Service history of F-104
The service history of the Starfighter by nation
Beginning in February of 1963, the Force Aerienne Belge (Belgian Air Force) received a total of 100 SABCA-built F-104G (including 25 from MAP funding) and twelve Lockheed-built TF-104Gs (three of them from MAP funding). They were assigned to four squadrons, the 23 squadron and 31 squadron (both of 10 Wing) at Kleine Brogel and the 349 squadron and s50 Squadron (both of 1 Wing) at Beauvechain (Bevekom). 1 Wing was an all-weather air defense organization whereas 10 Wing was a tactical strike/fighter-bomber unit. Serials were FC01/FC12 for the Lockheed-supplied TF-104G and FX1 through FX100 for the SABCA-built F-104G. An extra F-104G was built to replace FX-27 which crashed before delivery but was given the same serial number.
The Starfighters remained in service with the FAB (Force Aerienne Belge) until the 1980s when they were replaced by General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcons. First to convert was 1 Wing which transferred its F-104Gs to 10 Wing pending that outfit's receipt of its own F-16s. The last Starfighter left Belgian service in September of 1983. A total of 41 Belgian Starfighters, including three TF-104G, were lost in accidents, or nearly 37 percent of the force. 18 Belgian F-104G were later transferred to Turkey.
The following FAB units operated the Starfighter:
1 Wing, Beauvechain: All-weather Air Defense: 349 Squadron (mid-1963 to July 1979) and 350 Squadron (April 1963 to April 1981)
10 Wing, Klein Brogel: Tactical Strike/Fighter-Bomber: 23 Squadron (April 1964 to mid-1982 and 31 (Tiger) Squadron (mid-1964 to early 1983)
List of Belgium Air Force serial numbers - from BELGIAN MILITARY AIRCAFT DATABASE, dedicated to the BAF
CF-104 from Canada
On July 2, 1959, it was announced that Canada had chosen the F-104 Starfighter as the replacement for the Sabre Mk.6 in service with the RCAF's European Air Division. However, since the Canadian government wanted equipment to be fitted that was specific to RCAF requirements, it opted to manufacture the aircraft under license in a Canadian factory rather than to buy the aircraft outright from Lockheed. On August 14, it was announced that Canadair of Montreal had been selected to manufacture 200 aircraft for the RCAF under license from Lockheed. In addition, Canadair was to manufacture wings, tail assemblies, and rear fuselage sections for 66 Lockheed-built Starfighter that were destined for the West German Luftwaffe. The license production contract was signed on September 17, 1959.
The Canadian-built Starfighter was initially designated CF-111 by the RCAF, but this was later changed to CF-104. They were designated CL-90 by the Canadair factory.
The CF-104 was basically similar to the F-104G, but was fitted with equipment specialized for RCAF requirements. It differed from the F-104G in being optimized for the nuclear strike role rather than being a multi-mission aircraft. The F-104G was fitted with NASARR F15A-41B equipment which was optimized for both air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, but the CF-104 was fitted with R-24A NASARR equipment which was dedicated to the air-to-ground mode only. The main undercarriage was fitted with longer-stroke liquid springs and carried larger tires. The CF-104 also differed from the F-104G in retaining the removable refueling probe that was fitted to the F-104C and F-104D of the USAF. Another difference from the F-104G was the ability of the CF-104 to carry a ventral reconnaissance pod equipped with four Vinten cameras. The 20-mm M61A1 cannon and its associated ammunition were initially omitted from the CF-104, and an additional fuel cell was fitted in their place.
In parallel with the production of the Starfighter by Canadair, Orenda Engines, Ltd. acquired a license to build the J-79 engine which was to power it. The CF-104 was powered by a Canadian-built J-79-OEL-7 rated at 10,000 lb.s.t. dry and 15,800 lb.s.t. with afterburning.
Lockheed sent F-104A-15-LO serial number 56-0770 to Canada to act as a pattern aircraft for CF-104 manufacture. It was later fitted with CF-104 fire control systems and flight control equipment (but not the strengthened airframe of the true F-104G) and turned over to the RCAF, where it was assigned the serial number of 12700. The first Canadair-constructed CF-104 (RCAF serial number 12701) was airlifted to Palmdale, California in the spring of 1961, where it made its first flight on May 26. The second CF-104 (12702) also made its first flight at Palmdale. The first two CF-104 to fly at Montreal were Nos. 12703 and 12704, which both took to the air on August 14, 1961.
CF-104s were initially assigned Canadian serials 12701 through 12900. On May 18, 1970, they were reserialed as 104701 through 104900. The Lockheed-built F-104A pattern aircraft was reserialled from 12700 to 104700.
The 200th and last CF-104 (No. 12900) was completed on September 4, 1963 and delivered to the RCAF on January 10, 1964. Many early production aircraft were modified to the standard of the last production machines. Following the delivery of the last CF-104, Canadair switched to the manufacture of F-104Gs for delivery to NATO allies under the provisions of MAP.
Beginning in December of 1962, the RCAF used its CF-104 to equip eight European-based squadrons of its 1 Air Division. Other CF-104s were assigned to the 6 OTU based at Cold Lake, Alberta. Apart from the operational conversion unit established at Cold Lake, Alberta in late 1961 (eventually redesignated 417 Squadron), RCAF CF-104s were all committed to the support of NATO's nuclear deterrent mission in Europe. 427 Squadron was the first to form, with initial deliveries to Zweibrucken in December of 1962. In February of 1964, even before France withdrew from NATO in 1966, 2 Wing at Grostenquin was disbanded, and its 2 CF-104 squadrons were transferred elsewhere, 421 moving to 4 Wing at Baden-Sollingen and 430 moving to Zweibrucken. The RCAF's other French base at Marville was closed by March of 1967, and its two CF-104 reconnaissance squadrons (439 and 441) moved to Lahr in Germany. 434 and 444 Squadrons were disbanded in 1967-1968, reducing CF-104 strength to four nuclear strike squadrons and two tactical reconnaissance squadrons.
In May of 1969, 3 Wing at Zweibrucken was closed, and 427 Squadron was relocated to Baden and 430 to Lahr.
In 1970, the Canadian government decided to reduce the strength of the Air Division to only 3 squadrons and to relinquish its nuclear strike role in favor of conventional attack by 1972. By January of 1972, the CF-104 had been converted from their nuclear role to that of conventional ground attack. A 20-mm Vulcan cannon was installed, and the fairing was removed from the cannon port. Twin bomb ejector rack carriers and multi-tube rocket launchers were installed.
In 1972, 1 Air Division was redesignated 1 Canadian Air Group with headquarters at Baden-Sollingen. Lahr was closed, and 422, 427 and 430 Squadrons were disbanded. 439 and 441 replaced all but 421 Squadron in 3 and 4 Wings at Baden. Of the remaining 3 squadrons, 421 was committed to converting to ground attack roles, together with 431 Squadron, leaving only 441 Squadron to continue tactical reconnaissance missions with the Vinten VICON underfuselage camera pod.
A number of former Canadian Forces single-seat CF-104 fighter-bombers and CF-104D two-seat trainers were transferred to Denmark and Norway after having been brought up to F-104G/TF-104G standards. By the end of 1980, these transfers along with attrition had brought European-based RCAF strength down to only 3 Starfighter squadrons. These were 421, 439 and 441, all based at Baden-Soellingen in West Germany. At that time 417 Squadron at Cold Lake was still functioning as a CF-104 Operational Conversion Unit.
Beginning in 1983, the CF-104 Starfighter were replaced in Canadian Armed Forces service by McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornets. The last CF-104 was phased out by 441 Squadron on March 1, 1986. Canada then offered Turkey an initial batch of 20 CF-104, later increased to 50, including six CF-104D. Thirty of these were sent to MBB at Manching in Germany in March of 1986 for overhaul before being transferred to Turkey. The remainder were broken down for spares.
About 110 CF-104/CF-104D were lost in accidents, out of 238 delivered-a loss rate of no less than 46 percent.
The following Canadian Armed Forces units operated the CF-104:
Central Experimental and Proving Establishment/Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment, Cold Lake, Alberta (1962). To 6 Strike-Recce OTU, reformed as 417 Operational Training Squadron (1962-1983)
No 421 (Red Indian) Squadron, 2 Wing, Grostenquin/Baden-Sollingen Dec 1963 to Dec 1985
No 422 (Tomahawk) Squadron, 4 Wing, Baden-Sollingen, July 1963 to 1972
No 427 (Lion) Squadron, 3 Wing, Zweibrucken/Baden-Sollingen, Oct 1962 to 1972
No 430 (Silver Falcon) Squadron, 2 Wing, Grostenquin/Lahr, September 1963 to 1972
No 434 (Bluenose) Squadron, 3 Wing, Zweibrucken, April 1963 to March 1967
No 439 (Sabre-Toothed Tiger) Squadron, 1 Wing, Marville/Baden-Sollingen, March 1964 to April 1987
No 441 (Silver Fox) Squadron, 1 Wing, Marville/Baden-Sollingen, September 1963 to Feb 1986
No 444 (Cobra) Squadron, 4 Wing, Baden-Sollingen, May 1963 to 1967
RCAF serials of CF-104 12701/12900, Canadair CF-104 c/n 1001/1200, reserialed 104701/104900 in 1970.
Specification of the CF-104:
One Orenda Engines-built J79-OEL-7 rated at 10,000 lb.s.t. dry and 15,800 lb.s.t. with afterburning. Maximum speed (dash): 1550 mph (Mach 2.35) at 40,000 feet, 915 mph (Mach 1.2) at sea level. Climb to 30,000 feet in 1.5 minutes. Weights were 13,909 pounds empty, 21,005 pounds loaded (clean), 28,891 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions were wingspan 21 feet 11 inches, length 54 feet 9 inches, height 13 feet 6 inches, wing area 196.1 square feet. External stores could be carried on five hardpoints (one underneath the fuselage, one underneath each wing, and one at each wingtip).
CF-104D two-seater for Canada
Lockheed built 38 two-seat trainer versions of the TF-104G Starfighter for the Royal Canadian Air Force. These aircraft were similar to the TF-104Gs built by Lockheed for other NATO allies, but were powered by Canadian-built J79-OEL-7 engines. They were given the Lockheed designation of Model 583-04-15, and were initially designated CF-113 in Canadian service. However, this designation was later changed to CF-104D. No CF-104Ds were built in Canada.
The first CF-104D made its maiden flight on June 14, 1961. The last 16 aircraft on the order had slightly different equipment and were designated CF-104D Mk. II. The CF-104Ds were initially given the serials 12631 through 12668, but on May 18, 1970 they were reserialed as 104631 through 104668.
In 1971-1973, seven former Canadian Forces CF-104D were transferred to Denmark after having brought up to TF-104G standards. In 1973, two other CF104D were transferred to Norway. Following their withdrawal from CAF service, six CF-104D were transferred to Turkey following an overhaul in Germany.
Serials of Lockheed CF-104D: 12631/12668, Lockheed CF-104D c/n 583A-5301/5338, reserialed 104631 through 104668 in 1970.
In 1962 it was decided that the Kongelige Danske Flyvevaben (Royal Danish Air Force) received 25 Canadian-built F-104G and 4 Lockheed-built TF-104Gs through the US Mutual Aid Program. These equipped two units (Esk 723 and Esk 726), both based at Aalborg. Delivery of the first 8 F-104Gs and 2 TF-104Gs started in November 1964. In fact, the aircraft were delivered by ship and then towed from the harbor to Aalborg Air Base where they were thoroughly checked before entering service in December 1964. The F-104 was officially handed over to the RDAF on June 29, 1965.
ESK726 became the first Danish F-104 squadron in December 1964 with Esk 723 following suit in September 1965. Initially, training was carried out in Esk 726 only, but this was changed later on.
During the first years of operational service the maintainers worked hard to produce the number of required flight hours. Lack of spare parts necessitated cannibalization of two F-104Gs, R-699 and R-700.
Attrition was made up by the transfer in 1972-74 of 22 ex-Canadian Forces Starfighters (15 CF-104 and 7 CF-104D). The CF-104D were specially modified for use by Esk 726 in the electronics countermeasures role.
Since the TF/F-104G supplied under the MAP programme were supposed to be returned to the US once their service in the RDAF was over, the first Danish F-104s to be retired were the CF-104s and CF-104Ds. This way the RDAF could continue to use the TF/F-104G operationally and then use the CF-104 and CF-104Ds as sources for spare parts. All CF-104s and CF-104Ds were retired by January 1985.
Esk 723 was disbanded on January 1, 1983. The F-104 was eventually retired on April 30, 1986, marked with a 5-ship flyby over Aalborg AB. The TF/F-104Gs supplied under the MAP programme were all returned to the US. Some were later passed on to the Republic of China Air Force. The Starfighter were then retired with the exception of four aircraft retained for target-towing duty.
Of the 51 Starfighter operated by the RDAF between 1965 and 1986, 12 were lost in accidents, a rate of 23.5 percent. The surviving Lockheed-built MAP-funded F-104G and 3 TF-104G were transferred to Taiwan in 1987.
RDAF units using the Starfighter:
Esk 723, Aalborg, 1965 to January 1, 1983
Esk 726, Aalborg, 1956 to April 30, 1986
List of Danish Air Force serial numbers - from Milfly.net, a web site dedicated to RDAF aircraft
The Luftwaffe was the primary user of the Starfighter, operating over thirty-five percent of all F-104s built. Luftwaffe F-104G came from all five production lines of the Starfighter consortium. The West German Luftwaffe received a total of 916 Starfighter: 30 F-104F, 96 F-104G, and 136 TF-104G from Lockheed; 255 F/RF-104G from the North Group; 210 F-104G from the South Group; 88 F-104G from the West Group; 50 F/RF-104G from the Italian Group; plus 50 replacement F-104G from MBB to replace some of those lost in crashes.
At their peak in the mid-1970s, Starfighter equipped five nuclear-armed Luftwaffe Fighter-Bomber wings, two Interceptor wings, and two Reconnaissance wings. In addition, two Attack wings of the Marineflieger (Federal German Navy) were equipped with Starfighter.
The first German Starfighter were the Lockheed-built two-seat F-104F which were initially used in the USA to train German instructors. At that time, the F-104F were painted with standard USAF insignia and carried USAF serial numbers. These machines were then handed over to Waffenschule 10, which was based at Norvenich in Germany. After handover, they were repainted in Luftwaffe insignia and assigned German serial numbers. They began converting pilots for JaboG 31 in July of 1960.
The first operational unit to be equipped with the F-104G was Jagdbombergeschwader 31 "Boelcke" (JaboG 31), also based at Norvenich. JaboG 31 became fully operational in 1963. Other Jagdbombergeschwader (Fighter-Bomber wings) to receive the F-104G were JaboG 32 at Lechfeld, JaboG 33 at Buchel, JaboG 34 at Memmingen and JaboG 36 at Rheine-Hopsten. Two Fighter wings (Jagdgeschwader) received the F-104G: JG 71 at Wittmundhafen and JG 74 at Neuburg. Two Aufklärungsgeschwader (reconnaissance wings) received the RF-104G: AG 51 at Ingolstadt/Manching and AG 52 at Leck. In addition, two Marinefliegergeschwader of the Bundesmarine (West German Navy) received F-104G. These were MFG 1 at Schleswig and MFG 2 at Eggebek. They operated in the armed reconnaissance and anti-shipping strike roles.
With new aircraft being delivered almost daily to the new Luftwaffe, a massive pilot training was required in order to get them into service quickly. Northern European weather and operational restrictions placed severe limitations on the amount of training that could be done in Germany. The immediate answer was to set up a Luftwaffe training operation in the southwestern United States, where there was a lot of space, where the air was clear, and where the weather was good most of the time. Many Luftwaffe Starfighter remained in the United States and were stationed at Luke AFB in Arizona for pilot training. They were assigned to the 4512th, 4518th and 4443rd Combat Crew Training Squadrons of the USAF. Although remaining Luftwaffe property, these aircraft carried USAF insignia and were assigned USAF serial numbers. Final F-104G training for the European environment was done at the Waffenschule 10 at Jever.
In Luftwaffe service, the F-104G got a bad reputation because of the large number of accidents, many of them resulting in fatalities. Intensive flying operations with the Starfighter did not start in Germany until 1961, when only two crashes took place. There were seven crashes in 1962, 12 in 1964, and 28 in 1965, or more than two a month. By mid-1966, 61 German Starfighter had crashed, with a loss of 35 pilots. At the height of the crisis, the Starfighter accident rate peaked at 139 per 100,000 flying hours. As a result, the German press went into a feeding frenzy and the F-104G was given derogatory nicknames such as the "Flying Coffin" or the "Widowmaker", which brings to mind all of the flak that surrounded the Martin B-26 Marauder during World War 2. One running joke at the time was that if you waited long enough, just about every square mile of Germany would have a Starfighter crash onto it. The press left many people with the impression that there was something intrinsically wrong with the F-104G, that it was just too difficult an airplane to fly for the new and relatively inexperienced Luftwaffe pilots. The high loss rate generated a flurry of criticism of the Bonn government, some critics claiming that the entire Starfighter program had been politically-motivated and should be cancelled outright.
During its period of service with the German armed forces, about 270 German Starfighter were lost in accidents, just under 30 percent of the total force. About 110 pilots were killed. However, the attrition rate in German service was not all that much greater than that of the F-104 in service with several other air forces, including the United States Air Force. Canada had the unenviable record of losing over 50 percent of its 200 single-seat CF-104s in flying accidents. The loss rate of Luftwaffe Starfighter was not all that extraordinary, since the Luftwaffe had suffered a 36 percent attrition rate with the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, the Starfighter's immediate predecessor. There was nothing intrinsically dangerous about the Starfighter, since the Royal Norwegian Air Force operating identical F-104G suffered only six losses in 56,000 flying hours, and the Spanish Air Force lost not a single one of its Starfighter to accidents.
Nevertheless, some of the Luftwaffe crashes could indeed be traced to technical problems with the F-104G itself. Engine problems, including difficulties with the J-79's variable afterburner nozzle, and contamination of the Starfighter's liquid oxygen system causing loss of consciousness of the pilot were listed as contributing factors in some of the accidents. There were also problems with the automatic pitch-up limiter during high-speed low-altitude flying and in tight turns, resulting in its temporary removal, with accompanying restrictions on the maneuverability.
However, the high rate of crashes while in Luftwaffe service could be blamed more on the hazards of flying low-altitude missions at high speeds in the bad weather of Northern Europe than on any intrinsic flaw with the F-104G. Human error was probably the major cause of the majority of the accidents. The Starfighter required 38-45 hours of maintenance for every hour in the air, and many of the Luftwaffe ground crew personnel were conscripts who were probably too hastily trained. In addition, German Starfighter pilots were only flying 13-15 hours a month, compared with the NATO average of about 20 hours. Another factor may have been the fact that the initial training of Luftwaffe aircrews took place in the USA rather than in Germany. The reason given for training Luftwaffe pilots in the USA rather than in Germany was that the clear air and good flying weather in the American Southwest was much more conducive to pilot training than was the often lousy weather of Northern Europe. However, one might fairly point out that were war to break out, the actual fighting would be done in the nasty weather of Europe rather than in the clear desert air of the American West. The sudden transition from the clear desert skies of Arizona to the winter skies of northern Europe may have been another factor in the rash of crashes.
At the height of the Starfighter political crisis in mid-1966, the Luftwaffe chief, General Wernher Panitzki, was forced to resign after he had criticized the FRG's Starfighter procurement program as being politically-motivated. His successor was the World War II ace Lieutenant General Johannes Steinhoff, who had flown Me 262 jets during the war. Steinhoff had not initially been a Starfighter booster, and he had complained about the Bonn Defence Ministry's failure to implement the recommendations of his 1964 report on F-104G survival measures. One of Steinhoff's first moves was to review the F-104G's ejection system to enhance the probability of a successful escape by a pilot at low level. The Lockheed C-2 ejection seat initially fitted to the F-104G had been fitted with a more powerful Talley Corp 10100 rocket booster by November 1966 to give it true zero-zero capability. However, it was found that the Talley rockets had a destabilizing effect after ejection, and had to be removed. After the German Starfighter had to be grounded once again for fixes to the C-2 seats in December of 1966, it was decided to switch over to Martin-Baker Mk GQ7A Zero-Zero ejection seats. A contract was signed on March 8, 1967 to re-equip the entire German F-104G force with the Martin-Baker seats. This took about a year to get done. The first successful use of a GQ7 seat to escape from a German F-104G took place during a ground-level overshoot at Ramstein on September 24, 1968.
Another part of the program to reduce the Starfighter accident rate was the revision of the training techniques and procedures. It soon began to pay off. The Starfighter accident rate dropped by about half in 1968. However, this was only temporary, and between 15 and 20 Starfighter crashed every year between 1968 and 1972. Crashes continued at a rate of 9 to 11 aircraft per year until the early 1980s, when all German F-104Gs began to be replaced by Tornados.
In the nuclear role, the Luftwaffe F-104G could carry a single 1 Megaton B-43 nuclear store underneath the fuselage on the centerline. A maximum of 250 Luftwaffe Starfighter were committed to NATO's nuclear forces. At the height of the Cold War, each of the Fighter-Bomber wings maintained a 24-hour force of six nuclear-armed Starfighters on Quick Reaction Alert, fueled and ready to take off within 17 minutes of authorization. I remember some concern being expressed at the time about a German finger being on the nuclear trigger. However, although these nuclear weapons were carried underneath German aircraft, these bombs remained under American control at all times, and could be released for delivery only under a direct order passed down the chain of command from the President of the United States. A typical load of conventional weapons for ground attack included Lepus flare bombs, CBU-33 cluster bombs, various iron bombs and LAU-3A unguided rocket packs.
Some 151 of the F-104G were allocated to the Marineflieger of the German Navy, the Bundesmarine. They were assigned to two Naval Attack Wings from 1964 onwards - Marinefliegergeschwader (MFG) 1 and 2 - replacing the Hawker Sea Hawk. The F-104G of the Bundesmarine usually carried a MBB Kormoran anti-ship missile on each of the underwing pylons. The Kormoran missile had a range of up to 23 miles. The missile had a 350 pound warhead with 16 radially-mounted projectile charges and fuse delays designed for penetration of ship armor. After launch, the Kormoran used an inertial midcourse guidance in conjunction with a radio altimeter to hold an altitude of less than 100 feet off the wave tops during the approach to the target. The radar seeker in the nose could operate either as an active radar seeker or as a passive receiver. When it found a target it locked onto it, and the impact point was intended to be just above the waterline of the enemy ship in order to ensure maximum damage.
The Luftwaffe became worried about the possible vulnerability of its airfields to Warsaw Pact attacks, and started searching for means of dispersing its Starfighters around the country. Under contract from the Luftwaffe, Lockheed carried out tests with an F-104G launched by rocket from a platform. The Luftwaffe envisaged fleets of nuclear-armed Starfighter being trucked out to the countryside and mounted on pre-positioned ramps. From there, the aircraft would be launched under the power of a huge rocket motor, which would take the Starfighter to flying speed before dropping away. After the mission, recovery would take place at hastily prepared landing strips, perhaps even using the Autobahn, that were equipped with runway arrester gear for short landings. Luftwaffe F-104G DA+102 (the third Lockheed-built Starfighter for the Luftwaffe, assigned to JaboG 31) was modified for a series of zero-length launch (ZELL) tests in 1963 at Edwards AFB in California. The F-104G was mounted on a trailer, and a 130,000 lb.s.t. Rocketdyne solid-fuel rocket booster was attached to the rear of the fuselage. For takeoff, the pilot would run up the J-79 engine to full thrust, then light the rocket motor. Within four seconds after ignition, the F-104G would be flying at 300 mph and the rocket booster would drop off. The program was not disclosed to the public until March 21, 1966. From 1966, ZELL testing was carried out at Lechfeld, home of JaboG 32. Two of the wing's aircraft (DB+127 and DB+128) were assigned to the project. Although tests were successful, the scheme was not adopted for operational use. After the ZELL test program was completed, the test F-104G was returned to service in Germany.
MBB became interested at an early date in highly-maneuverable aircraft. A Fokker-built F-104G (23+91, later renumbered 98+36) was modified by MBB as part of a five-year research program into control-configured vehicle (CCV) and fly-by-wire technologies. Natural stability was replaced with computer-controlled fly-by-wire systems that allowed the aircraft to be made unstable. This natural instability could then be controlled to provide extra agility. The aircraft was provided with a triple-redundant fly-by-wire system in 1977. The transition from the naturally-stable Starfighter aerodynamics was taken in gradual stages, first by adding ballast to alter the center of gravity. In 1980, a complete F-104 tailplane section was then grafted to the spine on the upper fuselage forward of the wing to further destabilize the aircraft. Fairings were added over the wings, and the aircraft was marked with extra Day-Glo panels for high visibility. 20 percent negative stability was finally achieved within the specified limits of Mach 1.3 and 650 knots by the time the trials were successfully concluded. The data gathered was of great assistance to the design of the EFA and was also used during the development of the Rockwell/MBB X-31 testbed. The F-104CCV was then transferred to the Wehrtechnisches Museum in Koblenz.
The German Starfighter operated by training units in the USA bore full USAF markings and serial numbers, whereas those in Europe were in Luftwaffe insignia and carried German serial numbers. Originally, these serials consisted of two letters and three digits.
The serial numbers of German Starfighters were as follows:
F-104G: DA+101/DA+121, KF+101/KF+172, plus aircraft which served in the USA with USAF serial numbers.
TF-104G: KE+201/KE+243, KF+201/KF+241, plus aircraft which served in the USA with USAF serial numbers
F/RF-104G: KG+101/KG+450, with gaps in the sequence for those aircraft built for the Netherlands.
The gaps in this sequence were an artifact of the rather unusual numbering system used by the Luftwaffe to identify Fokker-built F-104G. The Luftwaffe serial numbers tracked with the Fokker company's manufacturing numbers. The missing numbers in this sequence correspond to those aircraft which were delivered to Holland. There were corresponding gaps in the list of Dutch Starfighter serial numbers which identified Starfighters delivered to Germany.
F-104G: KE+301/KE+510. Some aircraft in this batch served in the USA with USAF serial numbers.
F-104G: KH+101/KH+188. Some aircraft in this batch served in the USA with USAF serial numbers.
On January 1, 1968, the original two letter-three digit serial numbers were replaced by new four-digit serials. Surviving German Starfighter were reserialed as follows: DA+101/DA+121, KF+101/KF+172 to 20+01/20+84; KC+117/KC+166 to 20+85/21+32; KE+301/KE+510 to 21+33/23+26; KG+101/KG+450 to 23+27/25+55; KH+106/KH+188 to 25+56/26+37; KE+201/KF+243, KF+201/KF+241 and KE+201/KE+223 (by Messerschmitt) to 27+01/28+35; BB+361/BB+389 to 29+01/29+21
More information about the Tactical number system
In late 1968, the unexpectedly heavy accident rate had led the Federal Defence Ministry to order another 50 F-104G as attrition replacements. The MBB concern built 50 F-104G as replacements between the years 1970 and 1973. These 50 planes had uprated J-79-MTU-J1K turbojets, rated at 15,950 lb.s.t. maximum. This engine had been developed by MAN Turbo (later MTU), which had taken over J-79 license rights from BMW. Their serials were 26+41 through 26+90. This brought overall German Starfighter procurement to 916.
The Starfighter began to be phased out of Luftwaffe service in 1971, when the AG 51 and AG 52 reconnaissance squadrons received McDonnell RF-4E Phantoms. JG 71 and JG 74 reequipped with F-4E in 1973-74, and JaboG 36 received Phantoms in 1976. In the Bundesmarine, MFG 1 converted to the Panavia Tornado in July of 1982. In 1983, the Luftwaffe training unit at Luke AFB was closed down. By the mid-1980s, most Starfighter were gone from West German service. Most German F-104G were transferred to the air forces of Greece, Turkey, and Taiwan. The last Luftwaffe operational unit to operate the F-104G was JaboG 34, which retired its aircraft at the end of 1987.
Although the last Starfighter had left German front-line service by October of 1987, a few F-104G and TF-104G remained flying with WTD 61 at Manching for another three years or more on various avionics trials and systems development programs. The last flight of a German Starfighter (98+04) took place from Manching on May 22, 1991.
The following units flew the Starfighter:
AG 51 "Immelmann": Ingolstadt/Manching, Bremgarten, RF-104G, November 1963 to April 1971
AG 52: Leck, RF-104G, November 1964 to September 1971
JaboG 31 "Boelcke": Norvenich, February 1962 to May 1983
JaboG 32: Lechfeld, January 1965 to April 1984
JaboG 33: Buchel, August 1962 to May 1985
JaboG 34: Memmingen, July 1964 to October 1987
JaboG 36: Hopsten, February 1965 to February 1975
JG 71 "Richthofen": Wittmundhaven, April 1963 to September 1974
JG 74: Neuburg, May 1964 to July 1974
4510 CCTW Luke AFB; Arizona: (4512, 4518 and 4443 USAF Combat Crew Training Squadrons of the 4510th CCTW), becoming the 69 TFTS and 418 TFTS, 58th TTW of the USAF at Luke AFB. Acted as US-based training unit from February 1964 until disbanded in March 1983 (administration at 2 Dt.Lw.Ausb.Stff, USA)
Waffenschule 10: Norvenich, (May 1960-1963), Jever (1963 to September 1983)
Erprobungsstelle 61: Manching, established 1960 as test unit, redesignated WDT 61 and operated the F-104G from February 1962 until the last German Starfighter sortie on May 22, 1991
Luftwaffenversorgungsregiment 1: Erding, (LwSchleuse 11) for maintenance and technical support, May 1984 to September 1988
MFG 1: Schleswig-Jagel, September 1963 to October 1981
MFG 2: Eggebek, March 1965 to September 1986
More information about the German wings
The Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia (Royal Hellenic Air Force) of Greece was initially allocated 35 Canadair-built F-104G plus 4 Lockheed-built TF-104G. Deliveries began in 1964. Another 10 MAP-funded Lockheed-built F-104G and 2 TF-104G were later delivered to Greece from USAF stocks.
The Starfighter were first issued to 335 Mira "Tiger" squadron in the 114th Pterix (Wing) based at Tanagra. It was soon followed by 336 "Olympus" Mira of the 116th Wing at Araxos. These two squadrons were initially dedicated to nuclear strike roles within the 1st Tactical Air Force as a part of Greece's commitment to NATO, but they reverted to the conventional strike role in the early 1970s.
Attrition was made up by the transfer of nine F-104G from Spain in 1972 and two TF-104G from Germany in 1977. In mid-1982, 10 Fiat-built F-104G were transferred from the Netherlands to Greece.
Throughout the 1980s, the Federal Republic of Germany continuously transferred ex-Luftwaffe and ex-Marineflieger Starfighter to Greece as part of Bonn's "Minerva" military aid program to Greece. This eventually involved 22 RF-104G, 38 F-104G, and 20 TF-104G. However, not all of these aircraft were placed in HAF service, some remaining in storage or used for spares.
In the history of the Hellenic Air Force the Starfighter has played an important role.
A big number of aircraft have been in use during 30 years, between 1964 and 1993. The first Starfighter came from the Canadair factory in Montreal and a few years later some aircraft arrived directly from Luke AFB after being used intensively for NATO F-104 pilot training in the early sixties.
Greece lost a reasonable number of aircraft, which were compensated between 1977 and 1988 when ex-German and ex-Dutch Starfighter arrived after they had been replaced in their subsequent countries by more modern fighter aircraft.
Only 2 Hellenic Air Force squadrons have used the Starfighter, being 335 "Tiger" Mira and 336 "Olympus" Mira.
The first F-104 squadron became 335 Mira from the 114 Pterix (Wing) based at Tanagra AB. The first aircraft arrived there in April 1964.
Sister squadron 336 Mira, also based at Tanagra AB, received their Starfighter between December 1964 and January 1965.
Almost 2 years later, at December 21, 1966, the 336 Mira moved to the 116 Pterix based at Araxos AB.
The 335 Mira kept flying from Tanagra AB until June 1977 when it joined the 336 Mira at Araxos AB.
From that day until early 1993 all the remaining F-104s flew from Araxos AB (116 Pterix) until their retirement.
335 "Tiger" Mira Anachaitisis (Interceptor Squadron) deactivated in May 1992.
336 "Olympus" Mira Diokseos Bombardismou (Fighter-Bomber Squadron) deactivated March 31, 1993.
March 31, 1993 was the official date for the withdraw from service in the Hellenic Air Force.
HAF units using the Starfighter:
335 "Tiger" Mira, 114 Pterix, Tanagra AB, April 1964; then 116 Pterix, Araxos AB, June 1977 to May 1992
336 "Olympus" Mira, 114 Pterix, Tanagra AB, January 1965; 116 Pterix, Araxos AB, December 1966 to March 31, 1993
In the mid-1960s, the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) received 125 Fiat-built F-104G (including 20 RF-104G) plus 12 Lockheed-built TF-104G and 16 Fiat-built TF-104G. The F-104G and TF-104G first entered service at Grosseto with 4°Stormo in 1963. These aircraft ultimately equipped four interceptor/fighter-bomber Gruppi, two reconnaissance Gruppi, and one training Gruppo.
6 Lockheed TF-104G were transferred to the AMI from the Luftwaffe in 1984/85 and were refurbished by Aeritalia.
AMI serials of the 125 Fiat-built F-104G were as follows: MM6501 pattern aircraft), MM6502/MM6599, MM6601, MM6603, MM6608/MM6611, MM6631/MM6638, MM6643/MM6651, and MM6658/MM6660. The AMI serials tracked with Fiat's company numbers, and the gaps in the sequence correspond to machines which were delivered to Germany and Holland. Serials of the 12 Lockheed-built TF-104G were MM54226 to MM54237. The 12 Aeritalia-built TF-104G were MM54250 to MM54261. Serials of the 6 ex-Luftwaffe TF-104Gs were 5712 (ex 27+11), 5738 (ex 27+36), 5739 (ex 27+37) 5743 (ex 27+41), 5902 (ex 27+43), 5919 (ex 27+89), 5946 (ex 28 +16).
In late 1965, the 154°Gruppo based at Ghedi received a NATO Flight Safety Award after it had flown more than 5000 hours on the F-104G without a single accident. However, like the air forces of other European operators of the Starfighter, the accident rate of AMI single-seat F/RF-104G and two-seat TF-104G was fairly high, with about 37.5 percent of the force having been lost.
The AMI continued to use the F/RF-104G in large numbers long after other European air forces had passed their Starfighter along to other users. Beginning in 1968, the F-104G was supplemented by the much improved F-104S. The AMI last F-104G Fighter-Bomber unit (154°Gruppo/6°Stormo) exchanged its Starfighters for Panavia Tornadoes from early 1983, leaving 28° Gruppo/3°Stormo as the last operator of earlier-generation Starfighter with Orpheus sensor pod-equipped RF-104G. These were finally withdrawn from service in June of 1993. The TF-104G two-seaters remained in limited service in 1995. Although the earlier-generation F-104G Starfighter are gone from AMI service, substantial numbers of the later F-104S type remained in service until 2004.
The following AMI units have operated the F/TF/RF-104G:
9°Gruppo/4°Stormo: Grosseto from March 1963 to 2004
10°Gruppo/9°Stormo: Grazzanise from 1964 to 2004
12°Gruppo/36°Stormo: Gioia del Colle from 1972 to 1994*
18°Gruppo/3°Stormo: Villafranca, RF-104G from 1973 to 1977; 18°Gruppo/3°Stormo, Trapani from 1985 to 2003
20°Gruppo/4°Stormo: Grosseto from 1965 to 2004
21°Gruppo/53°Stormo: Cameri/Novara from 1967 to 1997*
22°Gruppo/51°Stormo: Treviso/Istrana from June 1969
23°Gruppo/5°Stormo: Rimini/Miramare (formed as 101°Gruppo/5°Aerobrigata) from 1964 to 2000
28°Gruppo/3°Stormo: Villafranca, RF-104G from 1970 to June 1993*
102°Gruppo/5°Stormo: Rimini from May 1964 to 1993*
132°Gruppo/3°Stormo: Villafranca, RF-104G from 1972 to 1991*
154°Gruppo/6°Stormo: Ghedi from 1963 to 1982*
155°Gruppo/51°Stormo: (formerly in 50°Stormo Piacenza) F-104G until 1974, then Istrana
156°Gruppo/36°Stormo: Gioia del Colle, 1970 to 1983*
F-104S from Italy
The F-104S (S for "Sparrow") was the most potent version of the Starfighter to be built. It was an upgraded and improved version of the F-104G that was built by FIAT. The aircraft was initially built to meet a requirement issued by the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI). However, it has also been exported to Turkey.
The F-104S was the winner of the AWX (All-Weather Interceptor) design competition held in 1965 by the Italian Air Force for a new all-weather interceptor. The Lockheed CL-980 design (ultimately to be named F-104S) was selected for this requirement after extensive evaluation of other designs such as the Dassault Mirage III, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom, Northrop F-5, and North American F-100.
The F-104S is fitted with the more powerful J-79-GE-19, rated at 11,870 lb.s.t. dry and 17,900 lb.s.t. with afterburner. This engine provides 13 percent more power than the engine of the F-104G, and requires auxiliary inlet doors on the intake sides to provide additional air during takeoff.
The F-104S differs from the F-104G in being equipped with an NASARR R-21G/H radar which has moving-target indication and tracking capability that acts in association with a medium-range radar-guided missile fit. All previous Starfighter could fire only infrared-homing air-to-air missiles. The R21G/H also has contour/ground mapping and terrain avoidance modes, so that it can also act as a Fighter-Bomber.
The F-104S had more underwing and fuselage stores attachments, including two extra fuselage pylons underneath the air intakes, increasing the total number of strongpoint provisions to nine (two on the wingtips, four underneath the wings, two underneath the forward fuselage, and one on the fuselage centerline). Two hard points under each wing are for fuel/bombs (inner) and BVR missiles (outer). The wingtips usually carry fuel tanks, as does the centerline. The underfuselage pylons usually carried AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. In order to accommodate extra fuel and avionics, the F-104S had to dispense with the internal 20-mm M-61A1 cannon, the port being faired over.
Extra keel area was added by fitting a slightly larger ventral fin, with two extra ventral fins on either side of the original. As an interceptor, the F-104S could carry two underwing AIM-7 Sparrow semi-active radar homing and/or two AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared homing missiles. As a fighter-bomber it could carry up to 7500 pounds of bombs, napalm tanks, or rocket pods on nine external attachment points
The improvements which led to the F-104G were first flight-tested by Lockheed on a modified RF-104G (USAF serial number 64-2624). Lockheed then received an Italian contract to modify two Fiat-built F-104Gs (MM6658 and MM6660) as prototypes for an advanced all-purpose aircraft with improved capabilities. The first Lockheed-modified F-104S flew in December 1966, and the first Fiat-built F-104S flew on December 30, 1968.
Most of the Italian aerospace industry participated in the F-104S program. 65 percent of the F-104S production was handled by Italian firms. FIAT (later to be retitled Aeritalia) headed up a group including Alfa Romeo and Macchi which manufactured the airframes. The J-79 engines were built by FIAT and GE International, whereas Selenia undertook license production of the Sparrrow III AAM. FIAR of Milan co produced the NASAAR R21-G radar in collaboration with NAA's Autonetics Division.
The initial AMI order was for 165 F-104S aircraft. Deliveries started in the spring of 1969. The first AMI F-104S entered service in June of 1969 with 22° (Interceptor) Gruppo. They went to equip eight multi-role squadrons, although the first 40 aircraft were completed as Fighter-Bomber, apparently because their full air defense systems were not yet ready. In the early 1970s, AMI orders were increased by an other 40 to 206. In addition, in October of 1974 Turkey ordered 40 F-104S.
The FIAT group produced a total of 246 F-104S, 206 of them for the AMI and 40 for Turkey. AMI serials were MM6701/6850, MM6869/MM6881, MM6886/MM6887, MM6890, and MM6907/MM6494, a total of 206 being delivered. A further 20 were laid down for a subsequently-cancelled Turkish order. Only one of these-MM6946-was completed as a replacement for MM6766 which crashed before delivery. Turkey's forty F-104S were interspersed through the production run. The forty Turkish F-104S were 6851/6868, 6888/6889, and 6891/6906.
F-104S deliveries were completed by March of 1979. The delivery of the last F-104S marked the end of Starfighter production throughout the world, with a total of 2579 being built in the US, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
The more powerful J-79-GE-19 engine of the F-104S provided vastly improved acceleration, rate of climb, and maneuverability at all speeds and altitudes. In addition, the lower specific fuel consumption of this engine allowed for increased range. The F-104S was the most potent version of the Starfighter to be built.
The F-104S was supplied to the following AMI units:
9°Gruppo of 4° Stormo based at Grosseto (1970 to 1988)
10°Gruppo of 9° Stormo at Grazzanise (1973 to 1990)
12° Gruppo of 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle (1971 to 1988)
18° Gruppo of 37° Stormo based at Trapani/Birgi (1984 to 1989)
20° Gruppo of 4° Stormo based at Grosseto (1988 to 1991), Starfighter OCU at Grosseto
21°Gruppo of the 53°Stormo based at Cameri/Novara (1971 to 1991)
22°Gruppo of the 51°Stormo based at Istrana (1969 to 1989)
23°Gruppo of the 5°Stormo based at Rimini (1973 to 1987); formed as 101°Gruppo/5°Aerobrigata, to Cervia 1995
102°Gruppo of 5°Stormo based at Rimini (1973 to 1988)
155°Gruppo of 51°Stormo, formerly in 50° Stormo, Piacenza (1972 to 1984)
156°Gruppo of 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle (1970 to 1983)
Flight tests of a modernized demonstrator, the F-104S ASA (Aggiornamento Sistema d'Arma, or Updated Weapons System) began in December of 1984. The ASA upgrade was designed to extend the operating lives of the surviving AMI F-104S interceptors to the end of the century and beyond. It had a Fiat R21G/M1 radar with automatic frequency-hopping and a moving target indicator that conferred true look-down/shoot-down capability. New avionics included a four-digit NATO IFF, an improved weapons delivery computer, and the addition of an automatic pitch control computer. The ASA F-104S had provision for the use of the all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder in place of the original rear-attack AIM-9Bs. It had the ability to carry the Selenia Apside 1A medium-to long-range radar-guided air-to-air missile in place of the AIM-7E Sparrow III. The Apside 1 is a developed version of the AIM-7E Sparrow with a new CW monopulse seeker head with home-on-jam capability, improved ECCM, active radar fuse, longer range (22 miles) and new wing control actuators. In order to accommodate the extra avionics required for BVR missile capability, the F-104S had to dispense with the internal cannon. The effect of miniaturization allowed the ASA program to reinstate the gun. Most Italian F-104S were brought up to this standard.
The Apside entered service with the F-104S ASA in 1988. For air intercept missions, the F-104S ASA typically carries an AIM-9L Sidewinder under the port wing, an Alenia Aspide 1A missile underneath the starboard wing, and two wingtip tanks. In the fully-loaded (but seldom used) configuration, the F-104S ASA carries four Sidewinders (two underneath the fuselage and two on the wingtips), two Aspides, and two drop tanks.
Although the last AMI single-seat F-104Gs were withdrawn from service in 1983, substantial numbers of F-104S fighters remained in service with the AMI until 2004.
The ASA-M program was introduced in 1992 to build on the ASA upgrade with further enhanced air defense capability. In early 1996, ninety F-104S ASA aircraft were slated for ASA-M upgrade. Italy maintained its F-104S fleet in first-line survive more than 50 years after the first flight of the XF-104 prototype, which must be some sort of record for a combat aircraft.
AMI Serials of F-104S: MM6701/MM6850, MM6869/MM6881, MM6886/MM6887, MM6890, MM6907/MM6946 MM6946 was replacement for MM6766 which crashed before delivery)
Specification of the F-104S ASA:
One General Electric J79-GE-19 turbojet, 11,870 lb.s.t. dry and 17,900 lb.s.t. with afterburner.
Performance: Maximum speed 1450 mph at 36,000 feet, 913 mph (Mach 1.2) at sea level. Stalling speed 196 mph. Takeoff run with two AIM-7 Sparrows was 2700 feet. Initial climb rate was 55,000 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 58,000 feet. Normal range was 1550 miles, and maximum range with four drop tanks was 1815 miles.
Dimensions: wingspan 21 feet 11 inches, length 54 feet 9 inches, height 13 feet 6 inches, wing area 196.1 square feet.
Weights: 14,900 pounds empty, 21,690 pounds combat, 31,000 pounds maximum takeoff.
Armament: One 20 mm M61A1 rotary cannon with 750 rounds plus two AIM-7 Sparrow semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles and two AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared homing air-to-air missiles. In place of the Sparrows, a pair of Selenia Apside radar homing air-to-air missiles can be carried. Up to 7500 pounds of bombs, rockets, napalm tanks, and fuel tanks could be carried on nine hardpoints (four underneath the wing, two at wingtips, one centerline, and one at each fuselage side).
Fuel: Standard internal fuel capacity 896 US gallons, which can be supplemented by two 195-US gallon underwing tanks and two 170-US gallon wingtip tanks.
In addition, 121 US gallons could be carried in an auxiliary tank in the ammunition bay.
F-104J for Japan
On November of 1960, the Japanese government announced that it would acquire the Starfighter as its standard air superiority fighter. An industrial cartel headed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was given the responsibility for the license manufacture of the Starfighter in Japan. The first few Japanese Starfighter would be assembled in Japan from Lockheed-supplied components, but ultimately the Starfighter would be built in Japan entirely from Japanese-manufactured components.
The Japanese Starfighter was given the designation F-104J, the J standing for Japan. It was similar in overall structure to the F-104G, but was equipped as an all-weather interceptor rather than as an air-to-ground strike aircraft. One of the reasons for the choice of this option was that treaty restrictions at the time prevented Japan from acquiring any aircraft which had even a hint of an offensive role.
The F-104J was powered by a Japanese-built J-79-IHI-11A engine built under license by Ishikawajima-Harima. It had an Autonetics NASARR F-15J-31 fire control system optimized for the air-to-air mode, and was armed with a 20-mm M61A1 cannon and four AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, two mounted underwing and two carried on a rack on the fuselage centerline.
The first Lockheed-built F-104J (Model 683-07-14) flew on June 30, 1961. The first three F-104J were built and assembled entirely by Lockheed. 29 more F-104J were assembled by Mitsubishi from knocked-down kits provided by Lockheed between March of 1962 and March of 1965. Further F-104J were built from scratch by Mitsubishi, with a total of 178 Mitsubishi-manufactured F-104J being delivered from March of 1965 through 1967.
The F-104DJ (Model 583B-10-17) was the two-seat trainer version of the F-104J for Japan. They had electronics and other items that were compatible with those of the single-seat version. Twenty examples were built by Lockheed and reassembled in Japan between July of 1962 and January 1964. No F-104DJ two-seaters were built from scratch in Japan.
The F-104J entered with the Koku Jietai (Japanese Air Self Defense Force, or JASDF) in October of 1966. The first JASDF units to convert to the F-104J were the 201st and 202nd Fighter Interceptor Squadrons (Hikotais) based at Chitose and Nyutabaru. The 210 F-104J and the 20 F-104DJ operational trainers were used exclusively in the interceptor role by seven Hikotais (the 201st to 207th) of the Koku Jietai.
Beginning in December of 1981, the Japanese Starfighter were replaced by Mitsubishi-built F-15J/F-15DJ Eagles. The last JASDF F-104J was retired by the 207th Hikotai in March of 1986. During JASDF service, at least 34 F-104J and two F-104DJ (about 15 percent of the force) were written off in accidents.
As JASDF F-104Js were retired, some were transferred to Taiwan. By 1987, the ROCAF had received at least 22 F-104J and five F-104DJ through the "ALISAN 9" project.
Units of the JASDF flying F-104J:
201st Hikotai, 2nd Kokudan, Chitose Air Base, Oct 1962 to Oct 1974
202nd Hikotai, 5th Kokudan, Nyutabaru Air Base, 1964 to 1981
203rd Hikotai, 2nd Kokudan, Komatsu Air Base, 1965 to 1983
204th Hikotai, 5th Kokudan, Tsuiki Air Base, 1964 to 1984
205th Hikotai, 6th Kokudan, Komatsu Air Base, 1964 to 1984
206th Hikotai, 7th Kokudan, Hyakuri Air Base, 1966 to 1978
207th Hikotai, 7th Kokudan, Hyakuri Air Base, 1966 to 1970; to Naha Air Base, 1972 to 1985-1986
JASDF serial numbers:
Lockheed-built F-104DJ Starfighter c/n 583B-5401/5420
Lockheed-built F-104J Starfighter c/n 683B-3001/3003
Mitsubishi-built F-104J Starfighter c/n 683B-3004/3210
A total of 138 Starfighters was delivered to the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force, or KLu). These consisted of 95 F/RF-104G manufactured by the North (Fokker) group, 25 F-104G manufactured by Fiat and the Italian group, and 18 TF-104Gs built by Lockheed. They were intended to replace the Republic F-84F/RF-84F and Lockheed RT-33A that were serving with the KLu.
The F-104G entered Dutch service in December of 1962 with No. 306 Squadron based at Twenthe. No 306 served as the operational conversion unit for the training of Starfighter crews for all the other KLu F-104G squadrons that were forming at the time. In January of 1964, this unit converted from F/TF-104G to RF-104G reconnaissance aircraft, and its responsibility for Starfighter crew training was transferred to the "Dutch Masters" operational conversion unit based at Leeuwarden. The F-104Gs were operated in the interceptor role by Nos. 322 and 323 Squadrons based at Leeuwarden and in the fighter-bomber role with Nos. 311 and 312 Squadrons based at Volkel.
In the early 1980s, the Dutch Starfighter were replaced by European-built F-16A/B Fighting Falcons. Conversion from F-104G was begun by the two interceptor squadrons in 1979, and in June of 1984, No 312 Squadron stood down as the last KLu operational F-104G unit. When No. 312 Squadron disbanded, its 18 F-104G and two four TF-104G were transferred to the CAV at Volkel until their last formal Flypast on November 21, 1984.
Some 43 KLu Starfighter (35.8 percent of the force) were lost in accidents. Following their withdrawal from service, the surviving KLu Starfighter were transferred to Greece and Turkey.
KLu serials were assigned according to the manufacturer's construction numbers, so there are some gaps which correspond to Starfighters delivered to other nations.
The following units of the KLu operated Starfighter:
306 Squadron OCU at Twenthe from December 1962 until January 1964. Then to tactical reconnaissance role and moved to Volkel in September 1969 to late 1983
311 Squadron, Volkel Tactical strike June 1964 to August 1982
312 Squadron, Volkel Tactical strike April 1965 to June 1984
322 Squadron, Leeuwarden All-weather interception August 1963 to mid 1979
323 Squadron, Leeuwarden All-weather interception March 1964 until August 1980
Training and Conversion Unit A, Leeuwarden, January 1964 until March 1978
Conversie Afdeling Volkel, Volkel January 1969 to November 1984
The Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) was at first equipped with MAP-supplied Starfighter. The KNL received the first of 16 Lockheed-built RF-104G, 3 Canadair-built F-104G, and 2 Lockheed-built TF-104G in 1963. The Lockheed-built RF-104G were converted to the F-104G configuration and served with No. 331 Skvadron at Bodo. Following the arrival of Northrop RF-5A for No. 717 Squadron, these aircraft reverted to the fighter configuration and served until 1981.
Two ex-Luftwaffe TF-104G were later transferred to Norway from the Luke AFB contingent operating in the United States.
In 1973, a second KNL Starfighter unit, No. 334 Skvadron, was formed with eighteen ex-Canadian Forces CF-104 and four CF-104D. These aircraft were modified to carry Martin Bullpup air-to-surface missiles and were employed in the anti-shipping role.
In the early 1980s, the KNL Starfighter were withdrawn from service. At least 12 of the machines were transferred to Turkey in 1981. The last Norwegian Starfighter, the CF-104/CF-104D of No. 334 Squadron, were phased out of service during the winter of 1982-83. During their service with the KNL, only six of the 44 Starfighter were lost in accidents.
KNL units operating the Starfighter:
331 Skvadron, Bodo, late 1973 to June 1981
334 Skvadron, Rygge, April 1973 to 1983
Eighteen Lockheed-built F-104G and three Lockheed-built TF-104G were delivered under MAP to Spain's Ejercito del Aire in 1965. They replaced the F-86F Sabres of 61 Escuadron in Ala 6 at Torrejon. In Spanish service, they were designated C.8 (serials C.8-1 to C.8-18) and CE.8 (serials CE.8-1 to CE.8-3). The Ala 6 Wing was later renumbered Ala 16 and the squadron 61 became 161 Esc and later 104 Esc.
The EdA (Ejercito del Aire) Starfighter had the distinction of operating without a single accident during their seven years of service. They were formally retired from EdA service in May of 1972, when they were replaced by the F-4C Phantom. All of the EdA Starfighter were returned to the USAF for transfer to Greece and Turkey.
More information about Spanish F-104 serials
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Accurate accounts of deliveries of Starfighter to Taiwan are hard to come by, but it is known that an initial batch of 24 ex-USAF F-104A and 5 F-104B were delivered to Taiwan in 1960-1961.
In 1964-69, Taiwan received 46 Lockheed-built F-104G, eight TF-104G, plus 21 RF-104G from Canadair. Another six F-104D were received in 1975 from former Air National Guard squadrons In 1983, these Starfighter were augmented by ex-Luftwaffe machines (38 F-104G and 27 TF-104G), these aircraft being from the batch of Luftwaffe-owned Starfighter retained at Luke AFB for training purposes and operating in USAF insignia and serials. By 1987, the ROCAF had received at least 22 F-104J and five F-104DJ from Japan, together with 15 F-104G and three TF-104G from Denmark.
All in all, Taiwan has received at least 166 single-seat Starfighter and about 53 two-seater, plus possible additional and unknown quantities from Japan.
They have operated with the following units:
2nd (499th) Tactical Fighter Wing, Hsinchu 41st, 42nd and 48th Tactical Fighter Squadrons (1984 to 1990)
3rd (427th) Tactical Fighter Wing, Ching Chuan Kang Air Base 7th, 8th, 28th and 35th Tactical Fighter Squadrons (1965 to date)
5th (401st) Tactical Combined Wing, Taoyuan 12th Special Mission Squadron
Earlier plans to upgrade ROCAF Starfighter to F-104ASA standard by the installation of FIAR Grifo fire control radar which would give them beyond-visible-range AAM capability were abandoned.
All of the early series F-104A and B were withdrawn from service by the early 1980s, some of them having been transferred to Pakistan and Jordan. Others were expended as drones or decoys. The F-104G were replaced by the Ching-Kuo IDF in 1998.
More information about ROCAF F-104 serials
Turkey was one of the first NATO countries to receive Starfighter through Mutual Aid Program (MAP) funding. Beginning in May of 1963, the Turk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK) received an initial batch of 32 F-104G built by Lockheed and Canadair, plus 4 TF-104G built by Lockheed. These aircraft equipped 141 and 142 Filo, plus an OCU, in AJU 4 at Murted.
In 1972, nine F-104G and two TF-104G from Spain were received to reinforce two squadrons in 4 Wing at Murted.
In late December of 1974, the first six of an initial batch of 18 F-104S interceptors were purchased new from Italy, with funds reportedly provided by Libya in return for Turkish assistance in building up the Libyan Arab Republic Air Force. These were delivered to 9 Wing. The remainder followed at a rate of three per month. The THK F-104S order was doubled in May of 1975, and finally increased to 40. These planes initially equipped Filos 142 and 182.
These aircraft took part in the 1976 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, but so far as I know Greek and Turkish Starfighter never faced off against each other.
Beginning in n 1980-81, large numbers of CF-104/F-104G/TF-104G being phased out of service in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands began to be transferred to Turkey. 18 F-104G were transferred from Belgium in 1981-83. These were withdrawn by 1987. 43 F-104G (including 22 RF) and 10 TF-104G were transferred from the Netherlands from August 1980 to March 1984. 9 F-104G, 3 CF-104, and 1 TF-104G were transferred from Norway in June and July of 1981. From October of 1980, 170 ex Luftwaffe Starfighter were delivered to the THK, the last ones arriving in 1988. Following their replacement in Canadian Forces service by CF-18, 50 CF-104 (including six CF-104D) were transferred to Turkey following an extensive overhaul in Germany.
Over the years, the THK has received just over 400 Starfighter from various sources. The Turkish F-104s fulfilled both air defense and ground attack roles. Over the years, many THK Starfighter were either withdrawn from service or were cannibalized for spares to keep the others flying. Large numbers have also been lost in crashes, but no overall accident statistics are available.
Starfighter have equipped the following squadrons of the THK:
4 Ana Jet Us Murted AB: 141 Filo, 142 Filo, Oncel Flight (OCU)
6 Ana Jet Us (Bandirma): 161 Filo, 162 Filo
8 Ana Jet Us (Diyarbakir): 181 Filo, 182 Filo
9 Ana Jet Us (Balikesir): 191 Filo, 192 Filo, 193 Filo
In 1987, the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon began to replace the F-104G in THK service. First to convert were 141 Filo and 142 Filo at Murted, which exchanged their F-104G for F-16s beginning in 1989. 161 and 162 Filo at Bandirma and 191 and 192 Filo at Balikesir had exchanged their Starfighter for F-16s by the early 1990s. Filo 181 finally relinquished its F-104G in favor of F-16s in April of 1994, marking the final departure of the F-104G from THK service. This still left Filo 182 of 8 AJU with CF-104, it stopped flying the 104 officially on June 20, 1994. And it was 182 Filo which was the last unit also final flight 104 on June 20, 1994.
F-104N for NASA
Over the years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has operated no less than 11 Starfighter for flight test purposes.
In August of 1956, the seventh YF-104A (serial number 55-2961) was transferred to NACA (later reorganized as NASA). It was initially numbered 818, but was later renumbered with the civilian registration N818NA (the "NA" standing for NASA). This airplane was used by NASA for various test flight purposes until it was finally retired in November of 1975. It is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
In October of 1957, NASA acquired 2 ex-USAF F-104A single seaters (USAF serials 56-0734 and 56-0749) for use in flight testing. These planes were never assigned NASA serial numbers, F-104A 56-749 crashed in 1962.
In December of 1959, F-104B serial number 57-1303 was transferred to NASA. It was assigned the NASA number of 819. It served until 1978, when it was finally retired.
Between August and October of 1963, Lockheed delivered 3 single-seat F-104G Starfighter to NASA, these planes being designated F-104N (N for NASA). They were to serve as high-speed chase aircraft. These three planes were the only purpose-built Starfighter produced by Lockheed for NASA, all other Starfighter operated by NASA were transferred to it from the USAF.
These 3 NASA F-104N were initially numbered 011, 012, and 013. 013 was lost on June 8, 1966 when it became involved in a mid-air collision with the second North American XB-70A Valkyrie during a General Electric-sponsored advertising publicity photographic flight. The pilot flying the F-104N, the experienced test pilot Joseph A. Walker, was killed. The XB-70A pilot, Alvin S. White ejected with injuries, but the XB-70A copilot, Major Carl S. Cross, went down with the Valkyrie and was killed.
The two surviving F-104N were later given the civilian registrations N811NA and N812NA.
In December of 1966, NASA acquired another ex-USAF F-104A (serial number 56-0790) as a replacement for NASA 813. It was assigned the NASA number 820, and was withdrawn from use on October 30, 1983.
Later, NASA also received some additional F/TF-104G from military sources. In 1975, NASA received 2 TF-104Gs and 1 single-seat F-104G, giving them the civilian numbers N824NA, N825NA and N826NA respectively. N824NA and N825NA are ex-Luftwaffe TF-104G two-seaters (carrying USAF serials 61-3065 and 66-13628), whereas N826NA was originally a Fokker-built single-seat RF-104G which had originally been built for the Luftwaffe (original German serial number was KG+313). All of their military equipment was removed, and they were used by NASA for various flight test purposes.
More information at NASA research aircraft
The RTF-104G1 was 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 McDonnell RF-4E Phantom II for this mission.
F-104H "Stripped Starfighter"
The F-104H was 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, and neither version ever got past the initial design stage.
The Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer was a late 1960s company-funded proposal for a new and improved Starfighter. It was intended for the export market and was in direct competition with the Northrop F-5E Tiger II.
The CL-1200 retained the basic F-104 fuselage but was fitted with a shoulder-mounted wing of larger area which was moved further aft. The new wing had a span of 29 feet and still featured leading- and trailing-edge flops plus inner strakes. The tailplane was moved from the tip of the vertical fin to the base of the rear fuselage. in order to avoid the downwash effects from the high set wings at high angles of attack and to eliminate the Starfighter's inherent pitch-up problems.
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 have had a redesigned rear fuselage that could accommodate a modern turbofan engine rather than the J79 turbojet. This turbofan engine was to be either the Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 or the F100-P-100. These engines offered an increase of 60 percent in thrust at maximum power. The air intakes were located in the same place that they were on the F-104, but they incorporated translating shock cones with four-inch movement in place of the F-104's fixed cones.
The Lancer retained the 20-mm General Electric M61 A1 cannon as its primary built-in armament, although a 30-mm DEFA gun could be fitted as an alternative if the customer so desired. Nine weapons stations were provided, one under the fuselage, three under each wing, and one at each wingtip. Up to 12,000 pounds of ordinance could be carried.
The estimated gross weight was 35,000 pounds and a top speed of 1700 mph at 35,000 feet was envisaged. The takeoff run was 1450 feet in the intercept configuration, only 52 percent of that required for the F-104G. Kelly Johnson projected that the CL-1200-2 would be superior in air-to-air combat to any known fighter.
At one time, the USAF had considered acquiring one or more examples of the Lancer. The USAF planned to buy at least one experimental Lancer under the experimental designation X-27. The X-27 was to be similar in overall configuration to the Lancer but was to feature modified engine air intakes having a rectangular shape. However, the X-27 program was terminated due to lack of funds before anything could be built.
The CL-1200 was entered in the International Fighter Aircraft competition to find a replacement for the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter in the international market. It was projected that CL-1200 deliveries could begin in 1974. However, in November 1970 the Northrop F-5-21 was named the winner of the competition, and the primary market for the Lancer was lost. The project was then terminated.
Another stillborn Starfighter derivative was the CL-704 VTOL strike and reconnaissance aircraft originally proposed in 1962. For VTOL operations, it was to have had seven vertically-mounted Rolls Royce RB.181s in each of the enlarged wingtip pods. The main forward propulsion was to have been provided by a fuselage-mounted Rolls Royce RB.168.
A larger-winged F-104 derivative was proposed as an alternative to the MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) then being designed as a multi-national European project. Nothing ever emerged, and the MRCA eventually emerged as the Panavia Tornado.
Specification of the Lockheed CL-1200-2 Lancer:
One Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 turbofan, rated at 15,000 lb.s.t. dry and 25,000 lb.s.t. with afterburner.
Performance: Maximum speed 1700 mph at 35,000 feet (Mach 2.57), 920 mph (Mach 1.21) at sea level. Initial climb rate 60,000+ feet per minute. 420 miles combat radius with 4000-pound bomb load. Takeoff run was 1450 feet to liftoff, landing run was 2060 feet.
Dimensions: length 57 feet 3 inches, wingspan 29 feet 2 inches, height 17 feet 2 inches, wing area 300 square feet.
Weights: 16,640 pounds empty, 24,385 pounds normal loaded, 35,000 pounds maximum takeoff.
Armament: One 20-mm General Electric M61A1 cannon with 725 rounds. An external offensive load of up to 12,000 pounds could be carried on nine external weapons hardpoints.
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|To my best knowledge!!! Given information is based on best available references!|
|Any contribution is highly welcome, please contact the webmaster|
|compiled by: Hubert Peitzmeier|
|update: @ June 14, 2015|