Republic F-84G Thunderjet
Single engine fighter-bomber
As of early 1952 the Belgian Air Force took on charge no less than 213 Republic F-84G fighter-bombers for its 2nd, 9th and 10th Wings as well as N° 42 recce Squadron. The first 140 aircraft were delivered by ship at Karup (Denmark) were the aircraft were prepared for the ferry flight to Belgium. Thunderjets FZ-141 up to FZ-161 were flown in from the United States to be accepted at Melsbroek airbase. The other fighters were all former USAF machines that underwent deep maintenance at Sabca (Haren) before being delivered to the Belgian Air Force. Some of the machines had the necessary wiring to be used as reconnaissance aircraft using specially modified wing-tip tanks equipped with cameras. These recce planes (FZ-187, -188, -189, -191, -192, -203, -204 and -205) all served with "C" flight of N° 2 Squadron (RAF) later to become N° 42 Squadron (BAF). Already in 1956/57 the majority of the Thunderjets was replaced by the vastly improved F-84F Thunderstreak in the framework of "Operation Swapshop". The Thunderjet is really the icon of the cold war when a tiny country such as Belgium could rely on no less than 29 squadrons. Because the F-84G's were delivered in the framework of the Mutual Defence Aid Programme (MDAP) most of these aircraft had a second career in other NATO countries such as Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Turkey and such exotic places as Yugoslavia and even Thailand.