Because of its physical appearance and performance, the F-104 has often been called the ‘missile with a man in it.’ The design was a product of the Korean War, and was unique in several respects. The encounters with the MiG-15 in Korea caused a strong outcry among Air Force fighter pilots for a cheap, lightweight, maneuverable, high-performance fighter to confront future Soviet fighters. The result was the F-104, a fighter that overemphasized rate of climb and brute speed. Intended as a point defense interceptor, range was sacrificed for rate of climb. Range, however, could be extended using external tanks and in-flight refueling. It used an exceptionally small wing span of only 21 feet, and provided low speed lift through air bled from the engine and vented over the wing. Designed as a supersonic superiority fighter, the F-104 was produced in two major versions. Armed with a six-barrel M-61 20mm Vulcan cannon it served as a tactical fighter and, equipped additionally with heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, as a day-night interceptor. The USAF procured about 300 Starfighters in one- and two-seat versions. The texture is for JASDF.
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