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Posted 10/30/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Lockheed F-104C
DAYTON, Ohio -- Lockheed F-104C Starfighter at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Designed as a supersonic superiority fighter, the F-104 was produced in two major versions. Armed with a six-barrel M61 20mm Vulcan cannon, it served as a tactical fighter, and equipped additionally with heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, as a day-night interceptor. Development of the F-104 began in 1952, and the first XF-104 made its initial flight in 1954. On May 18, 1958, an F-104A set a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph, and on Dec. 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.

The USAF procured about 300 Starfighters in one- and two-seat versions. In addition, more than 1,700 F-104s were built in the United States 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.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an F-104C on display in its Cold War Gallery.

Type Number built/
XF-104 2 Prototype; lightweight fighter
YF-104A 17 Service test
F-104A 153 First production aircraft
NF-104A 3 (cv) High-altitude trainer; converted F-104A
F-104B 26 Two-seat trainer
F-104C 77 Improved F-104A
F-104D 21 Improved F-104B
F-104E 0 Designation not used
F-104F * MAP aircraft for Germany; modified D
F-104G * MAP and Consortium built
F-104J * Japanese-built G model
F-104S * Super Starfighter; improved G

* = not procured by USAF
MAP = Military Assistance Program; U.S. built for other countries
Consortium = built by using (non-U.S.) country
22 F-104As were converted to QF-104 target drones

TECHNICAL NOTES (F-104A from T.O. 1F-104A-1):
Armament: Basic armament consists of two AIM-9B air-to-air guided missiles, carried one on each wing tip in place of the tip tanks; aircraft also incorporates a M61 20mm electrically operated gun located on the lower left side of the forward fuselage; its ammunition supply of 725 rounds is fired at an average rate of 4,000 rounds per minute
Engine: One General Electric J79-GE-7A of 15,800 lbs. static sea-level thrust with afterburner
Maximum speed: 1,320 mph (Mach 2)
Cruising speed: 575 mph
Range: 1,250 miles
Service ceiling: 58,000 ft.
Span: 21.94 ft.
Length: 54.77 ft.
Height: 13.49 ft.
Tread: 8.79 ft.
Weight: 19,800 lbs. gross takeoff weight with no external load (includes full internal fuel, 725 rounds of ammunition and pilot)
Crew: One

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