Still looks cool though.
So it's a Tuesday after a long weekend. A long, rather melancholy weekend. I am not feeling all that creative today. So today is all about aircraft which I saw on another blog and which provides me with a reason to link to a post by someone else.
Saving me the need to be creative today and giving you, the Reader, with something interesting to look at.
The following is from Wikipedia (surprise, surprise, surprise) with my commentary in red italics. Unlike a Blue Ray disc, you can't turn off the commentary. Sorry.
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) by Lockheed. (It's more of a manned missile than an aircraft. I mean seriously, the AMRAAM has more wing area!) One of the Century Series of aircraft, it was operated by the air forces of more than a dozen nations from 1958 to 2004. (Century Series: F-100, F-101, F-102, etc. Note that the F-117 is not part of the Century Series. The Air Force is not very good at sticking to numbering or naming conventions of any kind.)
The F-104 served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units until 1975. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until 1994. (NASA was somewhat taken aback when they learned that the cockpit did not go into orbit all by itself. I mean c'mon, it looks like a rocket. Am I right?) USAF F-104Cs saw service during the Vietnam War, and F-104A aircraft were deployed by Pakistan briefly during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Republic of China Air Force (Taiwan) F-104s also engaged the People's Liberation Army Air Force (China) over the disputed island of Quemoy. The operational service of the Starfighter ended with its retirement by the Italian Air Force in May 2004. (Though very fast and sexy looking, even the Italians got tired of the poor safety record of this bird.)
A total of 2,578 Starfighters were eventually produced, mostly by NATO members. A set of modifications produced the F-104G model, which won a NATO competition for a new fighter-bomber. (Seriously, a fighter bomber? Where does one hang the bombs?) Several two-seat trainer versions were also produced, the most numerous being the TF-104G. The ultimate production version of the basic fighter model F-104 was the F-104S all-weather interceptor designed by Aeritalia for the Italian Air Force and equipped with radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. (A missile carrying missiles. Neat.) An advanced F-104 with a high-mounted wing, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, did not proceed past the mock-up stage.
The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye, especially in German Air Force service. The subsequent Lockheed bribery scandals surrounding the original purchase contracts caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan. (OMG. Bribery? Involving a defense contractor and a foreign nation? Joe, say it ain't so!)
Still and all, it was a cool looking aircraft. I had a model of one when I was a kid. All shiny and silvery it was.
If you simply must have one (Murph) they have them for sale in various parts of the world. You can go here to see what's available and for how much. But this one in Denison, TX looked enticing. (Looks to be in reasonable shape too!)
|For Sale, Seriously...|
Oh yes, what sparked this sudden interest in the venerable F-104 Starfighter?
|I don't know; ask the skipper|
Um, yeah. That last caption was a link.