F-84F Armament

The F-84F was equiped with the traditional weapons systems, including radar ranging for the six machine guns. However, the F-84 is more historically significant as the first operational fighter/attack aircraft equiped to deliver nuclear weapons. When used on the F-84F, the nuclear weapon was obliqely referred to as "The Shape." Early on, these weapons were armed at all times when being carried by the Thunderstreaks. Later, because of the potential for a significantly disasterous accident, they were carried unarmed, the intent being for them to be armed only when a real attack was expected to take place.

I have received a number of email messages regarding the F-84. Here are some excerpts from two which are pertinent to the F-84Fs nuclear armament.

"Reminds me of the time ca. 1956 when we were at Shaw Field, SC with the RF and a SAC F-84F made an emergency landing with a live nuclear weapon. They flew around like that then but discontinued carrying live weapons shortly after. They really closed the area off with all the secrecy surrounding anything SAC, and Dad, being the rep, got the charge of getting the fellow fixed up and on his way." Jim Cocks

"... Part of the preparation for such a confrontation [with Russia] was practicing to deliver a 'device' or a 'Shape' -- a nuclear warhead. As a ground attack specialist weapon, the F-84F would be called on to make the delivery. One of the illustrations depicts the unusual method employed for the drop."Bob Young

Photos courtesy of Bob Young.

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Publicity Photo of F-84F Weapons Options
F-84F "Over the Shoulder" Illustration

Contents Copyright 1997-1999 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved