Scale: 1/32 scale model
Wing Span: 15 inches
Length: 15 inches
The Lockheed F-94 Starfire was a first-generation jet aircraft of the United States Air Force. It was developed from the twin-seat Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star in the late 1940s as an all-weather, day/night interceptor. The aircraft reached operational service in May 1950 with Air Defense Command, replacing the piston-engined North American F-82 Twin Mustang in the all-weather interceptor role.
The F-94 was the first operational USAF fighter equipped with an afterburner and was the first jet-powered all-weather fighter to enter combat during the Korean War in January 1953. It had a relatively brief operational life, being replaced in the mid-1950s by the Northrop F-89 Scorpion and North American F-86D Sabre. The last aircraft left active-duty service in 1958 and Air National Guard service in 1959.
Design and development
Lockheed YF-94 (S/N 48-373). This was the second aircraft built (from TF-80C)
Built to a 1948 USAF specification for a radar-equipped interceptor to replace the aging F-61 Black Widow and North American F-82 Twin Mustang, it was specifically designed to counter the threat of the USSR's new Tupolev Tu-4 bombers (reverse-engineered Boeing B-29). The Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk had been designated to be the USAF first jet night fighter, but its performance was subpar, and Lockheed was asked to design a jet night fighter on a crash program basis. The F-94 was derived from the TF-80C (later T-33A Shooting Star) which was a two-seat trainer version of the F-80 Shooting Star. A lengthened nose area with guns, radar, and automatic fire control system was added. Since the conversion seemed so simple, a contract was awarded to Lockheed in early 1949, with the first flight on 16 April 1949. The early test YF-94s used 75% of the parts used in the earlier F-80 and T-33As.
The fire control system was the Hughes E-1, which incorporated an AN/APG-33 radar (derived from the AN/APG-3, which directed the Convair B-36's tail guns) and a Sperry A-1C computing gunsight. This short-range radar system was useful only in the terminal phases of the interception. Most of the operation would be directed using ground-controlled interception, as was the case with the earlier aircraft it replaced.
The added weight of the electronic equipment required a more powerful engine, so the standard J-33 turbojet engine, which had been fitted to the T-33A, was replaced with an afterburning Allison J33-A-33. The combination reduced the internal fuel capacity. The F-94 was to be the first US production jet with an afterburner. The J33-A-33 had standard thrust of 4,000 pounds-force (18 kN), and with water injection this was increased to 5,400 lbf (24 kN) and with afterburning a maximum of 6,000 lbf (27 kN) thrust. The YF-94A's afterburner had many teething problems with its igniter and the flame stabilization system.