Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
sygy

What an F-104 could have been

Recommended Posts

After leaning (years ago) about the Lancer that Lockheed proposed, based on the F-104, I've since built some plastic models of what I think the F-104 could have been if someone besides me thought that K.J. simply forgot to wings on the F-104. I'm not knocking the old Starfighter as I think the F-104 is one of the most beautiful jets ever, but the wings are laughable. I ran some calcs on an accurate plan view and found that the wing area of the actual exposed wing (not counting what is inside the body) is only about 110 square feet! Yikes!!!!

 

I've attach a photoshopped picture of a SF2 Screenshot of what could have been. With 300 square feet of wing area, slightly swept, with strakes to help control forebody vortices, and a low mounted tailplane, this Starfighter could out-fly, out-climb, and out-turn any other jet of the era (and probably a few today) from 200 knots to mach 1.2. I also think it would still hit mach 2+. The body would also have to be enlarged a bit to increase internal fuel as it was notoriously short legged. It could have been the F-16 of the 1950s.

 

I have adjusted the Starfighter's data file to approximate this concept. Even using the actual J-79 engine parameters and a weight increase to match the concept, I still blow away all other aircraft in a guns dogfight - with ease. And this design is well within the technology of the time.

 

What I would reaaaaaalllly love, is for some intrepid modder (who happens to feel the same way I do) to make a visual model to match. Even if someone just did the Lockheed Lancer I would be happy, but this F-104 mod would make me glow in the dark. If I had the software I'd do it myself, but I don't and it would take some time to get up to speed on SF2 modding.

 

Cheers

post-2713-0-93611800-1323640448.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is one beautiful fighter. Any plans to create an actual model for this?

 

I would love to, but I don't have the software. I was hoping a modder that is an F-104 fan might take this on. I'm sure it would be a relatively simple mod of an existing F-104, but I've noticed that there are few "what-if" airplanes for SF2 as most people seem to want the real thing. I kinda like the what-if's, especially if they are reasonable extrapolations of real planes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a good wing/tail combination, the F-104 would have been the US equivalent to the MiG-21. Instead, it was optimized for speed/rate-of-climb/altitude to put it out of reach of the MiG-15/MiG-17 class it was designed to beat. This strategy was a direct outcome of Korean War experience. When MiG-15bis fighters were flown correctly, they used their thrust-to-weight advantage to pounce on F-86s from above with boom-n-zoom passes. So, the goal of the next generation of US fighters was to restore the boom-n-zoom advantage that the US had always preferred over flat-turn angles fighters. This approach was actually quite correct and successful in Vietnam: the F-105 could use speed/power to escape MiG-17s and come back at their leisure to score guns kills. But the MiG-21 had more boom and zoom, better maneuverability, and missiles that the MiG-17 did not. By the time the USAF realized they needed an aircraft like the Lancer rather than the Starfighter, the YF-16 and YF-17 had jumped a generation ahead in technology. Ultimately, the F-16 is what the F-104 should have been from the start, with a bit more thrust and superior aerodynamics thanks to about 15 years of technological advances.

 

For a glimpse of a "Lancer" class aircraft might have been like, check out the Mirage F-1C. The French figured out they were using the wrong wing, too! Unfortunately, they reverted back to the pure delta with the Mirage 2000. Only by adding the canard with the Rafale does the rear wing/delta configuration become practical or even superior to the conventional wing/tail for anything other than speed. Of course, the Rafale abandoned the pure delta and ended up with a wing a lot more like and F-16 than a Mirage.

 

Performance aside, your screenshot above looks great! It looks a lot better without the t-tail. It looks like a MiG killer :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a good wing/tail combination, the F-104 would have been the US equivalent to the MiG-21. Instead, it was optimized for speed/rate-of-climb/altitude to put it out of reach of the MiG-15/MiG-17 class it was designed to beat. This strategy was a direct outcome of Korean War experience. When MiG-15bis fighters were flown correctly, they used their thrust-to-weight advantage to pounce on F-86s from above with boom-n-zoom passes. So, the goal of the next generation of US fighters was to restore the boom-n-zoom advantage that the US had always preferred over flat-turn angles fighters. This approach was actually quite correct and successful in Vietnam: the F-105 could use speed/power to escape MiG-17s and come back at their leisure to score guns kills. But the MiG-21 had more boom and zoom, better maneuverability, and missiles that the MiG-17 did not. By the time the USAF realized they needed an aircraft like the Lancer rather than the Starfighter, the YF-16 and YF-17 had jumped a generation ahead in technology. Ultimately, the F-16 is what the F-104 should have been from the start, with a bit more thrust and superior aerodynamics thanks to about 15 years of technological advances.

 

For a glimpse of a "Lancer" class aircraft might have been like, check out the Mirage F-1C. The French figured out they were using the wrong wing, too! Unfortunately, they reverted back to the pure delta with the Mirage 2000. Only by adding the canard with the Rafale does the rear wing/delta configuration become practical or even superior to the conventional wing/tail for anything other than speed. Of course, the Rafale abandoned the pure delta and ended up with a wing a lot more like and F-16 than a Mirage.

 

Performance aside, your screenshot above looks great! It looks a lot better without the t-tail. It looks like a MiG killer :)

 

Great comments streakeagle. I do think that the F-104 with the "right wing and tail" (actually something like the Mirage F1) would have still had all the boom and zoom, but combined also with good maneuverability and drastically better handling and safety. The pilots Kelly Johnson interviewed said they wanted it all -- better climb, speed, AND maneuverability. I think he could have given them all three, but he was the quintessential speed freak and seemed to focus on that.

 

There is a report of a fascinating entry in Kelly Johnson's own diary about the F-104 (years after production) that said something like "...extreme fighter performance was not a good combination with short range weapons...". In my mind he was admitting he sacrificed too much for top end speed given the weapon technology at the time (guns and sidewinders).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting post. Will be great If a modder can give a go to this one, looks pretty cool and the performace would have been really good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good job, I like it.

 

we did have a figther with all that performance and nobody wanted it, F-11 super tiger, ligth, good turning , mach 2.04, great climb rate, etc.

 

I agree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been some pics around the german subforum. 76.IAP-Blackbird has posted them, but he´s not the creator. You might get in contact with him to find the original creator and maybe the status on this. :cool:

post-27836-12579263503027.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we did have a figther with all that performance and nobody wanted it, F-11 super tiger, ligth, good turning , mach 2.04, great climb rate, etc.

 

You bet. I'm a big fan of the F11F Super Tiger as it was essentially what I am proposing in the upgraded F-104.

The F-104 pilot ejected if he lost his engine, F11F pilots did dead-stick landings just for fun.

 

But that fine Starfighter fuselage is very sleek and attractive and provided the pilot with an excellent workspace and good visibility for a 1950's mach 2 fighter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been some pics around the german subforum. 76.IAP-Blackbird has posted them, but he´s not the creator. You might get in contact with him to find the original creator and maybe the status on this. :cool:

post-27836-12579263503027.jpg

 

Absolutely awesome. Looks like I'm not the only one with an interested in upgraded F-104s.

This looks like someone put some thought into the design and model.

I'll try to get some info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i can move the whole thread, if anyone wants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely awesome. Looks like I'm not the only one with an interested in upgraded F-104s.

This looks like someone put some thought into the design and model.

I'll try to get some info.

IIRC, The creator of this model was Spillone or Nghngo from IDI(O)T team

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i can move the whole thread, if anyone wants.

 

I don't mind at all if you move it. Perhaps just leave a note in this thread for awhile so those participating know where it went.

I started this just to get a feeling if anyone else was interested in this, but yes, it has become a genuine what-if.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC, The creator of this model was Spillone or Nghngo from IDI(O)T team

 

Thanks for the info Silverbolt.

Any idea on how to contact he, she, them?

I'm wondering if this just a 3D model or something that was intended for this or another flight sim?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly, I came across this earlier this morning without trying for it:

 

What if Moddlers: F-104 with F-16 parts

 

Personally, I hate the F-104. Short legged with a thirsty, yet powerful engine, 'multirole' with tiny load carrying capacity, short range air to air capability, loooooooong fuselage with stubby wings and a T-tail(that's the deal breaker for me: the aesthetics!). I mean, for me, there's nothing endearing about this aircraft. But the lancer style mods make it look much more endearing. It looks to be much more useful and the link to the F-104 modded with F-16 components looks pretty awesome, the same goes for the images Blackbird's been posting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly, I came across this earlier this morning without trying for it:

 

What if Moddlers: F-104 with F-16 parts

 

Personally, I hate the F-104. Short legged with a thirsty, yet powerful engine, 'multirole' with tiny load carrying capacity, short range air to air capability, loooooooong fuselage with stubby wings and a T-tail(that's the deal breaker for me: the aesthetics!). I mean, for me, there's nothing endearing about this aircraft. But the lancer style mods make it look much more endearing. It looks to be much more useful and the link to the F-104 modded with F-16 components looks pretty awesome, the same goes for the images Blackbird's been posting.

 

 

Thanks for the link, that is a really nice model. I do a lot of what if plastic models myself. Here's a couple pics of some F-104s inspired by the original Lancer. The one on the left (minus canopy) is about 10-15 year old, the nearest one is less than a year (and isn't quite finish). The near one is closest to the photoshopped screenshot I posted originally.

 

I understand your opinion about the F-104 as I have had a love/hate relation with it until I realized what it could have been. With more fuel, bigger wings and low tail, I think it could have literally ousted every fighter then in service (and most to come) and could have even interfered with (or prevented) the development of the F-16 (as the later Lancer nearly did).

 

If anyone is interested I can upload an extremely detailed report and evaluation of the proposed Lancer done by "Air Enthusiast" in 1971. Good read for those so inclined. I just need to know if anyone would like to read it and how/where to upload.

post-2713-0-84830300-1323832553.jpg

post-2713-0-37815200-1323832563.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found the first attached picture on the web somewhere showing a "Dog Fighter" version of an F-104. I have never seen this before so I suspect that it is a recent concept by someone, but you never know. In any case, I did another photoshop (second image) from the same SF2 screenshot as the very first in this thread but more along the lines of the dogfighter picture. Kind of reminds one of the F-5 / F-20 arrangement, and also very much like the image posted by Florian. I created another data file for the F-104C to match this concept and it IS a mig-killer, but I would sure like to have a graphics model to match.

 

This thread got my interest in an upgraded F-104 high enough to consider designing/building a Radio Controlled airplane like this. It would of course be semi-scale, but I think it would be really great to have.

post-2713-0-24240400-1324427556.jpg

post-2713-0-96830300-1324427725.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..