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F-104 question.

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posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:04 AM
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I'd like a question answered if any ATS members out there can help me.

I have just been reading about the BAC Lightning and P.6 (a proposed single engined development of the Lightning) in in one paragraph it mentions that ; "the Lightning was the worlds only operational pure fighter until the F-15 made its debut 15 years later and suffered none of the limitations of the F-104"

My question is what were those limitations on the F-104 that the Lightning apparently did not have?




posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:18 AM
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prone to accidents, far more than u expect to see. also range and some other stuff. i forgot. all i know is dat the Lightning is far superior. good British engineering. makes us Yanks envy yall.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:29 AM
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Hmmm, do I detect an American attempt at sarcasm? Maybe I do.


Anyhow, yes, I do know of the F-104's poor accident record but I can't see the Lightning having an advantage on range as that was always an achilles heel of the type. Its the term 'limitations' that makes me think there was something specific and this is what I am curious about.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:33 AM
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waynos, the F-104 was limited by a number of factors in relation to the F-15:


The solution adopted by Lockheed was a small, lightweight design with a powerful engine called the F-104 Starfighter. Though capable of speeds exceeding Mach 2 and of reaching altitudes exceeding 90,000 ft, the Starfighter suffered from limited range, poor turn radius, limited payload capacity, and unforgiving flight characteristics. The F-104 was used for a time by both the Strategic Air Command as an interceptor and the Tactical Air Command as a fighter bomber. Due to its limitations, however, production was stopped in 1959 and the aircraft withdrawn from front-line service in 1960.

F-104 Starfighter

Other limitations:


The sole armament of the F-104A was the heat-seeking AIM-9B Sidewinder, with one carried on each wingtip.



In fact, at the outset its most noticeable characteristic was its high accident rate, with 49 lost up to 1961. Partly the problem was the type's unprecedented high performance; partly the problem was its immaturity, J79 engine failures being a particular sore point; and partly the problem was that even when everything was working right, it was was a demanding aircraft and not friendly to inexperienced pilots.

The downward-firing ejection seat was a particularly unpopular feature, since it meant that surviving a failure at low altitude was very unlikely. Pilots were supposed to try to roll the aircraft over for a low-altitude escape, but this was not always easy to do. Famed test pilot and ace Iven C. Kincheloe was killed in an F-104A at Edwards AFB on 26 July 1958. He tried to roll over but ended up punching out sideways.

The F-104A's combat utility was marginal at best. It lacked the combat avionics of a proper interceptor and in hindsight its armament was inadequate. Many sources complain about its limited range, but the type's defenders insist that it was comparable to other fast combat jets of the time, none of which had very good range if the afterburner was engaged for more than short times. The F-104C was more satisfactory, basically the machine that Kelly Johnson had been hoping to build.



In the attack role, although the Starfighter lacked the ruggedness needed to survive enemy air defenses, its tiny wing gave it a fast smooth ride at low level.

Starfighter Origins / F-104 In USAF Service

I am sure that I have not cited all the F-104s limitations, but most.





seekerof



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:42 AM
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I thought that the original use of the F-104 was to be a fast air defence interceptor. There was never any intention of using it as an escort or strike aircraft. That was supposed to be the mission of the F-105. All the 104 was to be was a carrier for anti-bomber missiles. That's where it aquired the nickname "missile with a man in it". I love how people try to make things do stuff that it wasn't designed for then when it fails blame it on the design.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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You are somewhat correct in that the F-104 was later used/utilized primarily as a fast air defence interceptor.

The F-104 still remains classed as a multirole fighter though, in the same way as the F-15 was classed, and the JSF, etc.





seekerof

[edit on 1-11-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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Thank you seekerof, excellent info


I seem to have seen most of those shortcomings also mentioned as applying to the Lightning too so thats curious.

I can see how the F-104 was less manouverable, that makes sense, but the avionics system of the Lightning has also been described as 'inadequate' while its short range and light weapon load (also limited to two AAM's) was one of the reasons the UK bought the F-4M.

From the sources I have been able to check the Lightning would appear to have been more manouverable and faster climbing and easier to handle with no vicious tendencies but rather evenly matched on most other fronts.

One interesting (and previously unsuspected by me) piece of information was that when the Lightning switched over from the DH Firestreak to the DH Red Top all-aspect 'fire and forget' missile it proved to be more flexible, more accurate and more reliable than all versions of the Sidewinder up until the AIM-9L, I had previously thought that these missiles were replaced by sidewinders with the RAF because they weren't very good but apparently it was a political and economic decision.

I love it when learning one thing new leads me onto something else I didn't know!


I don't believe the F-104's nickname had anything to do with its role (but it was an interceptor first, the first muti-role version was the F-104C) but was rather aimed at its revolutionary shape with its long body and tiny stubby wings.

[edit on 1-11-2005 by waynos]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 12:30 PM
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Oh man the good ol 104 yeah. Well we canadians had the thing for sometime too. perticulary in the europe theatre for the cold war. guess who was one of the first airforces that said we want to take these small fast high alt interseptors planes and use them as low level recon and nuke or bomb drops in the ussr... Can. Those low level missions are what gave it the nick name widow maker.

give us canadians a plane and we find how to use it the wrong way. I remeber reading about a red flag ex in which we used the starfighter to come in and take out a american sam. well the pilots thought that if they came in fast and really really low. when they attacked they would slowed down and take it out it would be easier right? well they speed into the attack and then pop out the flaps speed brakes and gear and go into the attack in slow slow or dirty flight. the sam base all the sudden heard a roar and are told they are dead.
As the planes left the americans caught them on radar while they burned away and filed a complaint saying that the runs of that day weren't suppose to have and harriers in them
. The widow maker was a hard plane to love with its teething problems but it still was a beauty and its sad to have it off the military flight lines with italy? i think that just retired theirs.

[edit on 1-11-2005 by Canada_EH]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 08:03 PM
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Italy actually just retired their F-104s. The US Airforce never really used them all that much though.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:22 PM
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Mirage Ⅲ, F-5 Freedomfighter, F-8 Crusader, MiG-23 Flogger MiG-21 Fishbed.
On the other hand, F-104 actually was a intercepter, not a fighter despite its named starfighter.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:49 PM
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I always thought of the F-104 as an airfield air defense fighter. Real short range aircraft. Real fast climb to altitude.

Didn't the Lightning have the climb to altitude record for a while? Or still?

Ok, a couple of websites say it did.

Maximum Initial rate of climb: 55000 feet per minute



The Lightning continues to hold certain categories in climb to altitude records and is justifiably admired for its vertical climb performance.


F-104 disadvantages: too small, wing too small, not enough fuel, small ordnance load, hard to fly, and take-off/landing speed (stall speed) was too high causing numerous accidents.

I've seen comparisons between the F-104 and Ed Heinemann's Hot Rod, the A-4 Skyhawk. The A-4 is pretty much everything done right in a very small fighter.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:50 PM
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emile, the F-104 was designed as a multirole fighter, which later, it's role later changed to primarily that of interceptor. Nonetheless, the aircraft is still identified and classed as a multirole fighter, not interceptor.


The USAF seemed to be more or less sold on the F-104, awarding Lockheed a contract on 2 March 1956 for an initial batch of production aircraft. The contract actually specified four different Starfighter variants:

The "F-104A" single-seat daylight interceptor for the USAF Air Defense Command (ADC).

The "F-104B" two-seat trainer derivative of the F-104A.

The "F-104C" single-seat fighter-bomber for the USAF Tactical Air Command (TAC).

The "F-104D" two-seat trainer variant of the F-104C.

Starfighter Origins / F-104 In USAF Service





seekerof



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 10:06 PM
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So starfighter still was a fighter as F-4 Phantom II or F-15 Eagle?
Then the book Waynos read was wrong?
Waynos:
What's the name of your book you read?



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 07:42 AM
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No emile, the book isn't wrong. As seekerof has posted; the F-104A was an interceptor and thus directly comparable with the Lightning F.1, the F-104C was a fighter bomber, they were both ordered at the same time, hence the multi-role classification.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 07:43 AM
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Originally posted by ZPE StarPilot
The A-4 is pretty much everything done right in a very small fighter.


or bomber even



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
the F-104 was designed as a multirole fighter


- My understanding of this was that the F104 was originally 'multirole' only in the most superficial and marginal sense (so much so that the USAF didn't really want it, unusually preferring - by far - the hugely more capable 'navy' MD Phantom 2).

IIRC the F104 Starfighter didn't become truely multirole in the usual and meaningful sense of the word until Lockheed completely reworked the design for the European 'sale (bribery corruption and fraud?) of the century' when it was turned into the F104G/S models.

As for Waynos' question about drawbacks or limitations......

......did ground workers on the Lightning ever have to wear thick clothes and gloves and place protective guards on the leading edges of the wings/tailplanes to avoid being cut and injured on their sharpness?


(is that a Starfighter myth, anyone know?)



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 09:42 AM
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What a great thread! The Lightning and the F104 have got to be my two favourite aircraft ever, and here they are being discussed together!

Just thinking about them makes me feel like I'm that twelve-year-old aeroplane nut again. (And that was a looong time ago...)



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey

Originally posted by Seekerof
the F-104 was designed as a multirole fighter

......did ground workers on the Lightning ever have to wear thick clothes and gloves and place protective guards on the leading edges of the wings/tailplanes to avoid being cut and injured on their sharpness?


(is that a Starfighter myth, anyone know?)


Well i know that the canadian forces would put plastic guards or styrafoam blocks over the leading edges. Usally if they had it in the hanger or where working on it i believe the guards where usally on and they would take the guards off when they head it on the flight lines.



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 02:40 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
No emile, the book isn't wrong. As seekerof has posted; the F-104A was an interceptor and thus directly comparable with the Lightning F.1, the F-104C was a fighter bomber, they were both ordered at the same time, hence the multi-role classification.

Yes, Waynos, if the StarFghter really was designed as a multirole fighter originally, the book you read was correct, because I think everyone would agree no one gram was used as F-15 Eagle as dogfight role on the BAE Lightning.
But here we should define a diferece between mulirole fighter with no-frills or onefold or say pute fighter which even couldn't carry any bomb, but can do dogfight superiorly.
Yes I have never seen a Lightning load one bomb. If I will see in the future, I will re-raise this topic



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 06:17 AM
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I'm pretty sure that I have seen photos of Saudi Lightnings with bomb racks.
Waynos! Back me up here!



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