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Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Republic XF-91 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The museum’s XF-91 in its original configuration. The Thunderceptor’s wing had an inverse taper (meaning it was wider at the tips than at the roots). Also, the angle of the wing could be varied up or down in flight (up for takeoff and landing and down for high-speed flight). (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The museum’s XF-91 in its original configuration. The Thunderceptor’s wing had an inverse taper (meaning it was wider at the tips than at the roots). Also, the angle of the wing could be varied up or down in flight (up for takeoff and landing and down for high-speed flight). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Both XF-91s received modifications during the test program. The museum’s aircraft (left) incorporated a radar nose and revised intake, while the other XF-91 (right) tested a “V-tail.” (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Both XF-91s received modifications during the test program. The museum’s aircraft (left) incorporated a radar nose and revised intake, while the other XF-91 (right) tested a “V-tail.” (U.S. Air Force photo)

Originally conceived in the mid-1940s as an interceptor, the XF-91 was America’s first rocket-powered fighter to fly faster than the speed of sound. The Thunderceptor’s rocket engine supplemented its main turbojet engine, greatly increasing the aircraft’s speed and climb rate. With its afterburning turbojet and rocket engine in operation, the XF-91 possessed a remarkable climb rate of nearly 30,000 feet per minute.

Republic built two prototype XF-91s -- the museum’s aircraft was the first one built, and it first flew in May 1949. Although the F-91 fighter program was canceled due to lack of funding, the prototypes were extensively tested and modified. The Museum’s XF-91, the only remaining example, was transferred from Edwards AFB, Calif., in 1955.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engines:
General Electric J47 of 6,700 lbs. thrust with afterburner and Reaction Motors rocket of 6,000 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 984 mph
Cruising speed: 560 mph
Service ceiling: 48,700 feet
Weight: 28,300 lbs. loaded

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery.

 

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