Lockheed F-94B Starfire: Biplane Food

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The F-94B was an improved variant of the F-94. In-game performance would be identical to the preceding F-94A with the exception of wing-mounted gunpods that double the aircraft’s firepower. The F-94B was the most-produced F-94 variant (when also counting refits) and the primary one to see combat during the Korean War.



F-94 Origins
The F-94 was developed in 1948 in response to the Tu-4 as a simple jet-powered interceptor with the goal of entering service as quickly as possible by using as many existing components as possible. To accomplish this, Lockheed modified the T-33A trainer, a twin-seat version of the F-80, to mount a radar and armament in the nose and feature an afterburner. The F-94 made its first flight in April 1949, with production starting in December that year and the type entering service in early 1950. This made the F-94 the USAF’s first afterburning aircraft and the first all-weather and night-combat capable jet aircraft in US service.

The F-94B
The first version of the F-94, the F-94A, had several issues. The J33-A-33 engine was unreliable and lacked de-icing for operations in the Arctic. The F-94A also lacked ejection seats due to delays in their design. Development of the F-94B began in April 1950, with the first example being making its maiden flight in December. The F-94B featured a number of modified avionics and auxiliary systems to improve the aircraft’s performance in all weather conditions. It also introduced a modified J33-A-33A engine with de-icing and improved reliability. The wingtip fuel tanks were redesigned for improved capacity and aerodynamics, and the F-94B finally added ejection seats. Production began from early 1951 and all F-94As were upgraded to F-94B standard over the next couple years.

Production and Service
355 F-94Bs were produced, all during 1951. These aircraft joined their F-94A brothers in Japan in March 1951, being sent to Korea in December. There, they served extensively, performing interception, air superiority, bomber escort, and even reconnaissance missions. The F-94B was highly regarded for its performance, ruggedness, and reliability. An F-94B made the first post-WWII night air-to-air kill, shooting down a North Korean La-9. But what the F-94B is best known for is the time it lost to a Po-2.
Throughout the Korean War, North Korean Po-2s carried out harassment raids against UN forces, especially airfields, much like they had in Soviet service during WWII. Able to fly at extremely low altitudes, these aircraft were difficult to detect and intercept. On May 3rd, 1953, American radar defense systems picked up an enemy aircraft flying over Cho-do Island. While never positively identified, its altitude and speed strongly suggest that this aircraft was a Po-2. A single F-94B, piloted by a 2nd Lt Stanton G Wilcox and operated by 2nd Lt Irwin L. “Goldie” Goldberg, was scrambled to intercept the biplane. With no one else in the area, information on what happened next is limited. The F-94B slowed to 110km/h, far below its stall speed, and Wilcox called out a splash, indicating he had downed the intruder. However, the F-94 then disappeared from radar, with neither the wreckage nor the crew ever seen again. Presumably, the F-94 stalled out soon after splashing the Polikarpov and sank into the ocean. In this way, the Po-2 holds the record of the only biplane to be credited with an air-to-air kill, albiet a maneuver one, against a jet aircraft. Conversely, the F-94B is the only jet to be destroyed in air-to-air combat against a biplane.
Following its Korean War service, the F-94B continued to serve in states-based squadrons, particularly in Alaska, as well as in the ANG. It was finally retired in 1958, having been replaced first by the F-86D and then the F-101 and F-102.



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-33A 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 871L 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, nose-mounted, 300rpg (1200 rounds total)

4x M3 Browning, wing-mounted, 300rpg (1200 rounds total)
2x 100, 250, 500, or 1000lb bombs, wingtip-mounted

2x 230gal fuel tanks, wingtip-mounted

AN/APG-33 search and track radar

A or B? The question of gunpods


The F-94 A 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? They’re the only particularly significant difference between the A and B, 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-94B in game


The F-94B would make an excellent high-speed boom-n-zoom fighter. It retains the speed and climb rate advantages of the F-94A, as well as the below-average maneuverability, but now has substantially increased firepower. Much like the 94A, the F-94B would excel in boom-n-zoom attacks, outclimbing the opponent using its afterburning engine and taking off before any other aircraft thanks to its JATO pods. The ability to carry up to a pair of 1000lb bombs 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-94B would fit well at BR 8.0 foldered under the F-94A at rank V, with the F-80s likely being foldered to make room for the F-94 family.



The F-94B is extremely similar to the F-94A, it can best be distinguished from its wingtip fuel tanks, which are mounted outside the wings instead of beneath them

F-94B in flight from another F-94B. One benefit of having two crew is the WSO can snap some great pictures!

F-94B in Korea, 1953

More Korean War F-94Bs

F-94B stationed in Japan, 1954

A rare photo of the F-94B with its gunpods, which were flush with the wing and had very limited impact on flight performance

Another ANG F-94B with gunpods, though the guns themselves seem to have been removed

F-94B without the fuel tanks. The tanks were optional and droppable, though typically carried through the entire mission

F-94B showing off its afterburner

Radar and FCS of the F-94A/B

Inside the cockpit

Gear collapse :(

F-94B layout, largely identical to the F-94A



AN 01-75FAB-1 Handbook Flight Operating Instructions USAF Series F-94B
F-94B Starfire Standard Aircraft Characteristics - 24 March 1952
Lockheed F-94 Starfire (historyofwar.org)
Lockheed F-94 Starfire - fighter (aviastar.org)
F-94B Starfire (globalsecurity.org)
Lockheed F-94B
The Time a Biplane “Shot Down” a Modern Jet Fighter – Reality Behind the Story - Military History - Military Matters

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


Huge +1 from me

UFO Chaser, let’s goo!

+1 can’t wait to hit them with my Po-2

+1, ideally foldered with the F-94A

Are you planning on suggesting the C and D models as well? Hope so! +1

Already have. I couldn’t decide which model to make a suggestion for-- so I did all of them, using a google doc and uploading them all at the same time. The C and D are still pending ;3

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Super! Can’t wait!

I’d like to see the F-94B vs Po-2 rematch :)

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