Lockheed F-94A Starfire: Super Shooting Star

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The F-94 Starfire was an interceptor based off of the F-80 Shooting Star, or more accurately, the T-33 Shooting Star that itself was based on the F-80. It featured an afterburning engine (the first USAF aircraft to feature one) and an intercept radar (the first operational American jet to do so). The F-94 began replacing the F-82 Twin Mustang and P-61 Black Widow in Air Defense Command service in 1949, and from March 1951 saw extensive combat in Korea. The F-94A was the first variant of the F-94 and saw limited combat in Korea, the variant having been largely replaced by F-94Bs by 1951.



Immediately post-war, the role of defensive interceptor fell upon the P-61 Black Widow. While jet interceptor programs were initiated in late 1945, these weren’t given very high priority and weren’t expected to produce any aircraft until at least 1949. This wasn’t seen as an issue, as the only nations known to have long-range heavy bombers were the US and UK.
This all changed on August 3rd, 1947, when the Tu-4 was revealed at the Tushino Air Show. By this point the wartime alliance had ended and relations between the US and USSR had crumbled, with the Cold War just beginning. Suddenly faced with a rival nation capable of striking the mainland US, the aging P-61 was no longer sufficient for interception duties.
As an interim measure, the F-82 was brought back into service and modified with a radar pod for night/all-weather operations. Work on the jet-powered XF-89 redoubled, though the program was running into frequent delays and wasn’t expected to produce an aircraft until 1950. To solve this issue, Lockheed was tasked with developing an alternative jet interceptor, and quickly.

The F-94A
In order to quickly produce a high-performance jet interceptor, Lockheed would need to modify an existing design rather than starting from scratch. The XF-94 would be based on the T-33A Shooting Star, a twin-seat trainer variant of the legendary F-80. Because the T-33 already had a twin-seat configuration, there was no need to modify the aircraft to accommodate the pilot and WSO. The XF-94 shared most of its components with the T-33A (and 75% shared components with the F-80C), being essentially just a T-33 with a radar and armament in an extended nose and a new afterburning variant of the J33 engine. The F-94 was originally intended to carry a standard complement of 6x M3 Brownings, but due to space limitations this was reduced to 4.
The first two prototype YF-94s, modified T-33s, made their maiden flights in April 1949, ahead of schedule. The first production F-94A was completed on December 29th that year, with the aircraft becoming operational in early 1950. This made the F-94 the first afterburning aircraft in USAF service, as well as the first operational American jet capable of performing in all weather and at night. Beyond its interception duties, the F-94A had a secondary ground attack capability, being able to carry a pair of bombs of up to 1000lb each on the wingtips.

Production and Service
109 F-94As were produced in 1950 and 1951, the first 17 by converting T-33s and the rest being new airframes. These aircraft served initially in Continental Air Command units stationed in Washington, being the primary aircraft responsible for repelling Soviet bombers should they appear. When the F-94B entered service in April 1951, some F-94As (alongside new Bs) were sent to the Far East Air Force. These aircraft were used to defend Japanese airspace. Due to the advanced nature of the aircraft, F-94As were not permitted to enter hostile airspace during combat missions, for fear the aircraft would be captured and reverse-engineered. As the F-94B became more common, F-94As were sent to Air National Guard service back in the states. There, they would all be retrofitted to F-94B standard. The F-94A performed well, but it wasn’t without faults. The J33-A-33 engine was unreliable, the rear cockpit (originally intended for an instructor on the T-33) was cramped and difficult to enter quickly during a scramble, the aircraft was unmaneuverable at extreme altitudes, and the F-94 critically lacked ejection seats, something that posed a serious danger for a transonic aircraft.



Length: 12.2m
Span: 11.9m
Height: 3.9m
Wing area: 22.1m^2
Min wing loading: 196.0 kg/m^2
Empty weight: 4,334kg
Loaded weight: 5,534kg
Combat weight: 5,960kg
MTOW: 6,964kg

1x J33-A-33 afterburning turbojet
Max thrust, dry: 20.5kN
Max thrust, afterburning: 26.7kN
Max TWR (WEP): 0.63
Max internal fuel: 1,204L
Max external fuel: 2x 625L drop tanks (wingtips)

2x 12AS-1000D-4 RATO boosters (under-fuselage)
Thrust: 4.4kN (each)
Burn time: 12 seconds
Weight: 200lb each

Max speed (sea level): 1,114km/h
Max climb rate: 47.0m/s*
*11,400lb (5,171kg) loaded weight, clean, sea level
Max g loading: 7.33g

4x M3 Browning, 300rpg (1,200 rounds total), nose-mounted

2x 100, 250, 500, or 1000lb bombs, wingtip-mounted

2x 165gal fuel tanks, wingtip-mounted

AN/APG-33 search and track radar

A or B? The question of gunpods


The F-94A and B both initially featured 4 M3 machine guns. However, in ANG service some F-94s were fitted with wing-mounted gunpods with 2 additional machine guns each, for a total of 8. These aircraft were, as far as I can find, exclusively F-94As retrofitted to F-94B standard. So, should the gunpods be added in-game on the F-94A or F-94B? The gunpods are the only particularly significant difference between the two, so unless one variant (probably the A) is premium/event/etc and the other (the B) is tech tree, it doesn’t make sense for both aircraft to have the gunpods as they would be functionally identical. I personally would advocate for both variants to be tech tree, with the gunpods on the B (as the F-94s that carried them were classified at the time) for a more logical progression. This would allow for the more common configuration as well as the optimal configuration to both be represented in the tech tree at their respective BRs.

The F-94A in game


The F-94A would be an excellent high-speed fighter. Significantly faster and with a higher climb rate than the F-80C, the F-94A lags behind in firepower and maneuverability due to its higher weight. The F-94 would excel in boom-n-zoom attacks, outclimbing the opponent using its afterburning engine and taking off before any other aircraft thanks to its RATO pods. The ability to carry a pair of bombs up to 1000lb each would also provide some limited CAS capabilities, though not nearly to the extent of other US fighters such as the F-84 or even F-80. Overall, I believe the F-94A would fit well at BR 7.7 following the F-80C at rank V, with the F-80s likely being foldered to make room for the F-94 family.



The T-33, note the smaller nose

An early F-94A. The A can be differentiated from the B by the fuel tanks being under the wing instead of in line with them

F-94A captured from inside an F-94A

Another interesting livery

Multiple F-94As in formation

The enlarged rear fuselage of the F-94A provides space for the afterburner while balancing out the enlarged nose

Radar and FCS of the F-94A/B

Lockheed F-94A Starfire > National Museum of the United States Air Force™ > Display
Inside the cockpit

F-94A layout (I promise this isn’t restricted)



AN 01-75FAB-1 Handbook Flight Operating Instructions USAF Series F-94B
F-94A Starfire Standard Aircraft Characteristics - 21 November 1949
Lockheed F-94 Starfire (historyofwar.org)
Lockheed F-94 Starfire - fighter (aviastar.org)
F-94 Starfire (globalsecurity.org)
Lockheed F-94A

Check out the other members of the F-94 family!


+1 for this, would like to see it as a prem or squadron alongside the F-94B in the TT

+1, I still find it idiotic that Gaijin simply skipped over the vast majority of 50’s jets