Sky Guardians 1:72 Scale Metal Die-Cast - Lockheed F-104 Starfighter – Length: 9.19" Wingspan: 4.25”
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967. Designed as a supersonic superiority fighter, the F-104 was produced in two major versions. Armed with a six-barrel M-61 20mm Vulcan cannon it served as a tactical fighter and, equipped additionally with heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, as a day-night interceptor. The USAF procured about 300 Starfighters in one- and two-seat versions.
It was the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound and held numerous airspeed and altitude records. On May 18, 1958, an F-104A set a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph, and on December 14, 1959, an F-104C set a world altitude record of 103,395 feet. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude and time-to-climb. Using an accelerated loft technique, some F-104s have been flown to higher than 90,000 feet.
The F-104 was selected for use by the NATO allies and more than 1,700 F-104s were built in the U.S. and abroad under the military aid program for various nations including Canada, West Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Taiwan and Japan. These high-speed fighter-bomber variants continued in service until the mid-1980s. The last Italian Air Force examples were retired in 2004. The later-model Starfighter versions gained a reputation for being challenging to fly. Many air forces using F-104s eventually replaced them with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.