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Lockheed F-104E - 112th TFS, Ohio ANG, 1983

 

Whilst, officially, USAF interest in the F-104 programme began to ebb (leading to only 77 F-104C's being built) they kept a watchful eye on Lockheed's progress into transforming the original hot-rod interceptor fighter into a multi-mission tactical fighter for export to selected 'free world' nations. As negotiations with Federal Germany reached a critical phase in 1958 concern was expressed by the Bonn government that Lockheed were attempting to sell an aircraft no longer wanted by it's home nation. Lockheed cleverly took these concerns back to Washington and claimed that lucrative export orders were at jeopardy leading to a token order for a new version of the Starfighter for the USAF.

 

Designated F-104E this new version represented a halfway house between the F-104C and the forthcoming F-104G. Only 60 F-104E's were planned to be produced but the success of the F-104C flown by Capt Charles Tofferi in the 1962 William Tell tactical weapons meet, against strong competition from F-100 and F-105 pilots, led to continued low-rate production followed by a larger batch of 240 F-104E's making an eventual total of 336. F-104E's were deployed to Vietnam and surviving aircraft were refurbished for ANG use with the type being finally retired in 1988 when the 112th TFS re-equipped with F-16A's.

 

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great paint scheme!! I LIKE it!!!

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Lockheed F-104E Starfighters - 198th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Puerto Rico ANG, 1970

 

USAFF-104ESTARFIGHTER02.jpg

 

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Edited by Spinners
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