On June, 1953 at Batajnica airport landed a group of eight Thunderjets flown over from a base in West Germany. It was the beginning of the delivery under the agreement of military aid from West countries to Yugoslavia (Mutual Defense Aid Program - MDAP).

The then allies of the Balkan treaty, Greece and Turkey, got F-84G some time earlier, and on May 9,1952 the neighboring Italy was presented first 19 planes of this type.

The first eight F-84G for the 'Yugoslav Air Force were, according to the then ruling USAF standards in natural aluminum color, while the first part of the nose in front of the pilot was in olive drab (to avoid reflection).

Waiting to be started, Thunderjets of the so-called "panther" squadron, 1966

The planes had American markings of that period - on the wings there was asymmetrically placed inscription USAF and emblem USAF on the fuselage also. On the vertical stabilizer (tail) there was the inscription United States Air Force and serial number. The last three digits of that number were in combination with letters FS on the front part of the nose (so-called buzz-numbers) for example 52-29941 , FS-994. All the letter-number markings were in black color.

Some of the planes delivered in 1953 were painted in so-called arctic red paint scheme. Some surfaces of these Thunderjets were painted in red, such as the complete rear part of the plane, ailerons, some parts of wings and tip-tanks. Such paintings was kept also after putting Yugoslav markings instead of the American ones in accordance with the then existing way of marking: the roundel JRV (Yugoslav Air Force) was on the fuselage and on the lower surfaces of wings, diameter 50 cm, the Yugoslav flag was in the middle of the vertical stabilizer over the American serial number, while the black, two-digit small dimension squadron numbers were put on the nose, behind air-intake. Serial numbers of the Yugoslav Air Force (JRV) from 10501 onwards, were put over the tricolor flag, although in the beginning quite a number of the planes did not have them.

Some F.B4G were put into action unmarked, because after removing USAF markings did not get those of Yugoslav Air Force and a special "confusion" was created by those Thunderjets flown a short time with USAF markings.

This three Thunderjets showing lot of different details characteristic for late 50-ties such as: underbelly camera, remains of the "Artic red paint scheme" and small fuselage roundel


In the second half of the fifties fighters F-86E arrived and F-84G started to lose its role as a fighter and more and more was assuming a role as a fighter-bomber, and later on as a reconnaissance aircraft.

This process was quicken in the period 1959-60 with further acquisition of F-86E Sabre and by introducing them to aviation regiments instead of Thunderjets.

This period is characterized by acquisition of Thunderjets from the Greek Air Force, which had withdrawn, till the end of 1957 the greater part of their F-84G from the use after getting new F-86G Thunderstreaks.  These Thunderjets arrived (mainly) unpainted, as had been used in the Greek Air Force.


The new defense concept brings also the new camouflage painting for the F-84G and according to the aviation - technical regulation, it seems as follows:
- upper surfaces were to be in light gray - camouflage sports in dark green
- lower surfaces in light blue

Dark green surfaces were in form of big sports which were spreading across the fuselage and wings.

In the meantime also a strange scheme appeared in this period, where these camouflage spots were small, in shape of stains deposited asymmetrically over the whole upper surface of the plane and the bottom of the vertical stabilizer (this scheme is very evident in planes from the 88'" bomber regiment). The squadron numbers were black, and the rest of positions for marking were the same. This original painting did not stay for a long time, for later on a new type of painting was initiated: land forces camouflage painting, Which has brought also new colors to the scheme, so that the upper surfaces of the plane were painted in gull-gray with stains of olive-drab. The lower surfaces remained in light blue color. The squadron numbers, according to this new scheme, were white and 80 cm from the tip of intake. The scheme of camouflage spots initiated by this rule was not changed till the end of the sixties, although there were variations of spots in connection with where the plane was overhauled and by whom.

In the first half of the sixties it was again a specific variety of F-84G: on aprons there still were unpainted Thunderjets, and there were also those with the firs darker scheme. Some of them remained unpainted until 1965, and as such wont to the training center or were-scrapped.

An F-84G-26 RE from the 198th aviation regiment, with typical squadron-numbers used only with the 39th division at Skoplje, until the end of 1955

The last decade of use

During 1964 and 65 the units equipped with F-84G become restructured. In this period Thunderjets were grouped in two bigger aviation units to air support the land forces, one for Navy support and some were used also in training squadrons of the Air Force academy.

In the 1966 were introduced special badges as markings of membership to squadrons. Thus, the Thunderjets from the units containing the traditions of the 2"d squadron NOVJ (National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia), became "panthers" and "leopards" in this unit the badges were drawn by stencils, mainly on the place where usually used to be in the squadron number, although there were also "leopard" badges, which where drawn very near air-intake. F84-G marked in this way took part "debut-like" in a tactical exercise in autumn 1966.

In the unit, the follower of the war 423'd ground-attack regiment, on the Thunderjets were drawn badges with a tiger head, and this was done in front of the squadron number, seen from the top of the plane.To the other units, armed with F-84G were assigned symbols of sea-gulls, penguins and others, but their usage was no importance in comparison to the before-mentioned.

This system of marking was accepted immediately in all units. Some squadrons, which had attractive symbols, kept them longer in use. For instance, the tiger head symbol was shitted to Jastreb and Galeb, which were in the same unit, after withdrawal of F-84G.

In the period from 1968, gradual withdrawal from operational use of F-84G was initiated. Its place in Air Force and Air Defense (RV i PVO) was took by home-constructed Jastreb and Galeb. Still the aging Thunderjets did not give up: they play a significant role in "Sloboda 71" maneuver, having a white lightning drawn under the cabin as a mark of identification.

In the last period the use, at the beginning of the seventies the scheme of painting was somewhat changed (similar to that on Jastreb and Galeb) and the numbers were painted with new, smaller stencils (40 cm). The remaining of F-84G and RF-84G continued to fly in some squadrons till 1974, when the last 30 planes were withdrawn from use, and their post was taken by more up-to-date aircraft.


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