|This page is about the German jet fighter F-104G. For other versions, see F-104 (Family).|
The F-104G Starfighter is a rank VI German jet fighter with a battle rating of 10.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Starfighters". It is often referred to as the "missile with a man in it" or the "widow maker", the latter nickname highlighting its questionable safety record in Luftwaffe use.
Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 15,240 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-11||1||6,552 kg||532 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||33m fuel|
|1,540 kg||Afterburning axial-flow turbojet||7,353 kg||8,153 kg||8,954 kg||9,194 kg||24,000 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||33m fuel||MTOW|
|Stationary||4,128 kgf||6,357 kgf||0.86||0.78||0.71||0.69||0.26|
|Optimal|| 4,128 kgf
| 8,391 kgf
Survivability and armour
Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.
Modifications and economy
The F-104G is armed with:
- 1 x 20 mm M61A1 cannon, nose-mounted (750 rpg)
The F-104G can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 14 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets
- 2 x AS-20 Nord missiles
- 4 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 14 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets
- 4 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles
- 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles + 14 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets
- 2 x AS-20 Nord missiles + 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
- 2 x AS-20 Nord missiles + 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles
- 3 x 250 kg Matra 25E bombs (750 kg total)
- 3 x 500 lb LDGP Mk 82 bombs (1,500 lb total)
- 3 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bombs (2,250 lb total)
- 3 x 1,000 lb LDGP Mk 83 bombs (3,000 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 250 kg Matra 25E bomb (250 kg total)
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 500 lb LDGP Mk 82 bomb (500 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bomb (750 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 1,000 lb LDGP Mk 83 bomb (1,000 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 250 kg Matra 25E bomb (250 kg total)
- 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 500 lb LDGP Mk 82 bomb (500 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bomb (750 lb total)
- 2 x AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder missiles + 1 x 1,000 lb LDGP Mk 83 bomb (1,000 lb total)
Usage in battles
Describe the tactics of playing in the aircraft, the features of using aircraft in a team and advice on tactics. Refrain from creating a "guide" - do not impose a single point of view, but instead, give the reader food for thought. Examine the most dangerous enemies and give recommendations on fighting them. If necessary, note the specifics of the game in different modes (AB, RB, SB).
Pros and cons
- Good top speed.
- Great rate of climb; even the F-4 Phantom may struggle to match it.
- Decent high-speed manoeuvrability.
- Good roll rate for a plane with tiny wings.
- M61 Vulcan cannon can do some serious damage to an enemy plane.
- Wide selection of secondary ordinance; much better than early F-104s.
- High thrust to weight ratio.
- Lousy low-speed manoeuvrability.
- Bleeds energy quickly in sustained turn-fights.
- Large turning radius due to small wing surface and high speed.
- High takeoff and landing speeds
The brainchild of famed Lockheed engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, after having spoken to USAF pilots about their experience in the Korean Air War, the F-104 Starfighter was innovative in both its design and speed. Developed from the start as a daytime air-superiority fighter with speed in mind, the Starfighter began life at Lockheed's famous "Skunk Works" facility in 1952 to combat the Soviet's new age of supersonic jet fighters. The aircraft would incorporate the smallest airframe, combined with the most technologically advanced turbojet at the time, to create the base of what would become the F-104.
In 1953, the USAF showed interest in the project, and proposed an open contest with Lockheed and multiple other firms for a supersonic interceptor, based wholly on performance. Lockheed evidently won the contest and approval for two prototypes to be produced and, in February of 1954, took flight for the first time. Although it was slated to be fitted with the General Electric J79 turbofan, due to shortages of the engines the prototypes were mated to a license-built variant of the British Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engine, called the Wright XJ65-W-6, until the initial powerplant was available. The aircraft however was not without its problems, resulting in a four-year long developmental period for the aircraft. By the end of it, 17 pre-production YF-104As had been built, tested, and used to iron out any problems that would be noticeable on the final F-104. In 1958, the F-104 would finally be available for deliveries featuring some differences from the initial prototypes in the form of a longer fuselage as well as the fitting of General Electric J79GE-3 engines putting out a whopping 14,800 lbs of thrust.
From the start the F-104A smashed records, taking the record as the first operational fighter in service to succeed Mach 2, as well as going on to take the records for both altitude and speed in both the F-104A and F-104C variants respectively. On May 7th, 1958, Maj. Howard C. Johnson, in his F-104A, set a new world altitude record at 91,243 feet, and 11 days later another aircraft set a new speed record at 1,403.19 mph. The altitude record was later bested by another variant of the aircraft, the F-104C, at a whopping altitude of 103,389 feet. In the 1950s, the aircraft had come to be exactly what the public had expected a fighter of this magnitude to look like. With a long, pencil shaped fuselage with short, sharp edged wings it encompassed the era of space flight and Sci-Fi with its design. The wings were one of the most unique parts of the aircraft, as well as its long fuselage taken up mostly by its large engine and fuel storage, and were only 4 inches and its thickest. Sweeping was only utilized on the leading edge, and a slight anhedral was in place to combat "Dutch Roll", a phenomenon where the aircraft rocks side-to-side uncontrollably. The wings, while helping with supersonic flight, were harmful to ground crews, and special equipment had to be issued to service these areas.
While having a history of accidents and high pilot attrition, the aircraft was fitted with an ejection seat. Due to the great speed of the aircraft at Mach 2, it was believed that the seat wouldn't have enough time to clear the tail section in an ejection scenario. Therefore, a downward firing ejection seat known as the Stanley C-1 was fitted into early models of the F-104. While a good idea, and in theory could work, the C-1 was also believed harmful in the case of a low-altitude ejection of the aircraft. After a failed introduction of the Stanley C-2 ejection seat, the problem was finally solved by the introduction of the Martin-Baker ejection system, particularly in foreign-operator's Starfighters. Roughly 153 F-104As were produced, with 26 more being F-104B two-seat variants. The F-104A spend a short time in USAF service before being send to Air National Guard (ANG) units, which some others being sent to foreign operators which had some success in their service. In September of 1958 the USAF would get the F-104C, a dedicated fighter-bomber variant designed for the USAF's Tactical Air Command's 479th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The F-104C featured improvements over the F-104A in the form of a better fire-control system as well as hardpoints on the centerline on the belly and under the wings. The aircraft also introduced the ability to refuel mid-flight via a probe running along the right side of the aircraft, extending the reach of the aircraft somewhat. However, like most of the A models ended up, the C models were quickly transferred to Air National Guard (ANG) units both of which served until around 1975 in their service. The first combat of the F-104 however wouldn't be seen until the Vietnam War, and while not having any kills to count was successful in keeping MiGs back and from intercepting friendly aircraft. The aircraft had a short service life in this theatre, only serving in 1965, and again from 1967-1969 until the introduction of the more-capable F-4 Phantom II by which it was replaced.
The aircraft saw its best success as the F-104G, of which Germany had many. The aircraft has come to be known as the "definitive" variant of the Starfighter. Sporting a reinforced airframe, larger vertical stabilizer, uprated turbofans, and improved electronics, the aircraft was initially built for the German Luftwaffe and first flew in October 1960. The aircraft's licensing was handled by multiple manufacturers, notably Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), FIAT, Fokker, and Sociétés Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques (SABCA). While in German service the aircraft earned the nickname "Widowmaker" when, between the years 1961 and 1989, 292 aircraft out of 916 had crashed, with 116 pilots being lost.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
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.
- Military Factory - Lockheed F-104 Starfighter: website
|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|
|Germany jet aircraft|
|Ar 234||Ar 234 B-2 · Ar 234 C-3|
|He 162||He 162 A-1 · He 162 A-2|
|Ho 229||Ho 229 V3|
|Me 163||Me 163 B · Me 163 B-0|
|Me 262||Me 262 A-1a · Me 262 A-1a/U1 · Me 262 A-1/U4 · Me 262 A-2a · Me 262 C-1a · Me 262 C-2b|
|USA||▀F-84F · CL-13A Mk 5 · CL-13B Mk.6 · ▀F-86K · F-104G|
|USSR||▀MiG-15bis · ▀MiG-19S · ▀MiG-21MF · ▀IL-28|
|Britain||Sea Hawk Mk.100|
|Italy||▀G.91 R/3 · ▀G.91 R/4|