Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|Lockheed F-104G Starfighter|
|Role||Interceptor, tactical strike|
|First Flight||February 28, 1954 (XF-104)|
|Entered Service||January 1958|
|83 (initial model)|
|Length||16.66 m||54 ft 8 in|
|Wingspan||6.63 m||21 ft 9 in|
|Height||4.12 m||13 ft 6 in|
|Wing area||18.22 m²||196.1 ft²|
|Empty||6,361 kg||13,996 lb|
|Loaded||9,381 kg||20,640 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||13,199 kg||29,038 lb|
|Engines||one General Electric J79-GE-11|
|Thrust||70.3 kN (each)||15,800 lbf (each)|
|Maximum speed||2,135 km/h||1,328 mph|
|Operational range||1,738 km||1,080 miles|
|Service ceiling||15,240 m||50,000 ft|
|Rate of climb||255 m/min||48,000 ft/min|
|Armament||One M61 20 mm gun; max weapons load approx. 1,800 kg, including 2 AIM-9 Sidewinders and B43 or B61 free-fall nuclear store|
Kelly Johnson, Lockheed Company's famed designer, created a new single-seat fighter design for use in the Korean conflict by the US Air Force. Following comments he gathered during interviews with aircrews flying in Korea, he made it small and relatively light, with a massive, powerful engine - a combination which would make it very fast and very capable as an interceptor. The first XF-104 prototype was first flown on 7 February 1954, but nearly four years of development took place before the US Air Force began using the aircraft. During this time the US Air Force became disinterested in fighters of the F-104's class, and they purchased less than 300 of them. However, several other allied countries, under the leadership of West Germany, decided to manufacture an improved version for themselves. Production began in no fewer than six locations, including Belgium (SABCA), Canada (Canadair), Italy (Fiat), Japan (Mitsubishi), the Netherlands (Fokker) and West Germany (Messerschmitt). When production ended, just under 2,300 additional F-104s had been built by other nations.
The model saw limited success in Vietnam as escort fighter and fighter/bomber. Because of its limited range and warload it was soon replaced by the much more powerful McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-104 was phased out of US Air Force service in 1975. The Aeronautica Militare Italiana was the last Starfighter operator, phasing out it's final F-104S Starfighters on May 30, 2004 during a spectacular farewell ceremony held on Pratica de Mare airbase.
Following two XF-104 prototypes (powered by the non-afterburning J65-B-3 turbojet, later replaced by te afterburning J65-W-7) and 17 pre-production YF-104s, the F-104A was the initial production version acquired by the USAF's Air Defence Command (ADC). Powered by the J79-GE-3B turbojet rated at 65.8 kN and fitted with strengthened fuselage and a boundary layer control (BLC) system, utilising bleed air from the engine, blown over the flaps whenever they were lowered more than 15 degrees. This helped to reduce the landingspeed and to improve the manoeuvrability, in spite of the Starfighter's small wings. Initially armed a single T171 gun (soon replaced by the much modified and improved M61A1 Vulcan gun) and two wingtip mounted AIM-9B Sidewinders. The downward firing Lockheed C-1 ejection seat was soon replaced by the upward firing C-2 seat. A number of NF-104As were fitted with auxiliary Rocketdyne LR121/AR-2-NA-1 27 kN rocket booster and used in astronaut training. Twenty-four F-104As were converted in QF-104A target drones, the JQF-104A designation being applied for temporary development duties.
Two seat training version of the F-104A with a larger tail, powered by the same J79-GE-3B turbojet as found in the F-104A. The F-104B lacked the canon armament but retained the AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. A total of 26 were ordered by the US Air Force, the first making its maiden flight on January 16, 1957.
First flown on July 24, 1958, the F-104C was developed as nuclear strike bomber for the US Air Force's Tactical Air Command. Powered by J79-GE-7A which had a lower fuel consumption and was higher rated at 70.29 kN. A total of 77 were purchased by the USAF. The model saw limeted success in Vietnam as escort fighter and fighter/bomber. Because of its limited range and warload it was soon replaced by the much more powerful McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-104 was phased out of US Air Force in 1975.
Two seat training version with the armament, engine and flight-refuelling capability of the F-104C and with strengthened canopy to provide better protection against bird strikes. Maiden flight October 31, 1958, 21 ordered by the US Air Force. Built by Mitsubishi in Japan as F-104DJ, using Lockheed components. Initially delivered to Canadian Armed Forces as CF-113, later redesignated CF-104D. Last 16 delivered as CF-104D Mk. II.
As F-104D, interim version for the F-104G, pending its. Powered by the J79-GE-11A turbojet rated at 70.3 kN. Without the F-104G's strengthened airframe and avionics, the F-104F's thrust-to-weight ration was one of the highest of all the Starfighter models.
Major upgraded model, designed for the Luftwaffe. Based on the F-104C, however with structural strengthening, uprated J79-MTU-1K engine, new avionics suite including the F15A NASARR radar, Martin Baker GQ-7A ejection seat and increased manoeuvrability due to the flaps that could partially be extended during combat. The CF-104 or CF-111 is a licence built version of the F-104G, powered by license built Orenda Engines J79-OEL-7 turbojets rated at 70.3 kN. The RF-104G was a reconnaissance version of the F-104G with three built-in camera's, while the TF-104G was a two seat training version of the F-104G. The RF-104G(T) was a reconnaissance upgrade with a longer nose, developed for Taiwan.
"S for Sparrow" version designed and built (by Fiat) for the Italian Air Force, powered by the J79-GE-19 rated at 79.3 kN. It was optimised for interception and capable of firing the beyond-visual-range AIM-7E Sparrow, its license built version Selenia Aspide and the all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder. External differences with the F-104G are the two ventral fins instead of one. Of the 246 F-104Ss that were built, 147 were modified from 1985 on into F-104S ASA (Aggiornamento Sistemi d'Arma). Some of the ASA upgraded aircraft underwent another modification turning them into F-104S ASA/Ms.
Projects and special mods
An all-weather day and night reconnaissance development of the TF-104G which was proposed to meet a Luftwaffe requirement. The RTF-104G1 was to carry photographic cameras, infrared sensors, and was to be equipped with sideways-looking radar. The RTF-104G1 was not proceeded with because the Luftwaffe selected the RF-4E Phantom II for this mission.
The Zero Length Launch (ZELL) modification, equipped with a Rocketdyne 274 kN solid rocket booster. The modifications was considered to provide a nuclear strike capability after NATO runways had been destroyed. Developed by Lockheed in 1963. Tests were conducted from Edwards AFB (USA) and from 1966 onward in from Lechfeld (Germany). After the J79 reached full after burning thrust, the Rocketdyne rocket was fired. Within eight seconds the F-104G reached a speed of 270 knots (approx. 500 km/h). The rocket pack was jettisoned after take-off. The downward firing Lockheed C-2 ejection seat was replaced by a upward firing Martin-Baker GQ7(A) ejection seat. The German Luftwaffe, which used the F-104G as a low level attack plane, eventually decided to have the seats replaced with a seat of Martin-Baker design. Eventually cancelled due to high cost.
A single Luftwaffe F-104G, 98+36 (ex 23+91), was heavily modified to become a Control Configured Vehicle. The aircraft, designated F-104G/CCV, was fitted with two horizontal stabilizers in order to do research on future aerodynamically unstable aircraft. It first flew as such on 20 November 1980.
A projected simplified version of the F-104G with less sophisticated and less costly equipment. It was designed for export to nations which wanted a Mach 2-capable fighter but which could not afford the full-blown all-weather F-104G version. An optical gunsight was to be fitted in place of the NASARR of the F-104G. A two-seat version was also proposed, which was to be designated TF-104H. Very little interest was expressed by anyone for the F-104H or the TF-104H, and neither version ever got past the initial design stage.
- Main article: Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer
Lockheed company proposal for European Starfighter variant, of which two prototypes were built. The aircraft had the same basic structure as the F-104, but had a low-set tailplane and a high wing. The first version was to be the CL-1200-1, still with the now well- proven J79-GE-19 engine. The more advanced CL-1200-2 was to be powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 or F100-PW-100 turbofans, which generated 60% more thrust than the J79. This gave a capacity more than double of the F-104G and the take-off distance was halved. Cancelled after losing the International Fighter Aircraft competition to the F-5E Tiger II.
The CL-282 intended as a high-altitude covert reconnaissance aircraft to overfly the Soviet Union. Kelly Johnson began a study to modify the F-104 into a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, the CL-282. It married the F-104 fuselage with a high aspect ratio wing and a new J73 (later J57) engine. To save weight, the CL-282 had no landing gear and was supposed to land on its belly skid. Cancelled in favour of the Lockheed U-2 Black Lady.
Lockheed model designators
Lockheed company designator for XF-104.
Lockheed company designator for YF-104A and F-104A.
Lockheed company designator for F-104B.
Lockheed company designator for F-104D.
Lockheed company designator for F-104C.
Lockheed company designator for F-104F.
Lockheed company designator for CF-104D.
Lockheed company designator for F-104DJ.
Lockheed company designator for TF-104G.
Lockheed company designator for RF-104G.
Lockheed company designator for CF-104.
Lockheed company designator for F-104G.
Lockheed company designator for F-104J.
Lockheed company designator for F-104S.
- Germany (German Air Force and German Navy)
- Spain as C.8 and CE.8
- US Air Force
- From US Air Force to Jordan,
- From German Air Force to National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- From Spain to US Air Force to Turkey, Greece
- From Taiwan to Jordan
- From Canada, German Air Force, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, US Air Force to Taiwan
- From Jordan to Pakistan
This Norwegian CF-104D at Bodo is restored to flying condition
Republic of China Air Force TF-104G
- Airforce Magazine F-104 Special
- Website about the German F-104
- Lockheed F-104 Starfighter - Wikipedia
- Harry's Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Site. History, Photographs and Video's of the Plane.
- The International F-104 Society
- F-104 ejection seats
- Air International, Special Supplement
- J. Baugher website