First Air Force Jet with an Afterburner
Lockheed’s F-94 Starfire was the first US jet with an afterburner developed as part of the first generation of jet aircraft for the United States Air Force. It adopted several development features from the twin-seat Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, the F-94 Starfire was created at the end of the 1940s to be an all-weather day and night interceptor.
Entering service in May 1950 under the Air Defense Command, the plane took the piston-engine F-82 Twin Mustang’s place in the defense arsenal. Its specific mission would be to target the emerging threat posed by the Soviet’s nuclear-armed Tupolev Tu-4 bomber, which had been reversed engineered from the U.S.’s B-29 Superfortress.
Aside from being the first to feature an afterburner, the Starfire was the first aircraft of its type to see combat in the Korean War in January of 1953. Despite its success, its operational history was brief once the Northrop F-89 Scorpion and North American F-86D Sabre replaced it by mid-1950…
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