|This page is about the jet fighter F-104A. For other versions, see F-104 (Family).|
The F-104A Starfighter is a rank VI American jet fighter with a battle rating of 9.7 (AB/SB) and 10.0 (RB). It was introduced in Update "Starfighters".
The F-104s are generally very fast and the F-104A is no exception. Even when it is stock the climb rate can be comparable to that of both the MiGs and the Phantoms. Its max speed of 2,079 km/h is just as good if not better than other top-tier jets. The acceleration of the F-104A is amazing so even when you are at low speeds it can quickly gain back the lost energy. However, the jet's manoeuvrability leaves much to be desired. Although it can out-turn other jets at its BR it can only do so when it is going above mach 1, at low speeds any other top-tier jets can easily out-turn you.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 10,668 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 720||< 950||< 800||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|General Electric J79-GE-3||1||6,182 kg||513 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel|
|1,750 kg||Afterburning axial-flow turbojet||6,947 kg||7,712 kg||8,477 kg||8,859 kg||24,000 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel||MTOW|
|Stationary||3,936 kgf||6,061 kgf||0.87||0.79||0.71||0.68||0.25|
|Optimal|| 3,936 kgf
| 7,751 kgf
Survivability and armour
In terms of armour, there is no armour on the F-104A. Since the F-104A relies on high speed, it wouldn't need armour as that would reduce the speed and maneuverability of the plane. The F-104A is a very long plane and it is not very maneuverable, making it a large, easy target for enemy guns. As such, the only characteristic that should be relied upon for survivability is the plane's speed. It is very quick, and as such is hard to catch. Of course, it's not quicker than a missile!
- No Armor
- Self-Sealing Fuel Tanks
The F-104A is armed with:
- 1 x 20 mm M61 cannon, chin-mounted (750 rpg)
The F-104A can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
Usage in battles
The F-104A is a high speed, high altitude fighter-bomber / interceptor. It performs well in high altitude flights meant to intercept fighters and mainly bombers at high altitudes. When the F-104A is fighting at low altitudes with a slower plane, the pilot should consider a hit and run technique to out-speed and return to the target to avoid getting shot back. If you need to turn, be sure to extend your combat flaps as they significantly decrease your turn time.
The F-104A has a decent stock turn time of 33 seconds which is the average or decent turn time of most supersonic jets at rank VI for Russian jets. The F-104A will have difficulties when trying to hit an enemy less than 1 or 2 kilometers away using the 20mm M61 cannon since this cannon will take some time to warm-up before shooting and turn fights will also be difficult due to high speed maneuvers causing an average 8 or more Gs rendering the pilot unconscious for most of the time.
Using the F-104A's M61 cannon against helicopters would be very easy since they're slow and most of the time are in constant direction and speed, while you are attacking from the side or back with speeds almost or higher than mach 1, the helicopter won't notice until you strafe at them.
Unfortunately, the AIM-9B sidewinder missiles the F-104A carries are lacking at its BR. Most other jets at top tier have much better air-to-air missiles which travel, lock and turn better than the AIM-9B. Therefore, they should only be used in situations where they cannot effectively turn or dodge, or don't know its coming.
The F-104A isn't carrying any flares, so you would have to rely on the planes decent maneuverability, and high speed, and maybe turn off the afterburner and maybe even the engine to reduce the incoming AAMs chance to hit the plane. Always remember the insane climb rate for the plane, this means you can also face the incoming AAM at the sun even when the sun is at a steep angle. This in turn would spend more fuel since you would need to use afterburners to efficiently climb at steep angles, out-running short-range anti-air missiles are tricky since some go mach 1.7, while others go mach 2.5, do not expect all missiles to be outrun.
|I||Fuselage repair||Offensive 20 mm|
|III||Wings repair||Engine||New 20 mm cannons|
Pros and cons
- Good top speed for its rank
- Great rate of climb; even the F-4 Phantom may struggle to match it
- Decent high-speed maneuverability, in spite of its tiny wings
- 20 mm Vulcan gun can really do some serious damage
- Good roll rate for a jet
- Lousy low-speed maneuverability
- Only one secondary weapon load
- Can't carry bombs
- Relatively low ammo count for the Vulcan; trigger discipline is necessary
- M61 Vulcan doesn't shoot instantly, takes less than a second to rotate
- No flares to counter AAMs
- As with most jets, it tends to bleed off speed quickly in sustained turns
- AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles are inadequate compared to other AAMs at top tier
The F-104A Starfighter was the first in-service United States Air Force (USAF) fighter to fly at twice the speed of sound, and made its first flight on February 7th, 1954. In this video from Lockheed Martin's archives, the Starfighter's maiden flight can be viewed. The F-104 began being designed in November 1952, when the USAF requested a superiority day fighter. The USAF chose Lockheed Martin's prototype, with its unusually stubby straight wings, in a time when fighters had large, swept back, wings. The first F-104A's were delivered to the 83rd Fighter-Interceptor squadron stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base on January 26, 1958, where they would break speed and altitude records. One major record that was set by an F-104A was when Major Howard C. Johnson set a new altitude record by flying at 91,243 ft on May 7th, 1958.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Fighters||XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · P-38L-5-LO · YP-38|
|Bombers||B-34 · PV-2D|
|Jet Fighters||F-80A-5 · F-80C-10|
|F-104A · F-104C|
|Export / License||A-29 · ▄Hudson Mk V|
|␗F-104A · ▀F-104G · ␗F-104G · ▅F-104J · ▄F-104S|
|See Also||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries · Fiat Aviation|
|USA jet aircraft|
|F-4||F-4C Phantom II · F-4E Phantom II|
|F-80||F-80A-5 · F-80C-10|
|F-84||F-84B-26 · F-84G-21-RE|
|F-86||F-86A-5 · F-86F-25 · F-86F-2 · F-86F-35|
|F-89||F-89B · F-89D|
|F-104||F-104A · F-104C|
|F9F||F9F-2 · F9F-5 · F9F-8|
|FJ-4||FJ-4B · FJ-4B VMF-232|
|Other||P-59A · F3D-1 · F2H-2 · F3H-2 · F11F-1 · F-100D|
|B-57||B-57A · B-57B|