Starfighters in Foreign Lands

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

This is the first part of many to come. As I was researching this project, I came across so many F-104s that I had to split it up. Several times, in fact. This month features only three countries, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. The next part will cover some more countries, and there will be a part or two devoted to the numerous special schemes the F-104 wore in its long and distinguished career. So, without further adieu, Part 1:

When the Canadians first took delivery of the F-104, they were very colorful birds. Left in their shiny metal finishes, the wings were painted white and the tail red, providing a striking scheme. This particular F-104 is from No 417 Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta.

The Canadians had a detachment of F-104s in Europe as well. This one from No 439 Squadron is depicted in the later overall green finish, with the characteristic tiger's head emblem on the tail. This squadron was known for tiger striping one of it's F-104s for the annual Tiger Meets.

The Dutch flew the F-104 for a long time, like most NATO countries. This one from No 306 Squadron is finished in an early scheme of overall light gray. It has also been "zapped" by the German AG52 squadron, with an AG52 emblem underneath the windscreen.

Later in the life of the Dutch F-104s they got a new paint scheme based loosely on the German Luftwaffe pattern. It consisted of a dark green and gray over a light gray. This F-104 from No 312 Squadron has an interesting history. It was painted up to celebrate 3000 hours of flight time, with the words "Still the Best There Is" written on the sides. It was then the next kLu F-104 to crash in 1983.

The German Navy also flew the Starfighter. Finished in blue-gray over silver dope, this F-104 is from MFG2 and shows off the Naval anchor emblem and the word "MARINE" carried on all of the Naval Starfighters.

Last in this first part of the F-104 series is this example from the German Luftwaffe. This Starfighter is from JG34 as can be seen by the large unit emblem on the air intake. This F-104 shows the standard splinter style camouflage worn by Luftwaffe Starfighters throughout the majority of its career.


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