National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > Northrop F-89J Scorpion


Posted 5/29/2007 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
Northrop F-89J
DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop F-89J Scorpion at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

Northrop designed the F-89 as an all-weather fighter-interceptor for the Air Defense Command. With the radar operator in the rear seat guiding the pilot, the F-89 could locate, intercept and destroy enemy aircraft by day or night under all types of weather conditions. The first F-89 made its initial flight in August 1948 and deliveries to the Air Force began in July 1950. Northrop produced a total of 1,050 F-89s for the Air Force.

On July 19, 1957, an F-89J (a modified F-89D) fired a Genie test rocket with a nuclear warhead, and it detonated over a Nevada test range. It marked the first launch of an air-to-air rocket with a nuclear warhead. Northrop converted 350 F-89Ds to J models, Air Defense Command's first fighter-interceptor to carry nuclear armament. Powered by two Allison J35 engines, each capable of producing 7,200 pounds thrust with afterburner, the F-89J had a cruising speed of 465 mph.

The Maine Air National Guard transferred  the Scorpion on display (S/N 52-1911) to the museum from  in July 1969. This aircraft was the last F-89 in service with an operational unit. It is painted to represent an F-89J (S/N 53-2509) assigned to the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in the late 1950s. Based at Ladd Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, it carries insignia red arctic markings.

Armament: Two AIR-2A Genie air-to-air rockets with nuclear warheads plus four AIM-4C Falcon missiles
Engines: Two Allison J35s of 7,200 lbs. thrust each (with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 627 mph
Cruising speed: 465 mph
Range: 1,600 miles
Ceiling: 45,000 ft.
Span: 59 ft. 10 in.
Length: 53 ft. 8 in.
Height: 17 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 47,700 lbs. maximum

Click here to learn more about the Northrop F-89.

Click here to return to the Cold War Gallery.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerAircraft


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act