The Planes You’ve Probably Never Seen Before

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The Century Series project is a way of thinking about research, development, manufacturing, and airplanes in service. The shapes of these planes are also instantly recognizable. 

Learn more about the final entries of the Century Series: the F-105, F-106, and the elusive F-107.

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief

This plane was an internal Republic Aviation project that set out to replace their outdated RF-84F Thunderflash. 

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The F-105B entered service in the summer of 1958. It was nicknamed the ‘Thud’ after the character Chief Thunderthud from the “Howdy Doody” TV series. 

It carried a 20mm M61 Gatling-type cannon. The plane operated extensively in Operation Rolling Thunder in the air campaign against North Vietnam. 

Convair F-106 Delta Dart

Another plane in the Century Series is the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, the final development of the USAF’s interceptor program in the early 1950s. 

The F-106 was designed without a gun or even a way to carry bombs. Its main armament was missiles that were carried in an internal weapons bay for clean supersonic flight. 

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It was also equipped with four AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles and a single 1.5 kiloton MB-2 Gene unguided air-to-air rocket to be fired in Soviet bomber formations. Many pilots simply refer to it as “The Six.” 

North American F-107 

Finally, the last jet is the North American F-107. The plane was North American Aviation’s entry to an Air Force tactical fighter-bomber design competition in the 1950s. 

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The F-107 made its first flight on September 10, 1956, hitting Mach 1.3 and Mach 2 later in November.