tactical 'bomb truck' that the AAF felt it would need for any future conflict. This was where Republic came in. for the Long Island-based company had firmly established itself during World War 2 as the primary source of land-based close air support aircraft for the AAF. building no less than 15.683 P-47 Thunderbolts.