The F-104, America's first operational Mach 2 fighter, was built to counter the agile Soviet-built MiGs of the Korean War. The Starfighter, with its short wings and powerful General Electric J79-GE-7A engine, entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1958 as an interceptor. By the Vietnam War, it had moved into a fighter-bomber role. Although phased out of U.S. front line service by 1969, the F-104 was immensely popular overseas. Throughout its long career, 2,578 Starfighters were produced, with well over half built under license in Canada, Europe, and Japan.
The Museum's F-104C was delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 1959. It flew from George Air Force Base in California, Moron Air Base in Spain, and the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. This Starfighter is painted to represent a NASA F-104.
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.