Lockheed Starfighter was originally designed for the US Air Force
as a pure highspeed fighter interceptor. First flight was on 4th
march 1954 at Edwards AFB. By that time most european NATO Countries
were looking for a new standard fighter/fighterbomber to form the
backbone of their Air Forces.
Early designs of the Lockheed model could not really satisify the
european requirements, which resulted in the modified F-104G version.
The "G" was concepted as low-level capable, high-speed fighterbomber
with in- and egress speeds of up to MACH 2.5.
In 1958 Germany chose the Starfighter to replace the already outdated
F-84 and F-86 versions in use by then. For political reasons the
Marineflieger had to join this decision, though their demands were
quite different. The German Navy was looking for a two-seat, twin-engined
aircraft to replace the old Seahawks,
with the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer being their favourized aircraft.
A total of 132 Starfighters were acquired for naval service, a number
which devides into three different versions:
addition to this, a small number of two-seat F-104F saw operational
use with the Navy's Jet Air Wings.
from: "Marineflieger", Mittler Verlag)
of the F-104 into naval air service began in september 1963, with
MFG 1 being the first unit to be equipped with Germany's new standard
Weaponssystem. Sister Wing MFG 2 joined the Starfighter club in
march of the following year. Both squadrons of MFG 1 and 2nd squadron
of MFG 2 flew the F-104G fighterbomber version, while the 1st naval
recce squadron (MFG 2) received the RF-104G photo-recconaissance
variant. Alongside both wings used a number of eight two-seat trainer
versions (TF-104G and F-104F) each.
from: "Vikings for take-off", Motorbuch Verlag)
RF-104G though being a "photo bird", could still carry out its secondary
role of maritime fighterbomber and could be armed with the same
array of ordnance as the F-104G. It only lacked the internal gun,
as this place was needed for the camera assortment.
In contrary to its Luftwaffe sister aircraft, the career of navy
RF-104G was pretty long. Until the very end of navy Starfighters
in 1987, the RF-104Gs continued to fly their recce missions. Air
Force RF-104Gs were replaced by the RF-4E Phantom II some 16 years
1 replaced their Starfighters in 1982/83 with the Tornado.
MFG 2 retained their aircraft until mid 1987 and achieved some remarkable
figures. In june 1985 MFG 2 flew the 200.000th and a mere year later
the 300.000th hour for a Starfighter in German service.
1982 saw the first major combat improvements to be incorporated
into MFG 2's airframes. Amongst other changes, Luftwaffenschleuse
11 added a chaff/flare equipment to the remaining 47 aircraft of
In 1985 the 13 RF-104Gs still in service spent another visit to
LwS 11 and were enabled to carry an array of ECM equipment. These
were develeoped according to the NATO Maritime Electronic Warfare
Support Group standard and were mainly used for training purposes.
from: "Hubschrauber und Flugzeuge der Bundeswehr", Motorbuch
may 1987 meant the end of an era for the navy, as MFG 2 finally
received its long desired Tornados. The RF-104G's role was taken
over by Tornados fitted with recce-pods. Most navy Starfighters
went, according to NATO treaties to Greece and Turkey, where they
wre superseeded gy the General Dynamics F-16A.