Armour Collection B11E755 NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane (1:48 Scale)
"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
- Excerpted from President John F. Kennedy's speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25th, 1961
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was an American single-engined, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it continued in service with Air National Guard units until it was phased out in 1975. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1994. Several two-seat trainer versions were produced, the most numerous being the TF-104G.
USAF F-104Cs saw service during the Vietnam War, and F-104A aircraft were deployed by Pakistan briefly during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Republic of China Air Force F-104s also engaged the People's Liberation Army Air Force over the disputed island of Kinmen. A set of modifications produced the F-104G model, which won a NATO competition for a new fighter-bomber.
The ultimate F-104 version was the F-104S all-weather interceptor equipped with radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, designed for the Italian Air Force. An advanced F-104 with a high-mounted wing, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, did not proceed. The project was cancelled at the mock-up stage in favor of other lightweight fighters such as the F-16. A total of 2,535 Starfighters were eventually produced. The F-104 served with the air forces of over a dozen nations until the summer of 2004, some 46 years after its introduction in 1958 by the USAF.
The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye, especially in Luftwaffe service. The subsequent Lockheed bribery scandals surrounding the original purchase contracts caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6 inches
Length: 13.5 inches
Release Date: February 2008
Historical Account: "Chasers" - NASA research support aircraft are commonly called chase planes and fill the role of escort aircraft during research missions.
Chase pilots are in constant radio contact with research pilots and serve as an "extra set of eyes" to help maintain total flight safety during specific tests and maneuvers. They monitor certain events for the research pilot and are an important safety feature on all research missions.
Chase aircraft also are used as camera platforms for research missions that must be photographed or videotaped. Pictorial coverage - photos, motion pictures and videotape - is used extensively by aeronautical engineers to monitor and verify various aspects of the research project. (Courtesy: www.NASA.gov)