By Peter E. Davies, Rolando Ugolini, Gareth Hector

ISBN-10: 1780963130

ISBN-13: 9781780963136

The 'missile with a guy in it' used to be recognized for its blistering pace and deadliness in air strive against. The F-104C flew greater than 14,000 strive against hours in Vietnam as a bomber escort, a Wild Weasel escort and an in depth air help plane. notwithstanding many have been sceptical of its skill to hold guns, the Starfighter gave a superb account of itself within the shut air help position. It was once additionally popular that the enemy have been in particular reluctant to hazard their necessary and scarce MiGs while the F-104 used to be escorting bombers over North Vietnam or flying strive against air patrols close by. The missions weren't with no chance, and 14 Starfighters have been misplaced throughout the conflict over a two-year interval. This was once now not insignificant given that the USAF purely had one wing of those worthwhile airplane on the time, and wartime attrition and coaching injuries additionally took really a chunk from the inventory.

While the F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom bought lots of the glory and exposure through the battle in Vietnam, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was once no longer given a lot probability of surviving in a 'shooting war'. within the occasion, it did that and lots more and plenty extra. even if inbuilt small numbers for the USAF, the F-104C fought and survived for nearly 3 years in Vietnam. Like its predecessor the F-100, the Starfighter used to be a mainstay of Tactical Air Command and Air Defence Command, with whom it served with contrast as an air superiority fighter and element defence interceptor. This small, difficult and extremely speedy fighter, dubbed 'The Missile with a guy in It', was once referred to as upon to do issues it used to be no longer particularly designed for, and did them admirably. between those have been shut air help and armed reconnaissance utilizing bombs, rockets and different armaments hung from its tiny wings, in addition to its 20 mm Vulcan cannon, firing 6000 rounds consistent with minute. The jet participated in probably the most well-known battles of the conflict, together with the mythical Operation Bolo, during which seven North Vietnamese MiGs went down in flames without US losses. whilst it used to be battling in Vietnam, the Starfighter was once being followed by means of no fewer than six NATO air forces in addition to Japan and Nationalist China. It was once later procured via Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan. The latter state took the Starfighter to struggle with India two times within the Sixties, and it additionally observed strive against with Taiwan.

The tale of the Starfighter in Vietnam is considered one of tragedy and of final vindication. for many years the F-104's contribution to the air struggle in Vietnam was once downplayed and its function as a floor assault laptop minimised. in simple terms in recent times has that overview been re-evaluated, and the evidence end up the Starfighter to were in a position to do its task in addition or higher than the various different tactical airplane despatched to the theatre for simply that goal.

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Capt Charles Tofferi, alternately flying F-104Cs 57-0914 and 57-0915, beat 14 F-100 and F-105D pilots in conventional and nuclear delivery and in gunnery. He attained perfect scores (3000 points) in air-to-air gunnery, air-to-ground rocketry, strafing and napalm delivery, and drew considerable publicity to the F-104’s weapons capability. Tofferi would subsequently be killed in action over Laos in October 1966. com 33 CHAPTER TWO 34 By 1963 the USAF had revised its plans for the F-104, cutting its initial orders for 722 jets down to 296.

Six years later, after a tour on F-100s with the 48th TFW, George reported to Victorville, California, to join the 435th TFS/479th TFW flying F-104Cs. His first reactions to the aircraft were extremely positive; ‘There were very few fighter pilots in the air force who would not have given an arm and a leg to be assigned to an F-104 squadron. I would hear many stories of how political influence and other extraordinary efforts were used to get the assignment. As I taxied out on my first solo flight, I did not experience the usual feeling of apprehension.

A navigational error convinced the flight leader that he was 40 miles north of the demilitarised zone when he saw and strafed ‘enemy’ bulldozers clearing a forested area, causing numerous casualties. In fact, the troops were South Vietnamese operating American equipment within their own borders. The survivors reported that they had been attacked by MiGs, but examination of 20 mm rounds at the site incriminated the F-104C crews, who all left the USAF shortly thereafter. The squadron was scheduled for ground-attack sorties on about 18 per cent of its missions, often against dubious ‘suspected supply depots’ rather than the more obvious targets that pilots often detected.

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F-104 Starfighter Units in Combat by Peter E. Davies, Rolando Ugolini, Gareth Hector

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