The F-100 was the USAF's first
operational aircraft capable of flying faster than the speed of
sound (760 mph) in level flight. It made its initial flight on
May 25, 1953 and the first production aircraft was completed in
October 1953. The F-100C, which made its first flight in 1955, featured
such advances as an in-flight refueling system, provisions for
extra fuel drop tanks and bombs under the wings and an improved
electronic bombing system.
Designed originally to destroy enemy aircraft in aerial
combat, the F-100 later became a fighter-bomber. It made its
combat debut during the Vietnam conflict where it was assigned
the task of attacking such targets as bridges, river barges,
road junctions, and areas being used by infiltrating enemy
soldiers. North American built 2,294 F-100s before
production ended in 1959.