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The F-104 in RAAF Service

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The F-104 in RAAF Service

The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is an American single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft which became widely used as a fighter-bomber during the Cold War. Initially a day fighter, it was developed into an all-weather fighter in the late 1960s. It was originally developed by Lockheed for the United States Air Force (USAF), but was later produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. One of the Century Series of fighter aircraft, it was operated by the air forces of more than a dozen nations from 1958 to 2004.

The F-104 set numerous world records, including for both airspeed and altitude. Its success was marred by the Lockheed bribery scandals, in which Lockheed had given bribes to many foreign political and military figures to secure purchase contracts; this caused political controversy in Europe and Japan.

Australia did not prove immune to the problems of bribery.  In 1960 the RAAF was looking for a new fighter.  Its CA-27 Avon Sabres were looking decidely old in the face of Mach 2 fighters like the F-104 and the MiG21.   The competition was between the Dassault Mirage III, the English Electric Lightnng and the F-104 Starfighter.   Of the three, the money was on either the Mirage or the Lightning winning.   Imagine everyone’s surprise when the Starfighter took the prize.  The RAAF ordered 100 aircraft, to be built in Australia.

It was later revealed that bribery had secured the order for Lockheed.  It was discovered 10 years after that Lockheed had paid substantial bribes to the Minister of Defence and the Australian Liberal Party to ensure that the order was given to them.

The RAAF ordered an updated version of the Starfighter, equipping it with an extra hard point per wing and two hard points under the fuselage, to enable to carry up to six AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles.  Because of the short range of the aircraft, it wasn’t often to do that though.   In RAAF service they were often seen carrying wingtip tanks, under wing fuel tanks and only two missiles under the wings.  The under fuselage ones were found to be too close to the ground and often subject to foreign object damage but they were occasionally, particularly in the early years, flown.

The aircraft depicted is one from 77 Squadron, bearing its distinctive squadron mascot on the tail consisting of a Magpie and carrying four drop tanks and four Sidewinders.

The Kit
The kit is an Italeri one in 1/72.  Painted by rattle can.  The decals come from the sparesbox.  It was a relatively easy build but proved difficult to paint and apply the decals to.

Nice one Brian.  :thumbsup:

NOW we know why you were asking about F-104 tanks of course.  ;D


--- Quote from: PR19_Kit on June 21, 2020, 06:43:20 am ---Nice one Brian.  :thumbsup:

NOW we know why you were asking about F-104 tanks of course.  ;D

--- End quote ---

And Sidewinders.   :thumbsup:

Neat one Brian

Very good.  Better than a Mirage IMO.


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