top of page

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter...


...A History, from Pen & Sword



Title: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

Author: Martin W. Bowman

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-47386-326-2


One of the famous 'Century' series of US built jets, the F-104 remains one of my favourites. A popular description I always think of was that it was a bit like a rocket with stub wings on the side. The Starfighter was never a dogfighter but a high speed interceptor it certainly was. Despite a reputation for a number of fatal accidents it proved to have a long service life and a fair number of export customers. That accident reputation is well illustrated with a few common jokes (?) about its' service with the Luftwaffe to launch chapter 4, 'The Widowmaker'. 

The development and service history is all well described, and brought to life by many accounts from veterans who flew the aircraft while it served in so many air arms. Countries include the USAF as well as air forces including Germany, Canada, Belgium, Norway, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Pakistan, Jordan and Japan. With some of these operators the Starfighter saw combat it went through a number of experimental variations, and this included with NASA, who also used it as a 'chase' plane. All the way the story of the F-104 is illustrated by a large number of excellent photos, some in black & white but many in colour. One of these includes an accident when an F-104 exploded mid-air, having collided with the Valkyrie prototype, and which also resulted in the loss of the Valkyrie. Other less dramatic images will please many aircraft modellers as the variety of colour schemes, some in bare metal and others in camouflage as well as the well known, yet bright Tiger scheme of the Canadian Starfighter as well.


I have to say that when I see a new book from author Martin Bowman I am always confident it will be good. This new book on the Starfighter lived up to my expectations and this is excellent.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.


bottom of page