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Rank VI Israel | Premium | Golden Eagles
Merkava Mk.2D Pack
This page is about the American jet fighter F-104C. For other versions, see F-104 (Family).
GarageImage F-104C.jpg
9.7 10.0 9.7
Research:220 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:590 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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The F-104C 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 142 km/h
Turn time34 s
Max altitude17 678 m
EngineGeneral Electric J79-GE-7a
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight24 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 10,668 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 2,097 2,070 17678 34.5 34.9 203.3 194.7 1,200
Upgraded 2,188 2,142 33.6 34.0 269.3 235.0


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 + -
1,527 546 N/A 827 444 ~13 ~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-7a 1 6,235 kg 514 kg/m2
Engine characteristics Mass with fuel (no weapons load) Max Takeoff
Weight (each) Type 10m fuel 20m fuel 30m fuel 35m fuel
1,540 kg Afterburning axial-flow turbojet 7,027 kg 7,740 kg 8,493 kg 8,874 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 4,171 kgf 6,540 kgf 0.93 0.84 0.77 0.74 0.27
Optimal 4,171 kgf
(0 km/h)
8,544 kgf
(1,200 km/h)
1.22 1.10 1.01 0.96 0.36

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear546 km/h

In terms of armour, there is no armour on the F-104C. Since the F-104C relies on high speed, it wouldn't need armour as that would reduce the speed and manoeuvrability of the plane. The F-104C 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
AB3 600 → 4 773 Sl icon.png
RB12 230 → 16 216 Sl icon.png
SB14 770 → 19 585 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications203 000 Rp icon.png
317 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 600 Ge icon.png
Crew training170 000 Sl icon.png
Experts590 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces950 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
80 / 320 / 360 % Sl icon.png
220 / 220 / 220 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods jet compressor.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
290 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
440 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine.png
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
440 Ge icon.png
Mods g suit.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
34 000 Sl icon.png
570 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
290 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
34 000 Sl icon.png
570 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods napalm fire bomb.png
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
290 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods air to air missile.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
290 Ge icon.png
Mods weapon.png
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
440 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon block rocket.png
22 000 Rp icon.png
34 000 Sl icon.png
570 Ge icon.png


Offensive armament

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

The F-104C is armed with:

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

Suspended armament

List of setups (6)
Setup 13 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bomb
Setup 238 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
Setup 32 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Setup 42 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
3 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bomb
Setup 52 x BLU-1 Incendiary bomb
Setup 62 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
2 x BLU-1 Incendiary bomb

The F-104C can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 3 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bombs (2,250 lb total)
  • 38 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 3 x 750 lb M117 cone 45 bombs (2,250 lb total)
  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles + 38 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets

Usage in battles

The F-104C is best to be used to pick on slow enemies. This is one of the best ways to play the F-104C, especially in uptiers where the plane's performance is outshined by top-rank jets. The plane does best at downtiers, where the plane can prioritize on high-threat planes first before handling the easier jets. As such, fast planes (and planes with excellent missiles) like the F-104G, MiG-19S, MiG-21F-13, Yak-38, Yak-38M, etc. should be prioritized as main threats to the F-104C. If an enemy tries to get onto the F-104C's tail, try to use the plane's speed to extend from them. If this is not possible, use the F-104C's exceptional roll rate to conduct defensive manoeuvres and try to make the attacking aircraft overshoot.


The F-104C is equipped with an AN/ASG-14 search and tracking radar. The radar is mounted in the nose of the aircraft.

AN/ASG-14 - Target Detection Radar
Max Azimuth
Scan Angle
Max Elevation
Scan Angle
37,000 m 15,000 m ±45° ±45°
AN/ASG-14 - Target Tracking Radar
Azimuth Tracking
Elevation Tracking
18,500 m 150 m ±10° ±10°

Pros and cons


  • Great top speed
  • Great rate of climb
  • Good roll rate for a jet with tiny wings
  • Decent high-speed manoeuvrability
  • Powerful M61 Vulcan cannon can rip enemy aircraft to shreds
  • Improved selection of secondary ordnance over the F-104A
  • Access to napalm bombs


  • Lousy low-speed manoeuvrability
  • Bleeds energy easily in sustained turn fights
  • Only 750 rounds of cannon ammo; with such a high rate of fire, trigger discipline is a must
  • Air-to-air missiles are weak compared to analogues of the rank
  • Lacks countermeasures
  • Full fuel tank will last about 10 - 15 mins if WEP is used
  • Hard to use plane's advantages against top-rank vehicles


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 power-plant 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 development history of the F-104 Starfighter begins in 1951, when Lockheed's lead engineer visited US pilots in Korea. The feedback given to Johnson was clear - US planes were too large and complex and would often find themselves inferior to the much smaller and simpler Soviet MiG-15. On his return to the United States, Johnson assembled a team of engineers and started developing an aircraft that would address the concerns of the pilots.

The result of this undertaking was the F-104 Starfighter, whose first prototype, designated XF-104, first took to the skies on the 4th March 1954. Although both prototypes were lost during testing, the results delivered by the prototypes were promising enough for the USAF to accept the aircraft into service in November 1955.

Soon after entering production, the F-104 quickly also became a highly popular aircraft on the export market. West Germany was, alongside the United States, the primary operator of the Starfighter, owning over 900 F-104s in its air force at the peak of its service career. However, 13 other nations also employed the F-104 such as Canada, Italy, Japan, Spain, and many more.

The F-104 saw most of its combat service with the USAF, most notably taking part in the Vietnam War. Furthermore, the F-104 also saw combat during the Indo-Pakistani Wars in the mid '60's - early '70's while flying under Pakistani colors.

In the end, over 2,500 Starfighters would be built, with most being gradually decommissioned by the end of the Cold War. Italy was the last to decommission its F-104s in the early 2000s.


File:F104C in the hanger .png
F-104C in the hangar.

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
F-4  F-4C Phantom II · F-4E Phantom II · F-4J Phantom II
F-5  F-5A · F-5C · F-5E
F-8  F8U-2 · F-8E
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 · F11F-1 · F-100D · F-14A Early
A-4  A-4B · A-4E Early
A-7  A-7D · A-7E
AV-8  AV-8A · AV-8C
A-10  A-10A · A-10A Late
B-57  B-57A · B-57B
F-105  F-105D