F-100 to F-108 Supersonic Fighters
The Mutual Aid Program (MAP) funded Lockheed contracts for the 1.42 million dollar cost per F-104G. MAP deliveries began with 30 unarmed TF-104F two-seaters for the German pilotsí school established at Luke AFB, Arizona by October 1959. On October 5, 1960, the first
F-104G flew at Palmdale, where final assembly of 139
F-104G, 40 RF-104G, and 172 TF-104G exports was completed, plus 48 TF-104Gs as co-production parts, and three unarmed F-104Ns for NASA chase pilots.
Canada got 38 CF-104D two-seaters from Lockheed, built 200 Canadair CF-104s for the RCAF, and exported 140 F-104Gs for the U.S. Mutual Aid Program. The first Montreal-built CF-104 flew May 26, 1961, and was essentially a F-104G with a Canadian-built engine and equipment.
Japan signed a licensed production contract January 29, 1960, for 180 similar F-104Js and 20 two-seat F-104DJs. Three of the F-104Js and the F-104DJs were completed by Lockheed, the first being flown June 30, 1961. The rest were assembled by Mitsubishi, and while similar to the G model, were armed solely as interceptors. The first of seven Japanese squadrons became operational in October 1964, and another 30 F-104Js were added before Mitsubishi finished in 1967.
In Germany, the group led by Messerschmitt built 210, the first German-built F-104G flew on August 14, 1961, and the MBB group added 50 by 1973. Fokker completed 231 F-104G and 119 RF-104G models, while Belgiumís SABCA built 188 F-104Gs.
Fiat completed 164 F-104Gs and 119 RF-104Gs, as well as a new edition with a Sparrow missile capability called the F-104S. Lockheed modified two of the Fiat F-104Gs as CL-901 Super Starfighter prototypes in November 1966 with a new 17,900-pound thrust J79-GE-l9. Fiat then built 205 F-104S aircraft for the Italian Air Force and 40 for Turkey.
On interception missions, two AIM-7 Sparrow III missiles under the wings were guided by R21G radar, along with a pair of AIM-9B Sidewinders on the wing tips. Fighter-bomber configurations provided the M61 gun and nine stations for bombs or rocket pods. The first Fiat F-104S flew December 30, 1968, and when the last was delivered in December 1978, Starfighter production had ended.
Starfighter world production of 2,578 included 741 built in California plus 48 as co-production parts. Involved transfers between the countries complicate the F-104G story, and Rene Francillonís book on Lockheed aircraft shows how these fighters were distributed.
Germany had the largest total, with 96 F-104G and 136 TF-104G from Lockheed and 653 Starfighters from the European consortium. Italian Air Force units had 320 Fiat Starfighters and 24 TF-104G from Lockheed.
The Netherlands acquired 138 Starfighters, beginning in December 1962, and Belgium, 100 SABCA F-104Gs and 12 Lockheed TF-104Gs, beginning in February 1963. Norway had 19 Canadair F-104Gs and four TF-104Gs in 1963, and in 1974 added 18 CF-104 and four CF-104Ds.
Denmark received 25 Canadair F-104Gs and four TF-104Gs from MAP in 1964, and in 1965, Spain began accepting 18 Canadair F-104Gs and three TF-104Gs. Taiwan imported 77 F-104Gs, eight RF-104Gs, and 25 TF-104Gs.
Greece received 35 F-104G and four TF-104Gs beginning in April 1964, and later replenished its two squadrons with 25 second-hand Starfighters. Turkey first acquired 32 F-104G and four TF-104Gs, and later expanded its force with over 120 second-hand fighters from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and RCAF Canadair CF-104s.
Although 15 air forces operated the Lockheeds, very little combat entered the fighterís history. It is remembered as the ďmissile with a man in itĒ, a very fast unforgiving aircraft with terribly high crash rates in Germany and Italy. Yet pilots in some smaller countries, like Norway, had no such high accident rate, and the Japanese lost only 10 percent (23) of their aircraft in ten years of operations. Pilot selection and training were the most important success factors.
The F-105 Thunderchief
The design was offered the Air Force in April 1952 as the Republic AP-63, a letter contract for engineering design was made in September, and 37 F-105As with J57s were ordered in March 1953. A mockup was inspected in October, but the contract was cut back to 15 in February 1954, and in August 1954 the J75 engine was selected for the F-105B. Only the first two aircraft were completed with the J57-P-25, as the YF-105A first flown October 22, 1955, by Russell Roth.