Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter
Since the U.S. Air Force in 1958 refused to follow procurement Starfighter, Lockheed only hope remained for export. But selling plane nicknamed duralumin coffin — it is completely hopeless. Perfectly aware of this, the company has deployed unprecedented scale marketing promotion program from his brainchild. The campaign was carried out once in 3 directions.

On the one hand promoted extensively real merit in the form of machine mounted thereon aviation records. Just the way, just in May of 1958, Starfighter set official world records for speed (2259 km / h) and altitude (27,811 m). In December of the same year they added bests climb to altitudes of 3,000 to 25,000 meters. Colorful reportage of these events were filled with all aeronautical publications. Descriptions Starfighter generously proplachennye journalists spared ecstatic epithets. About shortcomings machine is obviously not a word was said. In addition, more experienced and well-studied the habits of the South American Starfighter pilots completed their series of demo flight over Western Europe. Invited audience from the local military, politicians and civil servants of the highest rank were able to follow how luxurious the sharp-nosed fighter accelerates fast and candle goes up, clearly confirming its excellent climb.

But all this was only the tip of the iceberg. Immediately with the newspaper hype and marketing displays senior South American generals, bureaucrats and businessmen, one way or another related to Lockheed, led covert military and political process control U.S. allies in NATO to convince them to adopt a wonderful fighter. And was also a third, utterly beyond lurking nuance campaign to impose F-104 zabugornye customers, which in the west until now prefer to keep quiet. About him we will tell a bit later. Logically, the efforts of lobbyists Starfighter soon crowned success. A number of Western European countries expressed readiness to take the car for service and purchase licenses for mass production. However, in a number of these states were not included Britain and France, categorically refused from the South American on tour. But the Ministry of Defence West Germany already November 6, 1958 under massive pressure from the ocean decided to make F-104 main combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe. This meant the acquisition and construction of more than 700 licensed cars, in other words with two redundant times more than the summer in the United States! So a plane that at home was considered hopeless, gained second breath, and the company Lockheed — multimillion profits.

Germans needed a versatile multi-purpose machine — Interceptor, light bomber, scout, attack. Despite the apparent contradictions of these requirements, the company undertook a Lockheed Starfighter promptly make such a machine. She was not even embarrassed that inevitable with all this aggravation aircraft will make it even more difficult and unsafe in piloting. Newcomer modification was designated F-104G. For the base took a fighter-bomber F-104C. In addition to the two nodes at the ends of the suspension and four ventral wing it still equipped with 2 underwing pylons for bombs, missiles or mounted fuel tanks. Most combat load increased from 1700 to 2177 kg. In fuselage reappeared six-barreled gun LVulkan |, which finally managed to bring to the brain.

Because of the growth of the payload greatest reached the take-off weight of 13 tons. This necessitated a corresponding gain chassis design and increase engine power. First instances of F-104G engines equipped with J79-GE-11A with a thrust of 4536 kg (7167 kg — afterburner), but most of the production cars put more massive J79-GE-19 with a thrust of 5384 kg (8120 kg — afterburner ). So Makar, thrust aircraft has not decreased in comparison with the base modification, but the area load bearing surfaces has increased even more, making at the highest takeoff weight gigantic even for modern hypersonic vehicles magnitude of 716 kg per square meter (for comparison, in the cerebral potential opponent Starfighter — Russian MiG-21F-13 maximum takeoff weight was only 8625 kg, and the load area — 375.8 kg / m, in other words, almost two times less). The plane is made to ensure the ability to fly at supersonic speeds near the ground (it was believed that such makarom Starfighter will be easier to break through the strong defense of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact). To increase stability and maneuverability area of ​​the keel and rudder very increment, so perceptibly changing the appearance of the machine.

Severe changes were onboard avionics. New Starfighter equipped with inertial navigation system Litton LN-3, which provides flights in adverse weather conditions and funny day NIGHT MODE also improved radar NASARR F15A-41B for work, both air and ground targets. The ability to place all of this equipment, besides ammunition 750 rounds for the gun in a fairly cramped volume bow Starfighter appeared thanks to the miniaturization of electrical circuits caused by the widespread use of semiconductor devices. Fascinating novelty block placement was all onboard electronics easily removable containers, which greatly simplifies maintenance and repair. So, for example, all Lnachinka | radar was placed in an iron cube size 75×75 cm, which could just push of the fuselage on the sled.

Another major innovation was the ejection seat Lockheed C-2 ejection system kitted up. But this chair is still not ensured rescue pilot at least 200 meters altitude. Incidentally, the German representatives at first insisted on installing access British Martin Baker GQ-7 class 0-0 as a non-hazardous, but the company Lockheed, not even lose some profits, strongly opposed. In the end, the Germans surrendered. If they knew, than it is for their turn …
Lockheed F-104G Starfighter
In addition, at the request of the customer fighter returned arresting hook. Luftwaffe command feared that in case of war pilots have to sit on a partly destroyed as a result of the bombing of runways, and mean free path must be reduced to a minimum. In practice, thank God, had not previously realized and arresting hook was used almost only in training for its use. Usually, however, completely lacked the drogue parachute. Project F-104G was completed in late 1958. On March 18 1959, with Germany signed an agreement for the supply of 66 single and 33 copies of the machine sparok TF-104G (later renamed the F-104F). Other machines 600 Germans planned to do yourself.

While in California was building layout, salespeople Lockheed continued intensively Lprotalkivat | Lzvezdnogo fighter | on international arms market. Now they came another trump principle — Germany agreed on this machine. July 2, 1959 on the first Starfighter suspended own choice close neighbor the United States — Canada. And next year contracts fell one by one: March 2 — Italy, April 20 — The Netherlands, June 20 — Belgium, November 8 — Japan. All these countries are trying to build their own machines. In addition, a number of states that did not have a developed aviation industry, has expressed willingness to buy U.S. F-104 or the German assembly. These included Denmark, Greece, Spain, Norway, Turkey and Pakistan. So Starfighter on sight transformed from fear calling a loser in one of the most common combat aircraft in the world. That’s the brightest proof American sayings that when good advertising can be realized even a dead rat! For joint licensing built Starfighter European aircraft firms have formed a consortium BING (Belgium v ​​Italy v Netherlands — Germany), which included the Belgian factory SABCA, Dutch Fokker and Aviolanda, Italian FIAT and several West German companies have formed a group Arge Sud. The names of these companies they say for themselves: Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Dornier, Blohm und Voss, Siebel. They were once the pride of the German aircraft. Now they had only copy far not the best South American standard. In Canada, the issue took Starfighter Kenedeyr company, and in the Land of the Rising Sun — Mitsubishi concern.

Without waiting of F-104G, the Germans at the end of 1959 formed the first study group Starfighter, selecting for her five experienced pilots headed by famous ace second World War Gunther Rall. In this upcoming pilots to become instructors and teach others to fly F-104. Interestingly, the group settled on the California air base flap, and planes for her (double F-104D) transferred specifically from the U.S. Air Force. They washed the South American stars and stripes, drawing dark Teutonic crosses and tactical numbers. In February 1960, the Germans started training over the California desert. October 5, 1961 off the ground first instance of F-104G (even while American assembly)

German pilots knew Starfighter — strict and in what or even tricky machine. But they did not suspect that it will fly SO creepy. Disaster began immediately, and there were even more than in the U.S.. Americans used the F-104 as the main high altitude interceptor, and specifically such tasks in most cases had to work pilots. Germans also taught applied bomboshturmovye strikes at a relatively low speeds and altitudes, in other words — do it, why not first Starfighter was designed, with just those flight modes, where he became more insecure.

Because of imperfections in the ejection seat Lockheed German pilots usually had no chance of escape in case of emergency situation. A similar situations with enough surplus. Starfighter, as already mentioned, did not forgive any mistakes minute. Even more so if he was hung with bombs, rockets and tanks. Tiny blade wings barely kept in the air 13-ton machine, and the flight reminded balancing on the tip of the needle. And yet for all that it was still necessary to try to hit the target! It is logical that if the flight missions pilots fought one by one.

First command of the Luftwaffe tried to avoid publicity unprecedented accident Starfighter. But when the bill went to the dead 10s, keep it a secret it was unreal. More strshnym became in 1965, when Starfighter sent to the light of the West more than 30 pilots. Almost from the moment flew on Starfighter died every tenth. Almost once a week at airbases were mourning ceremonies over the next victim. In the end, information was leaked to the press and scandal erupted excellent. Appeared on the pages of newspapers evil cartoons depicting Starfighter as a flying coffin with wings malehankih and journalists wondered why such aircraft was put into service and replicated copies in acres? Military refuses to comment or give unconvincing answers, and then referring to official secrets.

The answer came only after a couple of years, but not from Germany or the United States, and of the Land of the Rising Sun. We have no statistics with Starfighter aircraft crashes in the country of the rising sun, but hardly the situation there is structurally different in the best side of what happened in Europe. Against this background, in 1971, a number of senior Japanese officials responsible for the program from Starfighter, was exposed in receiving large bribes from foreign emissaries firm Lockheed. Lockheed sensational case | led to the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers of the rising sun, and a few more messing officials appeared in the dock.

In Germany, the scandal was hushed up, and the tribunal did not give anyone, but still hard to believe that the assumption of a deadly weapon unsafe for its own airplane pilots explained only a few records set by them and marketing hype. Especially since the Germans had secured choice except Starfighter, they were offered the South American F-105 Thunderchief, F11F Tiger and F-5 Freedom Fighter, English Buccaneer and Lightning YOU, French Mirage III and Italian Fiat G-91. None of these machines did not get so dark reputation as the F-104. But still for some reason chose it specifically, and the pilots had to pay for it with their lives. Question inflated accident in western Starfighter (first — U.S.) aviation literature usually considered as if this phenomenon is typically only for West Germany, as in other countries, everything was fine. In fact Starfighter constantly fought wherever flying. Just in Germany it has caused great public resonance and splashed on the pages of the press. A part of the unenviable record for accidents and disasters on Starfighter put Canada. There of 238 machines of this type crashed 112 (almost 50%!), For all that was lost 37 pilots.

About the circumstances set accidents and disasters German F-104 in the same of favorite American books are different versions, ranging from low-level training Tipo West pilots and ending unfavorable weather criteria. But these versions are designed for amateurs. With regard to adverse weather criterion, the F-104G was created specifically as an all-weather fighter-bomber, and tragedies associated with meteorological factors, they say only about the shortcomings of the machine itself. In addition to all other aircraft weather conditions in Germany are registered fully applicable.

A thesis about Lnepodgotovlennyh pilots | and quite laughable because specifically German School Flight Training has always differed special care and thoroughness. In the cockpit LStarfayterov | sat only pilots who had plaque in several 10-s, and even hundreds of hours on the piston and jet engines. In addition, before the first flight to the independent single F-104G each pilot long Lgonyali | instructor at Lsparke |. In short, the level of training of flight personnel of the Luftwaffe was not lower than in the United States and other advanced countries. Samples fault in crashes Germans themselves, and not a good weather only target is to divert attention from the real culprit, in other words — from the office LLokhid |, created Lalyuminievy coffin |. It is no secret that many South American aviation publication in one degree or another financed concern LLokhid Martin |, and the means, no matter what criticism of him the address on their pages hardly likely. In 1966 the Germans dare, in the end, to take measures to increase safety on LStarfayterah |. By the time the F-104 had already send in Lluchshy world | 65 Luftwaffe pilots.

To slow down this Lkonveyer death |, planes began to re-equip the ejection seat LMartin Baker |, providing rescue pilots at all speeds and altitudes. Company LLokhid | reiterated protest, threatening termination of support, but now the Germans have shown firmness. By the way, before the same operation on the substitution of access Lyavochnym order | Denmark produced, and the seats in the upcoming LLokhida | refused and other operators LStarfayterov |. In addition, fighters equipped with highly sensitive light alarm that notifies the pilot of all the problems in the engine and other systems. Certain activities carried out during 1967 on all F-104 West. These measures have led to mixed results. On the one hand the number of accidents decreased (recall that tragedy is different from the presence of the human tragedy of the victims), but on the other — the number of broken machines, by contrast, has increased even more! The fact that most of the pilots have to fly so dreaded by LStarfayterah |, that the smallest danger, do not hesitate to leave the cab. He had only come on one of the many bulbs alarm as pilot instantly powered catapult mechanism.

Until 1973, the Luftwaffe lost tragedies 205 Starfighter. To make up for these losses had to release additional machines, so that the total number of 100 Fourth, entered service West Air Force, reached the 916 copies. Tragedy and lasted in the upcoming. As of 1983, 269 in Germany crashed F-104, which resulted in the deaths of 110 pilots. And that’s not counting the numerous victims in the midst of the civilian population, whose houses fell coming out of obedience star fighters. The total number of broken West Starfighter we do not understand, but based on indirect evidence it was more than 300 copies. The latest tragedy occurred in 1989, when the F-104 is removed from the Luftwaffe as morally and physically obsolete. And last star fighter flight with dark crosses on their wings in May 1991. Other NATO countries have started to get rid Starfighter even earlier. In 1973, Spain did in 1983 — Belgium and Norway, in 1984 — The Netherlands, in 1986 — Denmark and Canada. In 1979, the Jordanian pilots were transferred to the F-104 to F-5E, and in 1985 the inhabitants of the country of the rising sun rearmed his squadron on Starfighter F-4EJ and F-15. By the early 1990s Starfighter remained in service in Greece, Turkey, Taiwan and Italy.

Aircraft F-104G/TF-104G 182 Squadron with a Turkish base «Diyarbakir» participated in combat operations in the Persian Gulf as a patrol aircraft near the northern border of Iraq, but in actual aerial combat role is not perceived. A very important role in international relations as carriers of nuclear weapons played a Canadian machine stationed in Europe. You can not exactly assess the combat capabilities of F-104 based solely on the fact that an active role in military conflicts, these machines are not perceived. But it should be noted that this machine was one of the first supersonic aircraft, and the first standing on operational service with the speed of 2M. This was the aircraft that overcame the sound barrier, thermal barrier and mental barrier person — a pilot 50s. By today, this machine is still open question whether he was the one plane, which is required in wartime, full voltage stress complex person?

Together with the pilots received experience and technical staff F-104. For example, the substitution of motor performed for about 30 minutes, but the removal of the fuel tanks of the wings took in 2-technicians 20 minutes. From time to time one can read that mezhpoletnoe service F-104 was easier. But in comparison with the similar service Russian aircraft production, is that the MiG-21 was easier to maintain. F-104G and true time than modern planes on certain features of the flight. So, for example possessing a great acceleration, it has the higher take-off rate 254 m / s at a height of 12 and 200 meters rises for 1 min 30 sec, while the height of merit 17 200 m requires 6 min 30 sec. In F-104S these characteristics even better (10 000 m for 1 min 20 sec, and with a height of 10 000 to 17 070 m requires only 1 min 20 sec). The basic tactical challenge for the F-104 as a fighter remains: to achieve the speed of M = 1.4, fly to the target, the missile launch on it, if the goal is to hit it does not, then make a U-turn, go to the vertical and ballistic curve with the ability to repeat the capture and defeat the purpose . With all of this maneuver is lost visual contact with the target, he received the title of «lazy eight» — Lazy eight. In western Europe, aircraft modification «G» already removed from service. The last unit that was on their flew 61 WTD (Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61), which is a flight test center and technical service of the armed Luftwaffe in Manching; The latest tragedy in what was in 1989, after which the option in the division have only four aircraft: F-104G 25 +54, 21 +64 and 27 TF-104G 72, continued his service in Greece. F-104G 26 +60 (previously served in the unit MFG-2 Marineflieger) was still in service in the «open door day» in May 1991, then the plane was previously worn side number 98 84. Demonstration flight was made Colonel Armin Evert, who had a total flying time of 7000 l preeminence. hours jets, of which 3000 were only F-104. The machine had a special parade and coloring accompanied Luftwaffe aircraft; MiG-29 (!), Phantom, Tornado, Alpha Jet, Canberra, Transall.

In 1993, the F-104G, RF-104G and TF-104G still in the Air Force of Greece; in 1994, F-104G, F-104S (ASA) TF-104G — Italy; F-104G, TF-104G, RF-104G — Taiwan; F-104S, F-104G, TF-104G, CF-104G in the same year it was possible to meet the Turkish air force. Starfighter aircraft belonged to having a huge number of accidents — Main in Germany, of which it was a lot of versions. The fact that the F-104 and F-106 in the United States have the same planes that belong to the machines having the most highest number of accidents. In «USAF» Built 300 F-104 for 7 years have flown 100,000 flight hours, with all this was lost 49 aircraft and 18 pilots were killed. It is curious to note that Norway had the lowest number of accidents and Spain for 7 years of operation, has not lost any of the 1st plane. In the service of the Canadian Air Force was 238 vehicles, of which for 22 years of service 112 cars crashed on the deaths of 37 pilots, the operation of these machines was carried out in the most adverse weather conditions, with all this over-produced combat tasks difficulties. The main Starfighter were armed with the Luftwaffe, which totaled 916 vehicles, of which one third part was lost. On this occasion, been a lot of views from adverse weather conditions in Europe and the limited experience of pilots and technical staff, to traumatic terror of flight personnel. In the words of professionals each factor carried his truth. It may be noted that pilots Luftwaffe with few attacks, and is not able to seize control to cope with F-104. Used on planes is cool, but at the same time highly sensitive electronics in the criteria of the German climate had problems in operation, and an inexperienced technician was unable to service its high quality. Construction of the first Starfighter performed such frisky pace that operation did not have enough hangars, and later they were in all weathers parked outdoors. But the German Navy had fewer problems compared with the aircraft F-104 who stood also in service due to lack of haste in re own forces. F-104 pilots have never forgiven their errors, in comparison with other aircraft, or what did not warn the pilot on the critical modes.

In 1955, the German army was updated and aviation, the decor was specific. After a ten-year hiatus resumed the call of the male population in the army, where they were able to acquire new skills and experience in service in the new criteria and the latest technology with a brand. In the history of the Air Force all states of the world have always appeared prepyadstviya with device ground and flying personnel in the implementation of the latest generation types. Starfighter as «dvuhmahovaya» car almost surpassed his time. Mental barrier «that had to fight the German pilots was complicated by the high-spirited and massive rearmament, with little experience of operating piston and the first jet subsonic aircraft (F-84, F-86). The highest number of accidents F-104 has had an impact on the pilots. According to witnesses, there was a period in which the tiniest at fault (tan lamp on the dashboard signaled some sort of system failure) pilots ejected immediately and do not want to risk his life. In addition hunt show some unknown reasons on both sides «Steel Curtain.» For comparison, a more appropriate type on the east side we have chosen comparable vserasprostranenny MiG-21. But the statistics are not below encompasses data on the fly machines are also other reasons that have impact on the scene.

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