Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Published September 04, 2008
Lockheed F-104A-10-LO Starfighter
Engine: One General Electric J79-GE-3A/3B turbojet; thrust: 9,600 lbs (14,800 lbs in afterburner)
Wingspan: 21 ft 9 in
Length: 54 ft 8 in
Height: 13 ft 5 in
Weight: empty: 13,184 lbs; max: 25,840 lbs
Speed: max: 1,037 mph at 50,000 ft
Range: normal: 730 miles; max: 1,400 miles (with drop tanks)
Service Ceiling: 64,795 ft
Armament: One single 20-mm M61A1 cannon internal; two AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on wingtips
Designed as a supersonic air-superiority fighter, the F-104 was produced in two major versions. Armed with a six-barrel M-61 20mm Vulcan cannon, it served as a tactical fighter, and when equipped additionally with heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, as a day-night interceptor. Development of the F-104 began in 1952, and the first XF-104 made its initial flight in 1954. The Starfighter became the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude, and time-to-climb.
The US Air Force procured about 300 Starfighters in one- and two-seat versions. In addition, more than 1,700 F-104s were built in the United States and abroad under the military aid program for various nations including Canada, West Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Taiwan, and Japan.
The museum's F-104A, serial number 56-0753, was manufactured by Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, California, and delivered to the United States Air Force on August 7,1957. On August 8,1957 it was assigned to the Air Force Operational Test Center (Air Proving Ground) at Eglin AFB, Florida. It was dropped from the active inventory on August 22,1957 due to a flying accident. The aircraft was subsequently repaired for static display and added to the US Air Force Museum System.
Hill Aerospace Museum acquired the aircraft in December 2007 from Camp Joseph T. Robinson, an Army National Guard base in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The aircraft had been on static display there in an airpark for more than 25 years. It was disassembled and trucked cross-country to the museum, where it is now undergoing a complete restoration by our volunteers, with the support of various organizations on base.