RNoAF Lockheed RF-104G

RNoAF Lockheed RF-104G

TYPE: One-seated jet-fighter

1x 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled rotary cannon (725 rounds)
Hardpoints/Wing pylons: 7 with a capacity of 1,800 kg, with provisions to carry combinations of
Bombs, Rockets or other armament/equipment
Centre-pylon for missiles

Wingspan: 6.7m
Lenght: 16.7m
Crew: 1
Height: 4.11 m
Wing area: 18.22 m2
Airfoil: Biconvex 3.36% root and tip
Empty weight: 6.350 kg
Max takeoff weight: 13.166 kg
Powerplant: 1x General Electric J79-GE-11A afterburning turbojet, 44 kN thrust dry, 69 kN with afterburner

Maximum speed: 2.459 km/h
Maximum speed: Mach 2
Combat range: 680 km
Ferry range: 2.620 km
Service ceiling: 50.000 ft, 15.000 m
Rate of climb: 240 m/s
Lift-to-drag: 9.2
Wing loading: 510 kg/m2
Thrust/weight: 0.54 with max. takeoff weight, 0.76 loaded

SERIAL NUMBERS - times in service and fates

in the picture we see the 61-2632 FN-R/632

On 7 August 1963, the American aircraft carrier USS Croatan docked in Bodø. On board were 13 factory-new RF-104G Starfighters wrapped in plastic. One by one, the planes were lowered onto the quay and towed up the main street to Bodø main airport. 331 squadron was to become the only NATO squadron in this part of Europe with a Mach 2 fighter

The Korean War had accelerated the development of supersonic fighters in the United States, and the prototype flew for the first time on 7 February 1954. Several prototypes were made which eventually set world records for altitude, speed and climb time, incredible results in the late 50s. The first production machines were used by the USAF in 1958, but it was the NATO partners who were to put most of the Starfighters into use, including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Canada. The machine was controversial due to high loss figures and a concurrent scandal related to Lockheed’s sales methods. Some operators such as Germany, lost approximately 30% of their aircraft during their operational period, and Canada over 50%! this varied greatly from country to country, depending on operational conditions. Norway eventually lost 7 of 19 RF-104Gs and four pilots were killed. Many of the accidents were attributed to common causes that affect all types of aircraft, but nevertheless had special accident statistics

Even though the planes that arrived at Bodø on this August day in 1963 were Lockheed-built RF-104Gs, which were supposed to have camera equipment instead of cannon armament, the Norwegian planes were equipped as fighters (F104G) with normal armament. Already five days after arrival, FN-N (62-12238) was able to take off from Bodø with an American pilot in the driver’s seat. Three days later, Norwegian personnel took the planes up for the first time. Now the check-out of the rest of the pilots in 331 squadron started on the new machines. It became easier when the two-seater TF-104G arrived on 6 September. A further three single-seaters arrived on 26 October 1963 via Torp. In addition, the squadron received three Canadian-built F-104gs in 1965 and 1966.

In the early years the squadron functioned as an air-to-ground squadron, but in 1967 this changed. Now it was purely intercept missions that got the focus. The department had become familiar with the aircraft and was supposed to be on a 24-hour watch against intruders by air. In practice, this would mean Soviet reconnaissance aircraft that constantly operated in the sea areas off the Norwegian coast, in 1979, for example, 150 interceptions were carried out, most of them carried out by 331 squadron. in 1980 the number reached 200. Norwegian pilots were often the first to photograph new Soviet aircraft types

The F-104G was more than a plane. It was a complete weapon system and far exceeded what Norwegian pilots had dealt with previously. It made great demands on both the pilots and the technical personnel who had to keep the planes in operational condition. That they succeeded in this is beyond any doubt, and the accident statistics confirm it. It took 7 years and several thousand flight hours before the first serious accident occurred

In January 1981, the first crews were sent south to 332 squadron at Rygge to check out the F-16. Half a year later, 331 squadron received its first F-16As. Since the Starfighter was delivered as part of the Weapons Assistance Program, the aircraft in 331 Squadron, with the exception of some two-seaters, were still American property and were to be returned to the USAF. The planes were flown to England in the summer of 1981 and were then shortly passed on to Turkey as arms aid. There is therefore no F-104G/RF-104G in a Norwegian museum today

62-12240 - FN-X/240 - 26.10.1963 - 30.06.1981



rf-104g starfighter — ImgBB



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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter - Wikipedia


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