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VTOL | Rank 5 USSR
Yak-38 Pack
This page is about the jet fighter F-104A. For other versions, see F-104 (Family).
GarageImage F-104A.jpg
9.7 10.0 9.7
Research:390 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:1 000 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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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".

General info

Flight performance

Arrestor gear
Accelerates braking by grabbing the brake cable on the deck of the aircraft carrier
Air brakes
Allows you to dramatically reduce the flight speed by releasing special flaps
Drogue parachute
Reduces braking distance when landing on any runway
Max speed
at 10 668 m2 149 km/h
Turn time32 s
Max altitude18 900 m
EngineGeneral Electric J79-GE-3
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight24 t
F-104 Starfighter breaks the soundbarrier at sunset with its afterburner roaring
A F-104A Starfighter breaks the sound barrier at sunset

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
Stock 2,104 2,079 18900 32.4 33.0 190.9 182.9 1,180
Upgraded ___ ___ __._ __._ __._ __._


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
Combat Take-off Landing + -
1527 546 N/A 833 444 ~12 ~5
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 720 < 950 < 800 N/A

Engine performance

Engine Aircraft mass
Engine name Number Basic Mass 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
Maximum engine thrust @ 0 m (RB / SB) 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
(0 km/h)
7,751 kgf
(1,200 km/h)
1.12 1.00 0.91 0.87 0.32

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural1 527 km/h
Gear546 km/h

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 manoeuvrability of the plane. The F-104A is a very long plane and it is not very manoeuvrable, 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 armour
  • Self-sealing fuel tanks

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB5 570 → 7 385 Sl icon.png
RB7 470 → 9 905 Sl icon.png
SB17 950 → 23 801 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications290 000 Rp icon.png
858 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 600 Ge icon.png
Crew training290 000 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces950 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
120 / 240 / 440 % Sl icon.png
220 / 220 / 220 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
29 000 Rp icon.png
85 000 Sl icon.png
400 Ge icon.png
Mods jet compressor.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
65 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
24 000 Rp icon.png
71 000 Sl icon.png
330 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
71 000 Sl icon.png
330 Ge icon.png
Mods g suit.png
47 000 Rp icon.png
140 000 Sl icon.png
660 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
65 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
47 000 Rp icon.png
140 000 Sl icon.png
660 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
29 000 Rp icon.png
85 000 Sl icon.png
400 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods air to air missile.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
65 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods weapon.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
71 000 Sl icon.png
330 Ge icon.png


Offensive armament

Ammunition750 rounds
Fire rate6 000 shots/min
Main article: M61 (20 mm)

The F-104A is armed with:

  • 1 x 20 mm M61 cannon, chin-mounted (750 rpg)

Suspended armament

Number of setups1
List of setups
Setup 12 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Main article: AIM-9B Sidewinder

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 manoeuvres 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 manoeuvrability, 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.

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 manoeuvrability, 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 manoeuvrability
  • 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[1]. 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[2]. The USAF chose Lockheed Martin's prototype, with its unusually stubby straight wings, in a time when fighters had large, swept back, wings[2]. 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[2]. 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[3].


F104A Starfighter flying with a full afterburner on a clear starry night (in-game screenshot)
F-104A Starfighter Among the Stars


See also

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.

External links


Lockheed Corporation
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
AV-8  AV-8A · AV-8C
F-4  F-4C Phantom II · F-4E Phantom II
F-80  F-80A-5 · F-80C-10
F-84  F-84B-26 · F-84F · 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 · F2H-2 · F3D-1 · F3H-2 · F8U-2 · F11F-1 · F-100D
A-4  A-4B · A-4E Early
A-7  A-7D
B-57  B-57A · B-57B