Lockheed RF-104G Starfighter

Last revised December 12, 1999

The RF-104G (Lockheed Model 683-04-10) was the tactical reconnaissance version of the F-104G. The RF-104G was more-or-less similar to the F-104G, but had the 20-mm cannon and its 725-round magazine removed and replaced by a camera system. Lockheed built 40 examples of the RF-104G, the North Group delivered 119, and the Italian Group manufactured 30. Most of the RF-104Gs had three KS-67A cameras mounted in the forward fuselage, although the aircraft for Holland's Koninklijke Luchtmacht had their cameras carried in an external ventral camera pack. The machines carrying internal cameras could be recognized by the presence of a small bump underneath the forward fuselage which included part of the nosewheel doors. In addition, they could be identified by the presence of camera windows in the side of the fuselage and by the fairing over of the cannon port bulge. In service, many RF-104Gs were subsequently modified to standard armed F-104G standard, although the reverse also happened as well.

Some RF-104Gs were purchased by MAP funds and were assigned USAF serial numbers for record-keeping purposes although they never served with the USAF. Other RF-104Gs were owned by the West German Luftwaffe but actually ended up operating at bases in the USA. These planes were painted in USAF insignia and carried USAF serial numbers.


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