Lockheed F-104G Starfighter


Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-04 at Beauvechain Pilot: Jim Van Roy

 

 

 

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

 

Single engine supersonic fighter/fighter bomber

 

 

 

  Belgium's selection of the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter was quite predictable following other Nato countries and particularly neighbour Netherlands adoption of the type. A total of 112 Starfighters were procured by the Belgian Air Force, this being split between 100 F-104G (serial FX-01 to FX-100) and 12 TF-104G trainers (serial FC-01 to FC-12). Of these, 40 F-104G's were MDAP-funded, the remainder being paid for by the Belgian goverment. With the exception of the very first ones, shipped as CKD kits to Belgium, all Belgian F-104G were built and assembled at SABCA Gosselies plant, alongside 88 others airframes for the Bundesluftwaffe or Federal German Air Force use. The initial three TF-104G were built at Lockheed Palmdale plant as TF-104F (no complicated electronic systems as in the TF-104G that was identical with the F-104G except for the missing gun, and some less fuel), the remaining nine two-seaters being assembled by SABCA from Lockheed CKD kits. Later the initial three TF-104F's were updated to the TF-104G standards. One aircraft crashed before being taken on charge by the Belgian Air Force, being later replaced by another similarly numbered machine (FX-47). The Starfighters were slated to replace Avro Canada CF-100 Mk.5 Canucks of N1 All-Weather Fighter Wing at Beauvechain air base, then the Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks of N10 Fighter-Bomber Wing at Kleine Brogel air base.

 

      Originally deliveries planning was as follows:

 

F-104G's FX-01 to FX-40 to N1 Wing - F-104G's FX-41 to FX-80 to N10 Wing - F-104G's FX-81 to FX-100 held in storage as attrition replacement batch.

     Organisation wise, things were somewhat different for each Wing: N1 Wing started receiving its Starfighters in April 1963, these reequipping 350 Squadron, 349 Squadron followed suit in October of that year. The aicraft remained assigned to squadrons until April 25th, 1966, when the Wing pooling was instated. The control and daily management of the aircraft was the responsability of the Wing Maintenance Group. N10 Wing started its Starfighter era on June 1964, N 31 Squadron reequipping first. For the sake of convenience, initial operations were carried out from Beauvechain air base, where assistance for the type conversion could be given by N1 Wing. Most aircraft left for Kleine Brogel air base in July. The 31 Squadron was the recipient of all Starfighter earmarked for N10 Wing; 23 Squadron kept operating F-84F Thunderstreak, sending its pilots to 31 for conversion. Effective on January 1st 1965, the aircraft were pooled in the Wing, the remaining F-84F going to the N10 Wing F-84F Base Flight before being quickly phased out.
    Original deliveries planning was broadly adhered to, however, due to the non-delivery of FX-01 (kept as instruction airframe) and to early crashes, two aircraft from the attrition batch were delivered to each wing as early as in 1965; these being FX-82 and FX-83 to N1 Wing and FX-91 and FX-92 to N10 Wing. All the others were kept in storage, and issued to units as older airframes went back to SABCA Gosselies for overhaul. In fact, most went to N1 Wing, which had the oldest Starfighters then in service. During their operational live the F-104G were swapped between the two Wings in order to balance airframe fatigue between medium to high altitude fighter missions and low altitude fighter-bomber missions.
   N1 Wing main mission was the air-defence. Therefore between 1957 and 1996, Beauvechain air base hosted a NATO 24 hours alert section. The F-104 became operational in the role in August 1964. The 24 hours alert section, with two aircraft (one ready at 15 minutes, one ready at 30 minutes), became the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) section. In 1967 this section was enlarged to four ships - two pairs of aircraft. In 1970, they were hosted in a dedicated hangar and renamed Interceptor Alert Force (IAF). Later in the 70's, they were transferred to a special hardened shelter complex, close to one of the Beauvechain runway ends. The F-104G were replaced in the role by four F-16A Fighting Falcon in September 1980. N10 Wing One-O-Four main missions started with the FBS (fighter bomber strike only) role. To fulfil this sensitive as well as secretive commitment, Kleine Brogel air base hosted a 24 hours nuclear QRA since the early sixties. The F-104G replaced the F-84F in this role in 1965 at Kleine Brogel. However, the F-84Fs of number 2 Squadron at Florennes continued the FBS (Fighter Bomber Strike) Mission on F-84F until December 1966 (when all F-104G's of Kleine Brogel were operational FBS). The tactical nuclear weapons were US nuclear B-61 free-fall bomb, controlled and maintained in special storages facilities by the 52nd Special Ammunition Group homed at Meeuwen. The B-61 is said to be of great tactical flexibility, since the yield as well as the time and type of detonation can be chosen in flight. The weapon can be used by aircraft flying at altitudes as low as 15 meters. The bombs were 3.61 meters long and had a diameter of 0.34 meters. The US forces retained custody of all US nuclear weapons and would have released US nuclear weapons to the Belgian Air Force only in accordance with NATO defence plans, SACEUR directives, and US national control procedures. As one of the NATO Nuclear Quick Reaction Alert Force's, this QRA was housed in a heavily protected hardened shelter complex near the Kleine Brogel eastern runway ends. Around 1972, even more sophisticated and flexible smaller nuclear weapons were introduced. The weapons were later also stored in special vaults in the aircraft shelters themselves. In 1968, 10FBW changed to the dual role FBS/FBA missions and had to train also with conventional weapons. Weapons used by the F-104G in this role were the 20mm Vulcan/Gatling gun, 3 napalms bombs or 2 Snakeye bombs or two LAU rocket launcher pods with each 19 X 2.75" FFAR rockets. The Starfighter phase-out started in late 1979, older airframes going first to Saffraanberg Technical Training School (T.T.S.). N 349 Squadron was first to relinquish its Starfighters for General Dynamic F-16A Fighting Falcon, allowing N1 Wing F-104G/TF-104G operations to be centralised within 350 Squadron from April 1st, 1980. At the same time the Flight TF-104G was disbanded and replaced by the F-16 Conversion Flight. This lasted until April 14, 1981, when all remaining 350 Squadron Starfighters were flown to Koksijde air base storage park, where they joined others already stored.
    At Kleine Brogel air base things were fairly similar, N 23 Squadron leaving the 31st alone to operate Starfighters from July 1st, 1982, until October 1983. From Kleine Brogel, withdrawn airframes went either to Koksijde air base or to Turkish Air Force. In the latter case, these were MDAP funded machines i.e. amongst the first fourty single-seaters: FX-17, FX-19, FX-20, FX-22, FX-23, FX-24, FX-26, FX-27, FX-28, FX-29, FX-30, FX-31, FX-32, FX-33, FX-34, FX-38 and FX-40. The last two Belgian Starfighters (FX-99 & FC-11) flew into retirement from Kleine-Brogel on 26 September 1983.


Picture

Serial c/n Date In Date Out History
FX-01 9016 Feb1963 Jan 1971 FX-1, FX-01, Technical School Twenthe, Techical School Saffraanberg, Operational.. 26 Jan 1973 crashed at Chapois-Leignon (Ciney)
FX-02 9017 Apr 1963 Jun 1983 FX-02, storage at Koksijde , Royal Army Museum storage at Kapellen, storage at Kleine Brogel, tail section with scrap-dealer at Peutie
FX-03 9018 May 1963 Jan 1987 FX-03, storage at Koksijde, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-04 9019 Apr 1963 Jan 1977 FX-04, 13 Jun 1976: Damaged by engine bay fire, used as recruting object, to 1W Historical Center".
FX-05 9020 May 1963 June 1968 FX-05, crashed at Samre-Dochamps on 20 June 1968
FX-06 9021 Jul 1963 Nov 1979 FX-06, 06 Apr 1977 Crashed at Vlieland gunnery range (Nl.)
FX-07 9022 Jun 1963 Jan 1987 FX-07, storage at Koskijde, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-08 9023 Jul 1983 Jul 1983 FX-08, crashed at Taviers on delivery flight to Beauvechain on 16 Jul 1963 due to technical malfunction
FX-09 9024 Aug 1963 Nov 1978 FX-09, crashed at Solr-sur-Sambre on 03 Aug 1976
FX-10 9027 Jul 1963 Jan 1987 FX-10, storage at Koskijde, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-11 9028 Aug 1963 Nov 1981 FX-11, Speed record Brussels-Paris (9 min 55 sec) on 6 Jun 1963, "Slivers" Demo-team, Fatal crash at Neffe/Dinant on 10 Nov 1981 after mid-air collision with FX-52
FX-12 9029 Aug 1963 Nov 1979 FX-12, Technical School Saffraanberg (instructional airframe), Royal Army Museum, Brussels
FX-13 9032 Aug 1963 Dec 1978 FX-13, "Slivers" demo-team, lost in fatal crash on 12 Dec 1978 at Mellet/Wayaux (near Gosselies).
FX-14 9033 Oct 1963 Jul 1970 FX-14, "Slivers"demo team, fatal crash on 20 Jul 1970 at Dion-le Mont.
FX-15 9034 Sep 1963 May 1983 FX-15, Technical School Saffraanberg as instruction airframe, gate guardian at Glons, stored at Beauvechain.
FX-16 9038 Oct 1963 Dec 1966 FX-16, fatal crash at l'Ecluse on 14 Dec 1966.
FX-17 9039 Sep 1963 Jul 1982 FX-17, 64-9039, 29-039, 4-039 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-18 9040 Feb 1964 Mar 1979 FX-18, Crashed on landing at Beauvechain on 23 May 1978, Technical School Saffraanberg, Fire Brigade Zaventem, Evere Dump.
FX-19 9044 Oct 1963 Jul 1982 FX-19, 64-9044, 044, 4-044, (Turkish Air Force), dump Balikesur (Turkey)
FX-20 9045 Oct 1963 May 1983 FX-20, "Slivers" demo-team, 63-9045, 045, 9-045, 4-045 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-21 9046 Dec 1963 Feb 1980 FX-21, Technical School Saffraanberg as instructional aiframe, Evere gate guardian as "FX-23", Koksijde as FX21, Evere
FX-22 9050 Jan 1964 Dec 1982 FX-22, 64-9050, 050, 6-050, 4-050 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-23 9051 Jan 1964 May 1983 FX-23, "Slivers" demo-team, 64-9051, 051, 4-051, 9-051 (Turkey), dump Balikesir (Turkey).
FX-24 9052 Feb 1964 Dec 1982 FX-24, 64-9052, 052 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-25 9056 Mar 1964 May 1978 FX-25, crashed at Sint-Jan-Geest/Zetrud-Lumay on 13 Jan 1977.
FX-26 9057 Feb 1964 May 1983 FX-26, 64-9057, O57, 4-057, 9-057, 4-057 (Turkish Air Force), crashed at Murted on 15 Apr 1986.
FX-27 9082 Jun 1964 Aug 1983 FX-27, 64-9082, 082, 9-082 (Turkish AIr Force), decoy Bandirma, gate guardian as 4-082 at Bandirma (Turkey)
FX-28 9062 Apr 1964 Aug 1983 FX-28, 64-9062, 062 (Turkey)
FX-29 9063 Jan 1964 Jan 1981 FX-29, 64-9063, O63, 4-063 (Turkey)
FX-30 9064 Feb 1964 May 1983 FX-30, 64-9084, O64, 9-064, 4-064, 6-064 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-31 9068 Feb 1964 Aug 1983 FX-31, 64-9068, 068 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-32 9069 Feb 1964 May 1983 FX-32, 64-6069, 069, 4-069 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-33 9070 Feb 1964 Jan 1981 FX-33, 64-9070, 070, 4-070 (Turkey)
FX-34 9071 Mar 1964 Aug 1982 FX-34, Special zap "FX-349", 64-9071, 071 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-35 9072 Mar 1964 Aug 1978  FX-35, crashed off the coast of Corsica (F.) on 25 Apr 1978.
FX-36 9073 Mar 1964 Jun 1968 FX-36, crashed at shooting range of Nordhorn (D.) on 20 Jun 1968.
FX-37 9077 Mar 1964 Nov 1973 FX-37, crashed at Mrsen (D.) on 13 Nov 1973.
FX-38 9078 May 1964 Jan 1981 FX-38, 64-9078, 078 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-39 9079 May 1964 Dec 1979 FX-39, Technical School Saffraanberg for instructional purposes, transported to Kleine Brogel and stored.
FX-40 9083 Aug 1964 Feb 1981 FX-40, 64-9083, 083 (Turkish Air Force)
FX-41 9084 Apr 1964 Jan 1987 FX-41, Koksijde storage, BDRT Kleine Brogel, dumped, front fuselage to be used in flight simulator project.
FX-42 9085 Apr 1964 Sep 1970 FX-42, crashed at Vlieland on 30 Sep 1970 during bombing training at the Vlieland range.
FX-43 9086 May 1964 Jan 1973 FX-43, crashed at Corbais after loss of power on take off .
FX-44 9087 Apr 1964 Jan 1987 FX-44, storage at Koksijde, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-45 9088 Apr 1964 Jan 1987 FX-45, "Slivers" demo-team, storage at Koksijde, Volvo Dealer Gent/Ledegem, on display at Baarlo (Nl.) as "D-8030", Bruinisse, Nl.)
FX-46 9089 May 1964 1977 FX-46, crashed at Norhorn (D.) on 15 Jan 1976 due to loss of control.
FX-47 9090 May 1964 Jan 1987 FX-47, Koksijde Storage, Royal Army Museum storage, 1W Historical Center, restored.
FX-48 9091 May 1964 Jan 1987 FX-48, Koksijde storage, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-49 9092 Jun 1964 Nov 1969 FX-49, fatal accident at Vliehors (Nl.) on 24 Nov 1969.
FX-50 9093 May 1964 Jul 1972 FX-50, crashed at Biez on 10 June 1972 after a mid-air collision with FX-73
FX-51 9094 Jul 1964 Jan 1987 FX-51, "Slivers" Demo-team, Koksijde storage, Kissimmee (Fl, USA) as 60813/FG-813, to Tom Blair Collection.
FX-52 9095 May 1964 Jan 1987 FX-52, "Tiger" c/s for the 1978 Tiger Meet at Kleine Brogel,  storage at Koksijde, Royal Army Museum storage at Kapellen, Scrap-dealer at Peutie, to Niederrhein (Germany) and completely restored as "Tiger". See Belgian Wings "Special Feature"
FX-53 9096 May 1964 Sep 1979 FX-53, Saffraanberg Technical School, Saffraanberg Gate Guardian.
FX-54 9097 Jun 1964 Apr 1982 FX-54, "Slivers" demo-team, crashed at Authe after flame-out and fire on 16 Sep 1980
FX-55 9098 Aug 1964 Jun 1969 FX-55, crashed at Romere due to a  technical malfuntion of the landing gear.
FX-56 9099 Jul 1964 Nov 1979 FX-56, accident at Beauvechain after engine failure on 14 Feb 1977.
FX-57 9100 Jun 1964 Jan 1987 FX-57, Koksijde storage, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-58 9101 May 1964 Jan 1987 FX-58, "Slivers" demo team, Koksijde storage, BDRT at Beauvechain, Royal Army Museum, Kapellen, stored Gosselies
FX-59 9102 Jun 1964 Jan 1987 FX-59, Koksijde storage, to Taiwan as spare parts resource.
FX-60 9103 Jun 1964 Jan 1987 FX-60, Koksijde storage, on public viewing at "Flugausstellung Leo Junior" Hermeskeil (D.)
FX-61 9104 Jun 1964 Jan 1987 FX-61, monument 23 Sqn Kleine Brogel, Koksijde storage, BDRT Kleine Brogel, Tiger AF Museum Peer, preserved Kleine Brogel
FX-62 9105 Jul 1964 Jan 1987 FX-62, Koksijde storage,  to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-63 9106 Sep 1964 Oct 1968 FX-63, crashed at Geel on 11 Oct 1966.
FX-64 9107 Aug 1964 Jan 1987 FX-64, Koksijde storage, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-65 9108 Sep 1964 Jen 1987 FX-65, Koksijde storage, to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-66 9109 Jun 1964 Aug 1964 FX-66, crashed at Gosselies on 18 Aug 1964 during a demonstration before delivery to the BAF.
FX-67 9113 Jul 1964 Jan 1987 FX-67, Koksijde storage,  to Taiwan as spare parts resource
FX-68 9114 Sep 1964 Apr 1980 FX-68, crashed at Gochene on 5 Jun 1979.
FX-69 9115 Aug 1964 Jan 1987 FX-69, "Slivers" Demo-team, Koksijde storage, Royal Army Museum Kapellen, Scrap-dealer Peutie, Gosselies, being restored by J. Brinkman (restoration progress 27 Apr 2009).
FX-70 9119 Sep 1964 Jan 1987 FX-70, Koksijde storage, BDRT Florennes, acquired by J. Brinkman as spare parts resource to restore FX-69.
FX-71 9120 Sep 1964 Sep 1969 FX-71, crashed at Peer on 24 Sep 1969.
FX-73 9125 Sep 1964 Aug 1973 FX-73, crashed at Biez on 10 June 1972 after a mid-air collision with FX-50
FX-74 9126 Oct 1964 Jan 1987 FX-74, "Slivers" demo team, Koksijde storage, To Taiwan as spare parts resource.
FX-76 9131 Oct 1964 Jan 1987 FX-76, Koksijde storage, BDRT Beauvechain, Preserved Boortmeerbeek, ASCO Zaventem
FX-78 9133 Oct 1964 Jan 1987 FX-78, storage at Koksijde, BDRT Beauvechain, Royal Army Museum Kapellen, scrapped?
FX-79 9137 Dec 1964 Oct 1980 FX-79, scrap dealer at Kalken, displayed at the De Groote company at Beervelde.
FX-80 9138 Oct 1964 Jan 1987 FX-80, Koksijde storage, To Taiwan as spare part resource
FX-81 9139 Apr 1966 Jan 1987 FX-81, storage Koksijde, Pennsaukin (NJ, USA), Air Victory Museum in fake paint scheme as "D-8090".
FX-82 9140 Nov 1964 Jan 1987 FX-82, Koksijde storage, Planes of Fame Museum, Chino (CA, USA)
FX-83 9141 Jan 1965 Jan 1987 FX-83, "Slivers" Demo-team, storage at Koksijde, BDRT Florennes, Royal Army Museum Weelde, Kapellen, scrapped ?, tail used as decoration in caf-rest. "Le Raidillon" at Genval.
FX-84 9142 May 1966 Jan 1987 FX-84, Koksijde storage, Mineral Wells (TX, USA), Mojave (CA, USA), registered N104PJ to be made flyable at Hillsboro (OR, USA), Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville (OR, USA)
FX-85 9146 Jul 1966 Jan 1987 FX-85, Koksijde storage, BDRT Florennes, Royal Army Museum depot Weelde, Kapellen, scrapped?
FX-87 9148 Oct 1966 Sep 1968 FX-87, crashed at Beauvechain on 02 September 1968 during recording of popular series "Les Chevaliers du Ciel"
FX-89 9153 Feb 1967 Jan 1987 FX-89, Koksijde storage, Royal Army Museum storage Weelde, Kapellen, scrapped?
FX-90 9154 Feb 1965 Jan 1987 FX-90, storage Koksijde, on public view museum Savigny-les-Beaune (F.)
FX-91 9158 Apr 1965 Jul 1979 FX-91, crashed in IJselmeer near Staveren (Nl.) on 2 Aug 1978.
FX-94 9164 Mar 1967 Jan 1987 FX-94, Koksijde storage, 21 Log Wing bleu c/s for recruiting purposes, monument Peer.
FX-95 9165 Feb1967 Sep 1980 FX-95, crashed at Diepenbeek on 9 Feb 1979 after mid-air collision with FX-81
FX-96 9166 Mar 1967 Jan 1987 FX-96, Koksijde storage, BDRT Kleine Brogel, Used by fire fighting service Kleine Brogel.
FX-97 9170 Mar 1967 Jul 1973 FX-97, fatal crash at Alten Hellefeld/Sdern (D.) on 25 Jul 1973
FX-98 9171 May 1967 May 1980 FX-98, "Slivers" Demo-team, crashed at Ospel (Nl) on 02 Aug 1977.
FX-99 9172 Apr 1967 Jan 1987 FX99, Koksijde storage, Bangor (ME, USA) storage, International Vintage Aircraft Inc. Markham (Canada)
FX-100 9176 May 1965 Jan 1987 FX-100, storage at Koksijde, privately owned and displayed in garden at Kampenhout/Boortmeerbeek
LW-23 Full scale replica constructed by 23 Log Wing as recruiting exhibit. Destroyed by peace activist
FS-02 Flight Simulator / Link trainer used at Beauvechain airbase, preserved at Royal Technical School at Saffraanberg
OO-FSA

The first Lockheed F-104G constructed by Fairey-Sabca (later to become KH-101) for the German Luftwaffe wearing civilian registration OO-FSA (Fairey-SABCA) at Gosselies airport on 27 August 1962. This same aircraft was demonstrated on 4 December 1961 as "FX-1" by test pilot Bernard Neefs

Follow this link to Aircraft walkaround.be for a detailed photographic study of the Belgian Air Force's F-104G FX-12 and FX-47.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 30/05/17 10:18   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com