The RF-84F Thunderflash was a photo reconnaissance version of the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak.
The engine air intake ducts were located in the wing roots of the RF-84F rather than in the nose section. The elongated and enclosed nose contained 15 cameras: six standard forward-facing, one triMetrogen horizon-to-horizon, and eight in oblique and vertical positions for target closeups. The RF-84F featured many firsts: the Tri-Metrogen camera, a computerized control system based on light, speed, and altitude, it adjusted camera settings to produce pictures with greater delineation and a vertical view finder with a periscopic presentation on the cockpit panel to enhance visual reconnaissance. Talking into a wire recorder, the pilot could describe ground movements that might not appear in still pictures.
Gathering information about an enemy's activities, location and equipment was one of the RDAF Squadron 729's most recognized contribution within NATO circles. The Squadron were monitoring the ship traffic during the Cuba crisis in early 1960s, but it continued throughout the time of the Cold War years.
WAPA (Warshaw Pact) shipyards was largely located in the Baltic ports and we therefore had good odds to be the first to get pictures of them when they sailed through Danish/International waters on their way to the Atlantic from the Baltic Sea.The sea lanes were patrolled for intelligence purposes and there was some interesting traffic. All Warshaw Pact (WAPA) naval vessels, merchant ships from the Eastern Bloc - especially with deck cargo - would be photgraphed and the ship's position and direction of travel was reported. A recce mission could fly east of Bornholm (Danish Island in the Baltic Sea) for observation of WAPA fleet traffic, sometimes at a minimum height of 50 feet if necessary. The WAPA vessels would have their radar guided AA guns locked on the Thunderflash and ready to shoot.
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