Northrop F-89B (S/N 49-2450) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Note the external vibration dampeners on the horizontal stabilizer. This distinguishing characteristic of -A and -B models was modified to an internal dampening system starting with the -C model. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The F-89 was a twin-engine, all-weather fighter-interceptor designed to locate, intercept and destroy enemy aircraft by day or night under all types of weather conditions. It carried a pilot in the forward cockpit and a radar operator in the rear who guided the pilot into the proper attack position. The first F-89 made its initial flight in August 1948 and deliveries to the Air Force began in July 1950. Northrop produced 1,050 F-89s.
On July 19, 1957, a Genie test rocket was fired from an F-89J, the first time in history that an air-to-air rocket with a nuclear warhead was launched and detonated. Three hundred fifty F-89Ds were converted to J models, which became the Air Defense Command's first fighter-interceptor to carry nuclear armament.
TECHNICAL NOTES (F-89J): Engines: Two Allison J35s turbojets of 7,200 lbs. thrust each with afterburner Armament: Two AIR-2A Genie air-to-air rockets with nuclear warheads plus four AIM-4C Falcon missiles Maximum speed: 627 mph Cruising speed: 465 mph Range: 1,600 miles Service ceiling: 45,000 ft. Span: 59 ft. 10 in. Length: 53 ft. 8 in. Height: 17 ft. 6 in. Weight: 47,700 lbs. loaded Crew: Two