Republic YRF-84F ”Ficon” 49-2430
Photographed in the Research & Development Gallery of the National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, Ohio, on 7 September 2006.
The YRF-84F was the prototype of the standard USAF F-84F Thunderstreak. Originally designated the YF-96A, it consisted of an F-84E Thunderjet fuselage with swept-back wings and tail. As the YF-96A, it made its initial flight on June 3, 1950.
During the early 1950s, the Air Force decided to conduct experiments on the feasibility of B-36s carrying fighter aircraft suspended under their bellies. This would not only provide the bomber with its own fighter protection but would make it possible for the bomber to carry the fighter long distances to a combat zone. Upon reaching the edge of the enemy's territory, the fighter would be released to conduct reconnaissance or bombing missions on its own.
The YF-96A re-designated the YRF-84F Ficon (a combination of "Fighter" and "Conveyer") was designed so that it could be carried by a B-36. As the Ficon, it made its first flight on March 30, 1953; however, subsequent development of mid-air refuelling for range extension of fighter aircraft proved so successful that experiments with parasite fighters were discontinued.
Picture added on 19 February 2011 at 10:49