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Lockheed F-104C Starfighter


F-104C Starfighter  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the F-104C Starfighter be added to the USAF top tier lineage?

    • Yes.
      36
    • No.
      0


Aircraft: Lockheed F-104C Starfighter

 

Classification: single-seat jet interceptor & tactical strike fighter

 

Visuals: 

 

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Description: Designed to serve as a stopgap between the F-100 Super Sabre and imminent arrival of the new F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber, the F-104C was intended to meet the needs of the Tactical Air Command by improving the F-104A's  payload capacity and endurance in the air. This was primarily accomplished by fitting the aircraft with the more powerful J79-GE-7 which provided more thrust than the J79-GE-3 powerplant fitted to the F-104A, while also adding a centerline pylon attachment with a 2000 lb capacity that could carry tactical nuclear weapons. While the F-104C was primarily created to fulfill a nuclear strike role, it could also carry out ground attack duties with conventional rockets and bombs, though this was somewhat rare.

 

Other changes made to the F-104C included: 

  • An improved AN/ASG-14T-12 fire control system which allowed the F-104C to operate in clear sky night conditions (though the F-104C was not all-weather capable),
  • A removable inflight refuelling probe on the port side of the fuselage, 
  • Inclusion of a Lockheed C-3 rocket-boosted ejector seat as standard, 
  • And fitting late production F-104Cs with an additional pair of missile rails under the fuselage - although this was a rarely used feature considering the high drag it caused.

 

Despite these net improvements on paper, the F-104C still suffered a fair few major issues in service, largely centered around its new engines - which resulted in inopportune flameouts or compressor stalls (among other issues) that resulted in a loss of 24 aircraft and 9 pilots.

 

The first F-104C prototype took to the air in mid-1958, and they began to equip squadrons in September of that year with a total of 56 units produced. F-104Cs saw deployment during the Cuban Missile Crisis and were intended to carry out airstrikes pending an invasion, though this ultimately never came to fruition. F-104Cs were also used early on in Operation Rolling Thunder in the Vietnam War, where they were used to escort EC-121s over the Gulf of Tonkin as they provided radar warning coverage for F-105s. Although F-104Cs never shot down an enemy MiG over Vietnam, it’s widely believed that their presence on escort missions was enough to deter the possibility of a MiG attack. They were also tasked with weather reconnaissance, ground attack, and close air support missions where they were fairly successful. 

 

F-104Cs were eventually superseded by F-4D Phantoms in frontline service, and they were sent back to equip Air National Guard units, many of whom were still operating now-antiquated F-86Hs.

 

Fuel and Oil Data:

Fuel Grade: JP-4

Internal Fuel Capacity: 896 gallons (all in fuselage)

Fuel Weight: 7969 lbs (full internal fuel)

Oil Capacity: 4 gallons

 

Engine Data:

Manufacturer: General Electric

Designation: J79-GE-7

Compressor Type: single-spool 17-stage axial-flow 

Combustor Type: cannular 

Turbine Type: 3-stage

 

Power Data:

Maximum Power: 15800 lbf @ 7460 RPM for 30 min

Military Power: 10000 lbf @ 7460 RPM for 30 min

Normal Power: 9700 lbf @ 7460 RPM for continuous operation

 

Dimensional Data: 

Length: 54.8 ft

Height: 13.5 ft

Wing Span: 21.9 ft

Wing Area: 196.1 sq. ft 

Wing Loading: 97.9 lbs/sq. ft @ combat weight 

 

Weight Data:

Empty Weight: 12579 lbs

Design Weight: 16945 lbs

Area Intercept Weight: 16855 lbs

Combat Weight: 19201 lbs

Maximum Field Takeoff Weight: 27519 lbs 

Maximum Landing Weight: 16000 lbs

 

General Performance Data:

Max Speed: 1150 knots (2129.8 kph) @ 35000 ft w/ afterburner thrust @ 16855 lbs

Rate of Climb @ SL:  55000 ft/min (279.4 m/s) w/ afterburner @ 16855 lbs

Power-off, flaps-up Stall Speed: 163 knots (301.9 kph) @ 20031 lbs

Takeoff Distance: 2550 ft w/ afterburner (4300 ft w/ military power) @ 20031 lbs

Service Ceiling: 50800 ft w/ afterburner @ air intercept weight of 16855 lbs

Combat Ceiling: 56200 ft w/ afterburner @  air intercept weight of 16855 lbs

 

Structural Limits: 

Structural Limit Vne: 800 knots (1481.6 kph)

Maximum +G-load: 7.33G @ design weight of 16945 lbs

 

NOTE: exact speed:altitude figures have limited accuracy (+/- 5 knots) due to SAC graph resolution in some instances.

*Maximum Speeds ( weight of 19201 lbs, clean configuration, afterburner):

At SL: ~1.17M 

At 10000 ft: ~1.45M 

At 20000 ft: ~1.725M 

At 30000 ft: ~1.9M (2346.1 kph)

At 35000 ft: 1150 knots / 2.0M (whichever is reached first at the given altitude)

At 40000 ft: ~ 2.0M 

*limited by engine inlet temperature (250 degrees F)

 

NOTE: exact climb:altitude figures have limited accuracy due to SAC graph resolution.

Maximum Rate of Climb @ M=0.925 (combat weight of 19201 lbs, clean configuration, afterburner):

At SL: 51200 ft/min (260.1 m/s)

At 10000 ft: ~39000 ft/min (198.1 m/s)

At 20000 ft: ~28000 ft/min (142.2 m/s)

At 30000 ft: ~17500 ft/min (88.9 m/s)

~~At 35000 ft: 27500 ft/min (139.7 m/s) @ M=2.0~~

At 40000 ft: ~7000 ft/min (35.6 m/s)

 

NOTE: exact climb:altitude figures have limited accuracy due to SAC graph resolution.

Maximum Rate of Climb (takeoff weight of 22140 lbs, clean configuration, afterburner):

At SL: ~44000 ft/min (223.5 m/s)

At 10000 ft: ~34500 ft/min (175.3 m/s)

At 20000 ft: ~24500 ft/min (124.5 m/s)

At 30000 ft: ~14500 ft/min (73.7 m/s)

At 40000 ft: ~5000 ft/min (25.4 m/s)

 

Time to Climb (takeoff weight of 20031 lbs, clean configuration, afterburner):

From SL to 20K ft: 0.5 min

From SL to 30K ft: 1.0 min

 

Time to Climb (takeoff weight of 22140 lbs, clean configuration, military thrust):

From SL to 20K ft: 1.8 min

From SL to 30K ft: 3.2 min

 

Armament: 

Guns: 1c M-61 Vulcan 20mm cannon (750 rds total)

Missiles: 2x AIM-9B missiles (wingtip mounted) or 4x AIM-9Bs (2x wingtip, 2x centerline fuselage)

 

Bombs: generally special stores (nuclear bombs) which are omitted, else:

  • 2x 750 lb bombs

Rockets: 2x LAU-3 70mm rocket pods (19 rockets per pod)

 

 

Sources:

[1] Standard Aircraft Characteristics F-104C Starfighter Lockheed, 8 Dec 1958

[2] F-104 Starfighter in action by Phillip Friddell, Aircraft Number 135, squadron/signal publications, 1993, ISBN: 0-89747-299-3

[3] F-104 Starfighter in detail & scale by Bert Kinzey, D&S Vol.38, 1991, ISBN: 1-85310-626-7

[4] Lockheed F-104 Starfighter by Jim Upton, Volume 38, Warbird Tech Series, Specialty Press Publishers and Wholesalers, 2003, ISBN: 1-58007-069-8

[5] Lockheed F-104 Starfighter by Martin W. Bowman, Crowood Aviation Series, Crowood Press Ltd., 2000, ISBN: 1-86126-314-7

[6] Lockheed F-104 Starfighter by Charles Stafrace, Warpaint Series No.43, Warpaint Books Ltd.

 

Edited by Aquilachrysaetos
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  • Suggestion Moderator

Open for discussion.

 

 

Though I feel I should mention that your listed armament is incomplete. The F-104C could additionally carry a pair AIM-9's under the fuselage later into its service life. 

Additionally, it could carry 2x M117 750 lb bombs, or a pair of LAU-3 19 tube 70mm rocket pods. Though this is just my personal recommendation and not a requirement to add. :salute:

 

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3 minutes ago, Miki_Hoshii said:

Open for discussion.

 

 

Though I feel I should mention that your listed armament is incomplete. The F-104C could additionally carry a pair AIM-9's under the fuselage later into its service life. 

Additionally, it could carry 2x M117 750 lb bombs, or a pair of LAU-3 19 tube 70mm rocket pods. Though this is just my personal recommendation and not a requirement to add. :salute:

 

Yeah, I was just going off the SAC's listed ordnance types...which is incomplete considering some of the items I mentioned in the description/visuals.

 

I'll add these to the ordnance section along with any other specifics I find.

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+1 and it should be added to numerous Nations, Germany and Italy for example...

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  • 1 month later...
  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

As the F-104C has been added as per update 1.99 Starfighters,

 

Moved to Implemented Suggestions.:salute:

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