In 1952, C.L. "Kelly" Johnson designed the F-104, and the first XF-104 made its initial flight in 1954. It was the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound and held numerous airspeed and altitude records. On May 18, 1958, an F-104A set a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph, and on December 14, 1959, an F-104C set a world altitude record of 103,395 feet. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude and time-to-climb. Using an accelerated loft technique, some F-104s have been flown to higher than 90,000 feet.
Like the F-84F Thunderstreak before it and the F-16 Fighting Falcon of today, the F-104 was selected for use by the NATO allies. More than 1,700 F-104s were built in the U.S. and abroad under the military aid program for various nations including Canada, West Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Taiwan and Japan. Several F-104 squadrons are still flying today with the air forces of Italy, Germany and Japan. Some F-104s have been modified to include a second cockpit for transition training and some weapons delivery. A reconnaissance version also exists although it never served with the USAF.
|Manufacturer:||Lockheed Aircraft Corporation|
|Empty Weight:||14,082 lbs|
|Max Weight:||28,779 lbs|
|No. of Engines:||1|
|Powerplant:||Various General Electric turbojet engines w/afterburner|
|Thrust (each):||14,000 to 18,000 lbs|
|Cruise Speed:||519 mph|
|Max Speed:||1,450 mph (Mach 2.2) at 35,000 ft.|
|Climb Rate:||50,000 feet per minute|
2,200 miles (ferry)
|Guns:||M-61 Vulcan 20mm cannon|
|External Armament:||4,000 lbs of bombs under the wings
two AAM-N-7 ³Sidewinder² missiles on tips