An XP-84 Thunderjet prototype was first flown in 1946 and reached a top speed of 607.2 mph, making it the fastest American-designed aircraft of the time. These prototypes were followed by the production of fifteen YP-84A models, one of which is displayed here, that included a slightly improved engine, armament of six machine guns, and wingtip fuel tanks.
Beginning with the B-models, this aircraft family was re-designated as F-84 Thunderjets by the U. S. Air Force.
The Thunderjet experienced issues early on, but was perfected with the F-84G production model, the first single-seat fighter to carry a nuclear weapon. F-84 models were used during the Korean War, but were pulled from head-to-head action and transferred to ground strike operations because of its poor performance against the Soviet flown MiG-15 fighters.
This aircraft, s/n 45-59494, is painted and marked in the scheme of the Thunderbirds, the U. S. Air Force's flight demonstration team. While this model was not the same used by the team, the F-84G and F-84F Thunderflash fighters were employed instead. During its flight history, the aircraft seen here was only stationed at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and the Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois.