Due to a request I received recently I have uploaded these RDAF AS550 Fennec pictures again.

 

Please respect the Copyright and do not repost these pictures anywhere or send them to anyone!

If you would like to use these pictures please contact me.

Fennec P-234

Fennec P-254

Fennec P-275

Fennec P-276

Fennec P-287

Fennec P-288

Fennec P-320

Fennec P-352

On November 1960 Italy ordered the F-104G. That decision fired polemics and discussions that lasted almost 40 years. At that time AMI was searching for a multi-role aircraft to replace F-86E(M) and F-86K in the fighter role, RF-84F in the recce role and F-84F in the strike and attack role. Unfortunately the F-104G wasn't able to do all those missions at best.
Fiat (later Aeritalia) built 199 F-104G in
Turin: 50 for the Luftwaffe, 25 for the Klu and 124 for the AMI (one more F-104G was built by Lockheed and delivered to AMI).
Italian F-104Gs were made in 3 different configurations: The CI or interceptor, the CB or strike and the RF or recce.

 

Interceptors
Maybe the less capable version was the CI. The airframe in this configuration was designed as a pure interceptor with a reduced
armament of just 2 AIM-9Bs. The gun was removed since it was considered useless in an interceptor and it also gave some problems of gas injection if fired at determined angle of attack. The missiles were usually mounted on wingtip launchers since the under fuselage launchers (attached to BL22 stations) largely used by RDAF, KLu and JASDF were never cleared to fly in
Italy!  The central fuselage pylon was not installed on CI F-104G. Fighter pilots appreciated the speed of the F-104G but they thought that the F-84K was more manoeuvrable and better armed since it had 4 guns plus the very same missiles used by the F-104G.
Interceptors went to 9°Gruppo CI Sqn (from March 1963), to the 10°Gruppo CI Sqn (from 1965) and to the 21°Gruppo CI Sqn (from
September 1963).

Strike
Strike F-104Gs kept the Vulcan gun (for ground strafing and auto-defence) and were assigned to the nuclear strike mission armed
with bombs that USAF used to stored in 3 airbases in Italy. Actually the Italian Starfighters never flew with live nuclear bombs and they usually flew with an SUU-21A bombs dispenser under the central fuselage pylon and 2 or 4 fuel tanks.
The strike variant of the F-104G went to the 102°Gruppo (from May 1964), and to the 154°Gruppo CB Sqn (from June 1963).

F-104Gs

In these two shots you can see a formation of F-104G/CB from 102°Gruppo. As you can see two of the aircraft have the Squadron emblem painted on the air intake now (photos via P. Maglio).

F-104Gs

Recce
The last variant was the recce one, again without the Vulcan gun but with a bulge under the fuselage to host the cameras and bulged doors in the front gear doors; these were to the same standard used by Marineflieger and Luftwaffe RF-104Gs. Around 20 RF-104Gs were made in Italy and these went (initially) to 101 °Gruppo CBR Sqn in Grosseto (later to Rimini) starting from autumn 1964.

From February 1965 the newly reformed 20°Gruppo Autonomo Addestramento Operativo (20° Autonomous Operational Training Squadron) also got the first of 24 Lockheed-built TF-104Gs, many years later, in the mid '80s this Sqn also got 6 ex-Luftwaffe TF-104Gs to replace those lost or retired during the years.

Starting from 1969 the AMI got the F-104S to replace the F-104G in many of its Squadrons. Only the 154°Gruppo kept the F-104G in the strike role (until replaced by Tornado ten years later), while all the other Squadrons converted to the new variant. All the remaining F-104Gs and RF-104Gs went to 3° Stormo RT (3rd Recce Wing) in Verona-Villafranca with 3 Squadrons that were: 18°, 28° and 132°Gruppi
RT. These Starfighters were mostly used as recce aircrafts (usually with the Orpheus pod on the central station) so they were called RF-104G even if the most of them had no internal camera. A few more F-104Gs were sent to the 20°Gruppo along the TF-104Gs to give students the opportunity of a solo flight and to keep instructors combat ready.

RF-104G

In this not so good photo you can see a freshly delivered RF-104G that belongs to 101°Gruppo were it replaced F-84F.
Note the bulged front gear door to make room to the Trigometron set of cameras (photo via P. Maglio).

RF-104G & F-86K

This is an RF-104G flying side by side to a F-86K. The F-104G is from 102°Gruppo/5°Stormo while the F-86K is from 23°Gruppo/51°Stormo. Both units were based at Rimini AB (photo via P. Maglio).

RF-104G & F-84F

In this photo you can see two fighter bombers based at Rimini during the '60s: the F-84F is from 101°Gruppo while the newly delivered RF-104G is from 102°Gruppo. As you can see the Donald Duck (102°Sqn Emblem) was painted on the fin of the tip tank at that time, later it will be moved to the air intake (photo via P. Maglio).

 

Colours and markings
About colour scheme: the first F-104Gs delivered to AMI were left in natural metal with the white anti-radiation paint on the wings and the upper part of the fuselage. Large black numbers were to the side of the fuselage to identify the unit and the plane. Later the strike aircraft of the 154°Gruppo were painted with the NATO standard camouflage of green and gray, these two colours were gloss and the numbers still in black. You can find these decals in the first F-104G made by Hasegawa in 1/48th scale.
By the way the similar camouflage adopted by the F-104G of the 5°Stormo (101°CBR and 102°CB Squadrons) was chosen as standard for the entire fleet. The colours were still the NATO green and gray but painted with a flat finish and with the big numbers to the side of the fuselage painted in white. The underside of the fuselage of camouflaged F-104s was painted with an aluminium lacquer protective paint.



Pierpaolo Maglio

Into squadron service 

In 1962 it was decided that the Royal Danish Air Force was to accept delivery of 25 F-104Gs and 4 TF-104Gs. Delivery of the first 8 F-104Gs and 2 TF-104Gs started in November 1964. In fact, the aircraft were delivered by ship and then towed from the harbour to Aalborg Air Base where they were thoroughly checked before entering service in December 1964. The F-104s were officially handed over to the RDAF on 29 June 1965. 

ESK726 became the first Danish F-104 squadron in December 1964 with ESK723 following suit in September 1965. Initially, training was carried out in ESK726 only, but this was changed later on. 

During the first years of operational service the maintainers worked hard to produce the number of required flight hours. Lack of spare parts necessitated cannibalisation of two F-104Gs, R-699 and R-700. 

Paint and markings 

The Danish F-104Gs were all delivered in the light grey scheme with white (FS 17875) wing upper surfaces. The TF-104Gs, on the other hand, were natural metal with light grey lower wing surfaces and white wing upper surfaces. Although the specifications call out for ADC Grey FS 16473 recent research indicates that the most likely colour used was Canadian light grey FS 16515. Wing tanks were natural metal on both types. Radomes were pale grey-green. Anti-glare panels were dark green, and the opening around the gun muzzle on the F-104Gs was black. The intake lips and shock cones were flat black on all Danish F-104s during their entire career. 

The Danish markings consisted of the red/white roundel in six positions and the Danish flag on the tail fin. On the upper wing surfaces the Danish roundels were placed on a grey square that was slightly larger than the roundel. Stencilling was the standard US stencilling with a few additional stencils in Danish. Aircraft codes were in the standard RDAF font on either side of the fuselage in front of the intakes. The codes were black with R-XXX used for the single-seaters and RT-XXX used for the two-seaters. The last five of the serial number, e.g. 12345 for R-345, was painted in black on the tail fin below the Danish flag. Undercarriage was painted aluminium initially. The pitot was white with wide red stripes. 

In 1968 a new colour scheme was tested. R-345 had acted as the first aircraft to undergo IRAN (Inspection and Repair As Necessary) during which its upper surfaces were painted dark green (FS 34079). The light grey lower surfaces were retained, as were the large national markings, anti-glare panel etc. Only a few stencils were changed in the process, but the usually ones still appeared in both English and Danish.

 

R-345  

The two-colour scheme was not introduced on other Danish F-104s, and all subsequent F-104s to go through IRAN came out in the overall dark green colour scheme. The radome was not painted dark green initially, but retained its pale grey-green colour and its part of the anti-glare panel. The national markings were reduced in size, and black/yellow stencils were toned down to being just yellow outlines with black text on all Danish F-104s except R-814 which was the only one to have standard US stencils. The overall green colour scheme actually extended to the undercarriage and the pitot, the latter now having a thin yellow spiral. 

The flat dark green colour used on the Danish F-104s weathered heavily, sometimes to a degree where the aircraft appeared to be grey-green. In the late 1970s it was therefore decided to re-paint the F-104s in a gloss version of the original green colour (FS 14079). The repaint happened around the same time as a major modification, i.e. reinforcement, of the wings. Reinforced wings painted in the gloss dark green were sometimes seen on aircraft with flat dark green fuselages, making for an odd combination. Over time all remaining F-104s were repainted though. It is likely that R-814 received the standard Danish stencils during repainting in 1978. Note that the radome usually had an eggshell finish in a lighter green than the gloss dark green. Wing tanks were overall dark green on all green aircraft. 

Hardware 

The F-104Gs and TF-104Gs were delivered in the standard configuration with Lockheed C-2 seats. All Danish single-seaters were fitted with the M61 canon. The engine used in all Danish F-104s was the -11A version of the J79. 

Although the F-104s were delivered with the Lockheed C-2 seats prototype testing of the Martin Baker Mk. DQ7 seat was started already in December 1964 using one F-104G and one TF-104G. Permanent installation of the MB Mk. DQ-7 seat was started in February 1965, thus making Denmark the first country to do so. Not all Danish F-104Gs and TF-104Gs were retrofitted with the MB seat initially as there were not enough available seats. This meant that some F-104s initially flew with the C-2 seat. The F-104s fitted with C-2 seats were retrofitted as the MB seat became available. The Danish MB Mk. DQ-7 seats all had the trapezoid shaped headrest. 

Another modification carried out on the Danish F-104s early on was the introduction of a spotlight used for identification of other aircraft at night. The spotlight was mounted behind the ejection seat underneath the canopy glass over the avionics bay, directed 80 degrees to the port side. 

Other minor modifications were carried out in the cockpit, e.g. adding a third rear-view mirror on the canopy frame.  

Ex-Canadian airframes 

The original 29 F-104s delivered did not make for two full squadrons, yet the aircraft were distributed between the two squadrons ESK723 and ESK726. The RDAF was short of what would equal half a squadron to have two full squadrons. Plans to procure another half squadron of F-104s surfaced already in 1963, but it was not until the late 1960s that the plans were put into effect. Although new-built F-104Gs were considered at some point the choice fell on 22 ex-Canadian F-104s in 1971. Of the 22 F-104s, 7 were the two-seat CF-104Ds and the rest were single-seat CF-104s. The 15 CF-104s were overhauled and brought up to MAP standard by Lockheed, after which some Danish modifications were carried out in Denmark. R-814 was the prototype for this project and the first CF-104 to enter squadron service in June 1973. It differed somewhat from the rest of the Danish F-104s, being the only one with US stencils. 

The CF-104 modifications included retrofitting the larger main wheels and bulged main gear doors. The original J79-7 engine was changed to the J79-11A, the M61 gun was fitted as was the infra-red sight in front of the windscreen. Last but not least all CF-104s were painted dark green before entering squadron service. These modifications were also carried out on the CF-104Ds, but not necessarily before they entered service. The surplus CF-104 specific parts were sold to Norway as spares for their CF-104s. 

The need for two-seaters was so bad that the four of the CF-104Ds (RT-654, -655, -657 and -660) were pressed into service without getting the full update. Instead the four CF-104Ds underwent a reduced IRAN during which they were fitted with the Martin Baker Mk. DQ-7A ejection seat (also with the trapezoid shaped headrest) and painted flat dark green. A few minor changes were also made before they entered service in 1972, including the ability to carry AIM-9s on the wing pylons. The four aircraft retained their narrow main wheels and flat main wheel doors initially. They were not fitted with the RWR equipment before the rest of the update, e.g. fitting of the J79-GE-11 and the larger main wheels and bulged main gear doors, was carried out in 1975-77. Repainting of the four aircraft in the gloss dark green was also carried out around this time. 

The three remaining CF-104Ds (RT-662, -664 and -667) underwent the full IRAN and update to MAP standard, thus they did not enter service until 1975-76. All three were painted in the gloss dark green scheme before entering service, but RT-664 was the only one of the three to leave the IRAN without the RWR antennas underneath the nose and the aft fuselage, but it only flew without the antennas one month before being selected as the prototype for the APR-37D/ARP-45D RWR equipment. 

Denmark was unique in fitting the APR-37D/ARP-45D RWR equipment to the TF-104G. This was done to the three remaining TF-104Gs. RT-681 had been lost in a crash in June 1975 so it is unlikely that it had been fitted with the RWR equipment. This essentially brought the Danish two-seaters up to the same configuration as far as ECM equipment goes. Although a number of APR-37D/ARP-45D systems were made redundant following the retirement of the F-100 in 1981-82 it was not considered cost-effective to update the single-seat F-104s due to the few years they had left in service by that time.

 

RT-684   

Stores 

Although the F-104 was meant to be an interceptor in Danish service it did have a few other roles.  As an interceptor the F-104G/CF-104 was armed with the M61 Vulcan gun in the fuselage. AIM-9 Sidewinders, at first the AIM-9B but later also the AIM-9N, were usually carried on the catamaran pylon on the belly of the aircraft; however, additional missiles could be carried on the wing pylons. Whether the AIM-9 was mounted underneath the wings or the fuselage the AERO-3B launcher was used. Although AIM-9s also could be carried on the wing tips of F-104s no photographic evidence exists to back up that this ever was done on a Danish F-104. In fact, charts showing the various Danish stores configurations only show the fuel tanks on the wing tips. The typical configuration for the Danish interceptors was wing tip tanks and two AIM-9s underneath the fuselage. When AIM-9s were carried on the TF-104G/CF-104D they were mounted on the wing pylons. Only the single-seat F-104s were used for QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) though, a task that demanded four armed aircraft to be on alert at all times. 

Apart from being used as trainers the two-seaters were also used in the ECM role. For this role the TF-104G/CF-104D was equipped with the aforementioned APR-37D/ARP-45D RWR equipment, and they had the capability to carry ALQ-71 and -72 jamming pods as well as the A38DK (essentially the ALE-38 equipment mounted in the ALE-2 pod).The ALQ-71/-72 would usually be carried on the port wing pylon with the starboard wing pylon being fitted with either the other ALQ-71/-72 pod, the A38DK or a wing tank. The A38DK would either be carried in this configuration, with a pod underneath each wing pylon or with the A38DK occupying the port wing pylon while the starboard wing pylon would be mounted with a wing tank. 

The F-104 had a secondary role as a ground attack aircraft. For this the F-104 had the M61 Vulcan gun as the primary weapon, and the only other weapon prepared for this use was the LAU-3/A rocket pod with 19 2.75” rockets. Not all Danish TF/F-104Gs had the wiring for the LAU-3/A, but the 20 airframes that did not have it were modified in 1968-69. Eventually, apart from a test mounting of the pod, the LAU-3/A was never used on the Danish TF/F-104Gs. 

The F-104 was also used for target-towing duties. The target towing equipment consisted of the AERO-35B target mounted on the Danish M/74 adapter. Later the French-made ALKAN/SOULE/SFENA target tow system was bought from the RNeAF. 

Retirement 

Since the TF/F-104Gs supplied under the MAP programme were supposed to be returned to the US once their service in the RDAF was over, the first Danish F-104s to be retired were the CF-104s and CF-104Ds. This way the RDAF could continue to use the TF/F-104Gs operationally and then use the CF-104 and CF-104Ds as sources for spare parts. All CF-104s and CF-104Ds were retired by January 1985, however, due to cracks found in R-756 (one of the MAP aircraft) it was decided that RT-657 was to enter service again. 

The F-104 was eventually retired on 30th April 1986, marked with a 5-ship flyby over Aalborg AB. The TF/F-104Gs supplied under the MAP programme were all returned to the US. Some were later passed on to the Republic of China Air Force, while the F-104G with cracks (R-756) were handed over to the Midland Air Museum in the UK.  

© J. Jensen 2007

This is my Danish Dynamite, a 1/72 scale  Danish Draken built from parts from all over the world.
The kit was bought directly in Japan, the decals came from Sweden, the resin part from Austria, the photoetching parts from Czech Republic and finally the nose cone from Argentina thanks to my friend Silvio.

Danish Dynamite 

Last year I wanted to build up a Danish RF-35 Draken but the Hasegawa kit needed lot of modifications. The first item I found was the decal sheet, it is not easy to find Danish Air Force decals so when I found it I bought it even if I knew it would not be easy to have a full Danish Draken.
By chance I found that IPMS Austria was making a resin set for the Draken. Yes it was for the Austrian Drakens but as you know the Austrian bought all RWR and self defence systems from the Danes when the F-35 was retired from the Danish AF. So with this little resin kit I found the RWR antenna to go on the top of the fin and the jet nozzle with the appropriate flare dispensers. The resin parts fit to the Hasegawa kit quite well.

Danish Dynamite 

I used the Eduard set to add something  to the cockpit and to open the air brakes (a time consuming exercise).The peculiar F-35 wing tip was scratch-built, the pyramid shape antennae were not in the resin kit so I made them from plastcard and putty using as a reference the scheme in the decals instruction sheet and lots of photos of the real thing.
But I still could not make a real RF-35 because I needed the recce-nose instead of the radar nose that you can find in the Hasegawa box.
I could not scratch-build the whole nose so I asked on web if someone could find a replacement recce-nose from a Heller Draken. The answer came from the other side of the world, and a month later a full Heller (Modelex) Draken came from Argentina.
The day after I checked the new nose on my kit and found that it fit quite well.

Danish Dynamite

So the model was completed, I added a fuel tank from an Italeri JAS-39 kit and more pylons on the wings from other Hasegawa Draken. The arresting hook was made from sprue and the pitot tube from a pin worked with a motor tool to make it into a conical shape.

Danish Dynamite

So went out my Danish RF-35.

Pierpaolo Maglio