War Plane Images
Kelly Johnson had a hand in designing some of the most legendary aircraft the world has ever seen. From the P-38 Lightning to the SR-71 Blackbird it seemed like nothing was out of reach for his ability to innovate. He crafted a lot of planes though some aren’t as widely known as other, such as the F-104 Starfighter.
With the Korean War in full swing, American fighter pilots felt they were outclassed by enemy MiG-15 fighters. Kelly Johnson took it upon himself to create a plane with a light frame wrapped around a powerful engine. In 1958 the fruits of Johnson’s labor paid off in the form of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.
Unfortunately, the F-104 was often the center of much controversy. In the 1960s it became the center of a scandal surrounding Lockheed where officials were bribed to choose the F-104 over rival fighters.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 54 ft 8 in (16.66 m)
- Wingspan: 21 ft 9 in (6.36 m)
- Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.09 m)
- Wing area: 196.1 ft² (18.22 m²)
- Airfoil: Biconvex 3.36% root and tip
- Empty weight: 14,000 lb (6,350 kg)
- Loaded weight: 20,640 lb (9,365 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 29,027 lb (13,170 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × General Electric J79-GE-11A afterburning turbojet
- Dry thrust: 10,000 lbf (48 kN)
- Thrust with afterburner: 15,600 lbf (69 kN)
- Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0172
- Drag area: 3.37 ft² (0.31 m²)
- Aspect ratio: 2.45
- Maximum speed: 1,328 mph (Mach 2.01, 1,154 kn, 2,137 km/h)
- Combat radius: 420 mi (365 nmi, 670 km)
- Ferry range: 1,630 mi (1,420 nm, 2,623 km)
- Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
- Rate of climb: Initially 48,000 ft/min (244 m/s)
- Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon, 725 rounds
- Hardpoints: 7 with a capacity of 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
- Missiles: 4 × AIM-9 Sidewinder
Roughly 2,500 F-104 Starfighters were built and served the Air Forces of over a dozen nations until its retirement in 2004. Today some are still in use for aiding commercial satellites in reaching orbit. If you have never seen the Starfighter in action take a moment to see them fly and crack up the volume because it gets loud.