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mirageiv

German nuclear strike configured F-104G questions

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Hi guys,

 

I've done some research for the following 2 questions but I haven't found anything conclusive, maybe some one can help me. I read over various reference books, the very comprehensive DACO one included and I may have missed something, but still no answer.

 

1. I have read the cannon muzzle had a cover for possible nuclear delivery specific avionics. Such as the jet in this youtube video: 

 

 

 

It is a F-104G and not a converted RF airframe so I assume it is because of the nuclear role. However, in I think all other F-104G photos I have seen from the nuclear strike JaboGs there is no cover over the cannon. I know depending on the JaboG a number of jets were assigned to the role and on permanent alert status. Would a normal line F-104G thus be prepped for the nuclear delivery before it could go on alert, not simply loading a nuke on the centre pylon? Another point maybe it is a timeline thing. The above video is from the 60's, I want to build my model in the 70's so I'm not sure if the cannon removal was necessary by then. Or even depending on bomb type, by the time the B61 was delivered, I think (could be wrong) sometime in the late 70's, the extra equipment for the B43 was not needed and no cannon cover? I could load my model with a B61 or B43 and this little point I want to get right.

 

2. Does anyone know the exact external store configuration? Given the pilots only knew their exact targets shortly before they would have to scramble, I'd assume a 4 tank fit with the nuke on the centre line giving flexibility in target range. Though a supersonic short range delivery with only tip tanks may have been an option for some particular JaboGs. All the nuke training sorties I have seen have a 4 tank fit so I'm thinking that is the way to go.

 

I understand this topic naturally has very limited info out there but I'm all ears if somebody could give me a more definitive idea on those 2 than what I have now.

 

Thanks so much for any help/suggestions! Cheers,

 

David.

Edited by mirageiv

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Here is one about to go on a training mission:

 

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g77/Mlodj/NukeB61onGermanF-104.jpg~original

 

can't see the other side if the gun opening was covered or not. It is possible an extra fuel tank was carried in place of the ammo bin therefore the opening was blanked off. I don't know of any extra avionics that were required for nuke delivery,  as it would be hard to keep track of which a/c had it so i think all a/c were capable of the weapons. You could always have your project as a training mission with as many tanks as you wish as plenty of practice shapes were dropped for realistic training.

 

edit: one little note, there are no sway braces on the wing pylons which indicates tanks were normally carried on them. Other stores required the sway braces

 

Jari

Edited by Finn

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Some information from AirDOC ADJP001 F-104 Starfighter Part 1 Fighter Bomber Units that might help.

 

Nuclear alert duties were held by JaboG 31 ,32 , 33, 34 and 36 and while on alert were fitted out in a four droptank configuration with the nuclear store on the centreline , initially the Mk.43 , then the Mk.57 and eventually the B61.      The gun was removed , the muzzle opening faired over and an additional 462 Litre fuel tank installed presumably in the former ammunition bay.

 

The image above of JaboG 34 26+30 with a B61 exercise 'shape'  is included in the book and is dated to April 1985.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

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The info in the airdoc book describes the same configuration used by Italian Starfighters tasked with the same mission: nuke on the centreline pylon, 4 tanks and the gun replaced by a fuel tank.

NATO Starfighters used in the strike role needed as much fuel as possible to reach their targets. Even with all that fuel, these missions were pretty much one way only..

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Lots of great info here!

 

 

12 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

NATO Starfighters used in the strike role needed as much fuel as possible to reach their targets. Even with all that fuel, these missions were pretty much one way only..

but that "one way mission" concept only partially had to do with fuel I guess... The likelihood of finding your own base to be intakt after such a mission was not that big..

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Ah great information guys, many thanks!

 

About the additional avionics being installed, I think maybe I got confused with the RF-104G having some additional avionics instead of the gun. So, I'll go with 4 tanks, gun cover and a nuke on centreline. If I want to build one from the mid 70s onwards, would the B61 be appropriate? Or was that only implemented during the 80s along with the Tornado? 

 

cheers fellas,

 

David.

 

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23 hours ago, Des said:

 

Nuclear alert duties were held by JaboG 31 ,32 , 33, 34 and 36 ...

 

Were all those JaBoG's assigned simultaneously?  I ask  because I think those are all of them. . .If the info re the removed gun is correct, that would mean each Geschwader would have had to have a certain number of configured airframes available any given time. Sounds like a logistical challenge. If all Geschwader were assigned simultaneously, and used dedicated airframes, pics of "no gun" machines should be around in some numbers. If they aren't,  that may indicate standard airframes were used for alert duties. Not much help,  I know. ..

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Checked the book and can maybe throw a little light on at least one of the points raised , or maybe just muddy the waters a bit more.

 

Regarding the timeline on the 'Sonderwaffe' not much said other than the Mk.43 was replaced quite quickly by the Mk.57.

 

As regards units holding nuclear alert it states that from 1967 all Luftwaffe fighter-bomber wings were each required to provide four aircraft for QRA with the exception of JaboG 36 at Rheine-Hopsten which provided two plus a spare.     A few of the images in the book of F-104G with cannon faired over refer to them as being assigned to the 'strike role' or the 'strike component' of their respective wings so there may well have been , excusing the pun, a nucleus of converted airframes with each wing which rotated in and out of alert duties.     Although not mentioned in the book it may well have been the case that with the alert aircraft acting as a tripwire for any nuclear counterstrike in the event of an actual conflict all wing aircraft with or without the gun fitted would have become involved as long as there was a runway to fly from.

 

A feature of late-service Luftwaffe F-104G was the introduction from the late 1970s into the early 1980s of the EL70/EL73 ECM system which had spike aerials on the spine behind the cockpit and on the underside behind the radome as well as a pair of small blade aerials on the underside , one forward of the spike aerial mentioned and the other aft of the brake parachute housing.

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15 hours ago, mirageiv said:

[...]

If I want to build one from the mid 70s onwards, would the B61 be appropriate? Or was that only implemented during the 80s along with the Tornado?

[...]

 

The B61 started replacing the Mk43 and Mk57 nukes beginning from 1975.

Accordingly, a B61 would be quite appropriate for a mid/late-1970s timeframe.

 

Strike-assigned GAF F-104G, four per JaboG as stipulated by NATO, were indeed requiring a particular degree of attention - logistics, personnel, subject to extremely strict and deviating (US) procedures, etc. Later in their career, QRA(N), Quick Reaction Alert (Nuclear), assigned F-104G retained their M61 gun installation. Compared to the 2100lbs of a Mk43 bomb, a B61 weighed only 750lbs and produced less drag. If a QRA(N) assigned aircraft was removed from its QRA duty ("rotation"), another aircraft replacing it would only require rewiring as well as the installation of the mission specific equipment. e.g. installation of a dual timer and DCU-9/A or DCU-117 weapon control panels, etc. Keeping the gun mainly was a measure to ease operations. On the plus side, strike aircraft retained some minimum self-defence capabilties during their one-way mission. How comforting, isn't it?

 

I will try to dig out some relevant mid/late-1970s serials of GAF F-104Gs for you.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

Edited by Airfixer

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Des that is my thinking too, at least it is the most logical conclusion from what I have read and learned from this thread. Annoying, I cannot find an excellent article I read online a few years ago about  'German' nukes under US control at various West German bases, detailing the procedure reasonably well and IIRC it had a picture of a Starfighter on alert. At the time I didn't bother too much about it but really wish I could find it now! 

Edited by mirageiv

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3 minutes ago, Airfixer said:

 

The B61 started replacing the Mk43 and Mk57 nukes beginning from 1975.

Accordingly, a B61 would be quite appropriate for a mid/late-1970s timeframe.

 

Strike-assigned GAF F-104G, four per JaBoG as stipulated by NATO, were indeed requiring a particular degree of attention - logistics, personnel, subject to extremely strict and deviating (US) procedures, etc. Later in their career, QRA(N), Quick Reaction Alert (Nuclear), assigned F-104G retained their M61 gun installation. Compared to the 2100lbs of a Mk43 bomb, a B61 weighed only 750lbs and produced less drag. If a QRA(N) assigned aircraft was removed from its QRA duty ("rotation"), another aircraft replacing it would only require rewiring as well as the installation of the mission specific equipment. e.g. installation of a dual timer and DCU-9/A or DCU-117 weapon control panels, etc. Keeping the gun mainly was a measure to ease operations. On the plus side, strike aircraft retained some minimum self-defence capabilties during their one-way mission. How comforting, isn't it? Zipper drivers knew that, btw.

 

I will try to dig out some relevant mid/late-1970s serials of GAF F-104Gs for you.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

wow great info Airfixer, much appreciated! 

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AFAIK on either the Mk 43 or 57 (which were somewhat bulkier than the B61 "Silver Bullet") the lower fin had to be folded in order to fit under the belly of the '104

 

I may have some pictures in Klaus Kropf's "German Starfighter: The F-104 in German Air Force and Naval Service".

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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The tail cone on the weapons were rotated so that instead of the tail fins being in an "X" configuration, when viewed from the front or aft, they were in a slightly offset "+" configuration.  That was done for clearance with the landing gear doors.

 

NukeB61onGermanF-104.jpg

 

 

Regards,

Murph

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11 hours ago, Hook said:

AFAIK on either the Mk 43 or 57 (which were somewhat bulkier than the B61 "Silver Bullet") the lower fin had to be folded in order to fit under the belly of the '104

 

I may have some pictures in Klaus Kropf's "German Starfighter: The F-104 in German Air Force and Naval Service".

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

 

I have that book Andre and cannot recall seeing a nuke on a Starfighter. This is the only picture I have found of a German F-104G with a B43 (training round): http://www.916-starfighter.de/Large/da237.htm . A big weapon for the F-104!

 

 

Edited by mirageiv

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