The F-84D was the first Thunderjet model to incorporate significant changes. Most of these changes were internal; however, some were visually unique to the D-model. Foremost was the increase in wing skin thickness from .072 to .081as an effort to eliminate the tendancy of the wings to wrinkle or crack under high loads. Internally, the radio equipment was updated, the ejection seat was cleared for use, and different fuel cells were used which were lighter in weight. The the gun bay door on the nose was hinged at the front -- on prior models the door was not permanently attached so had to be removed and set on the ground to service the guns. The pitot tube was moved from the upper vertical tail to the center (vertically) of the intake splitter; extant drawings do not show this correctly, but inspection of photographs of D-model aircraft clearly show this unique-to-the-D-model pitot tube location. The landing gear compression mechanism was changed from hydraulic to mechanical; this change was accompanied by a visual change to the gear and wheels, the upper/outer main gear well covers were changed in shape from "crescent" to "straight", a "shrink" strut was added to the nose gear and a small "tab" gear door was added to accomodate the shrink strut. Even though the heavier guage wing panels allowed a higher speed (from Mach .80 to .82) the D-model still suffered from wing structure problems and the leading edges of the wings were modified to strengthen them. Extant information indicates the strengthened wings used on the D-models were retrofitted to prior models under a program commenced in May 1949. However, I question just what part of the wings were constituted in this retrofit, because the main gear wells, doors, gear, and wheels were different from C- and earlier models, and D- and later models. This question begs more research. 154 -D Thunderjets were produced.
Operationally, the D-model Thunderjet was the first of the line to be considered practical for service use, and indeed, was used extensively in Korea when delays in the F-84F program required implementation of the F-84D to compliment the E- and G-model Thunderjets already in Korea.
Starting with the D-model, each following model has externally unique identifiers. The definitive identifier for the D-model Thunderjet is the pitot tube mounted in the vertical center of the intake splitter. On the E- and G-models, the pitot tube is about 80% of the distance down from the top.
Links to photo pages at this site
Links to photos at other sites