The General Electric J79 afterburning turbojet engine powers the F-104, with air entering by the side-mounted fixed intakes. These are non-variable, and optimized for speeds in excess of Mach 2. High temperatures, created by air friction on the aluminum airframe, not engine thrust or airframe drag, limit the top speed of the Starfighter.
USAF S/N 57-1303 is an F-104B-10-LO, one of only 26 built by Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, California. It was delivered to the Air Force on October 2, 1958, and handed over to NASA in December 1959. Based at Edwards AFB, California, it was the only F-104B that NASA operated, and it carried the registration N819NA. It was used to train pilots on how to land the X-15 and Space Shuttle, along with use as a “chase” aircraft. It was flown to the museum in a C-130 on July 13, 1983.
Power Plant: One General Electric J79-GE-11A engine, 15,600 lb. thrust, w/afterburner.
Span: 21 ft 11 in. without tiptanks.
Length: 54 ft 9 in. Height: 13 ft 6 in.
Weight: Gross – 23,590 lbs.
Speed: 1,328 mph (Mach 2.2) at 35,000 ft. Range: 900 miles
Armament: One 20mm T-171 Vulcan cannon; AIM-9M “Sidewinder” missiles on tips.
THIS AIRCRAFT IS ON LOAN FROM THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE USAF