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DescriptionThe 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. (wiki) TextureAll major surface textures are 2048 in greatest dimension. Color, Specular, and Bump maps provided. Cockpit controls have their own textures.HistoryThe uniquely-designed F 104 Starfighter was a successful product bybased on lessons learned from aircraft design in the Korean War. The system was basic to the core in terms of design - aerodynamics and a solid powerplant to propel the aircraft to sustained speeds at twice the speed of sound, all the while being able to reach high altitudes. The system did just that when it was received into frontline operation. The uniqueness of the design did open the system up to failure at times, resulting in the deaths of several airmen. Thusly the nickname of 'widowmaker' was given to it by its crew.The design was built around the powerful 15,600lb General Electric powerplant that encompassed a good portion of the fuselage. The low-monoplane wing design featured short, sharp, stubby assemblies that were built with speed in mind. Twin intakes sat just behind the single seat cockpit and a high-mounted elevator assembly was fitted unto the single rudder. At its core, the F 104 Starfighter accomplished all that its designers set out to do. At one point, it was the only aircraft to retain the records for high altitude and overall speed at the same time. The F 104 was also complimented with being the first aircraft to break the 100,000 feet altitude mark, achieving this feat under its own engine power.Built with interception in mind, the Cold War-era craft was armed with just a single 20mm six-barrel gattling gun cannon but this could be further complimented by the addition of the new Aim-9 Sidewinder air-to-air homing missiles, that on top of additional drop bombs and rockets. The F 104 served in somewhat limited numbers for the United States but did see exceptional service overseas in a variety of fronts. The ultimate version of the F 104 is regarded as the F 104G, which was a specialized fighter-bomber variant ultimately produced at the request of the German air force.Beyond that, many air forces continued to field the system as late as the 1990's, albeit through updates and modernization programs. Such a lasting legacy was to be solidified through personal accomplishment of the aircraft when in capable hands and the longevity of its service tenures worldwide. The F 104 did, in fact, live up to the namesake of 'Starfighter' through both design and performance.