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Posted 10/30/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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Northrop XF-89
Northrop XF-89 (S/N 46-678, first aircraft built) in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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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.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an F-89J on display in its Cold War Gallery.

Type Number built/
XF-89 2 Prototype
YF-89A 19 (cv) Modified XF-89
F-89A 48 18 produced; 30 to F-89B
F-89B 30 (cv) Improved F-89A
F-89C 164 Six 20mm cannons
YF-89D 1 (cv) Modified F-89B
F-89D 682 104 rockets
YF-89E 1 (cv) Engine test bed
F-89F 0 Nuclear weapons aircraft; canceled
F-89G 0 Improved fire control; canceled
F-89H 154 AIM-4 and 42 FFAR
F-89J 350 (cv) Modified F-89D; Genie missiles

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

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