Just for fun F-104 vs USS Enterprise

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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tincansailor

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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 13:22

A few weeks ago I saw the Original Star Trek episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" The Enterprise is thrown back in time to 1968. She falls into the upper atmosphere over Nebraska. An F-104 Star Fighter is sent up to intercept this large fast moving UFO. The F-104 closes to about 10-20,000 ft. below the Enterprise before she starts to pull away. The sky is still blue, and there is no reference to this being a rocket powered version, it seems to be just the standard interceptor model.

How high could an F-104 of that era climb, and what kind of speed could she maintain at her top service ceiling? The Enterprise crew was worried that the F-104 might have nuclear tipped missiles that could damage her. Did the F-104 have nuclear weapons as standard armament at this time? If so could they have hit a target flying that much higher? Assuming the Enterprise was pulling away at several Mach (The pilot said the UFO was pulling away fast, and would be gone in less then 2 minutes) could the missile catch the Enterprise? Would the F-106 have a better chance?

If the Enterprise had fallen over Russia in 1968 what would they have sent up? Would it be more likely they would have used SA-2 missiles? If they appeared over Moscow would they have used their large nuclear tipped ABM? At what altitude could they have hit a target? Could they hit a target the size of an aircraft carrier if it moving up and away at several Mach? Remember that what the crew of the Enterprise thought was slow would be blinding speed to us.

The Enterprise just wasn't built to fly in an atmosphere. It's shields can deflect radar, but she's hardly stealthy. You can see her from the ground even in orbit. She's so big you could make out her shape using a pair of binoculars. Live long and proper Cold War Aircraft buffs.
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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 14:34

tincansailor wrote:How high could an F-104 of that era climb, and what kind of speed could she maintain at her top service ceiling?

Best answered with this quote
"I called Miami Center and got clearance to accelerate for the M2.0 climb on up to FL730. We went into afterburner, my throttle back a bit in AB to give Paul a little slack out there in loose wing. Arriving at 2.0 fairly quickly, about 2 minutes, we began the climb, maintaining 2.0. We leveled at 73000 on the altimeter and eased back to about 3/4 AB to maintain 310 IAS, on the good side of max L/D during the 30 degree banked turn towards Homestead."

tincansailor wrote:The Enterprise crew was worried that the F-104 might have nuclear tipped missiles that could damage her. Did the F-104 have nuclear weapons as standard armament at this time?

Don't think so, no.

tincansailor wrote:If so could they have hit a target flying that much higher? Assuming the Enterprise was pulling away at several Mach (The pilot said the UFO was pulling away fast, and would be gone in less then 2 minutes) could the missile catch the Enterprise?

Missiles of the age were not that fast (M4+), at least not for long.

tincansailor wrote:Would the F-106 have a better chance?

Only because it had nuclear AAMs. The F-106 may be officially the fastest single engine jet ever but unofficially the Canadians got theirs up to ~2.6M IIRC. Never bet against a J79 unless the competition has J58s.
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durahawk

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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 14:55

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
tincansailor wrote:The Enterprise crew was worried that the F-104 might have nuclear tipped missiles that could damage her. Did the F-104 have nuclear weapons as standard armament at this time?

Don't think so, no.

Actually the F-104 was capable of carrying the Genie, but I doubt it was a standard load out.
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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 15:56

tincansailor wrote:A few weeks ago I saw the Original Star Trek episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" The Enterprise is thrown back in time to 1968. She falls into the upper atmosphere over Nebraska. An F-104 Star Fighter is sent up to intercept this large fast moving UFO. The F-104 closes to about 10-20,000 ft. below the Enterprise before she starts to pull away. The sky is still blue, and there is no reference to this being a rocket powered version, it seems to be just the standard interceptor model.

How high could an F-104 of that era climb, and what kind of speed could she maintain at her top service ceiling? The Enterprise crew was worried that the F-104 might have nuclear tipped missiles that could damage her. Did the F-104 have nuclear weapons as standard armament at this time? If so could they have hit a target flying that much higher? Assuming the Enterprise was pulling away at several Mach (The pilot said the UFO was pulling away fast, and would be gone in less then 2 minutes) could the missile catch the Enterprise? Would the F-106 have a better chance?

If the Enterprise had fallen over Russia in 1968 what would they have sent up? Would it be more likely they would have used SA-2 missiles? If they appeared over Moscow would they have used their large nuclear tipped ABM? At what altitude could they have hit a target? Could they hit a target the size of an aircraft carrier if it moving up and away at several Mach? Remember that what the crew of the Enterprise thought was slow would be blinding speed to us.

The Enterprise just wasn't built to fly in an atmosphere. It's shields can deflect radar, but she's hardly stealthy. You can see her from the ground even in orbit. She's so big you could make out her shape using a pair of binoculars. Live long and proper Cold War Aircraft buffs.



One of my favorite all time Star Trek episodes. The first time I saw it as a little kid I practically jumped up and started clapping and doing a dance like a little girl. :lol:
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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 15:58

durahawk wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
tincansailor wrote:The Enterprise crew was worried that the F-104 might have nuclear tipped missiles that could damage her. Did the F-104 have nuclear weapons as standard armament at this time?

Don't think so, no.

Actually the F-104 was capable of carrying the Genie, but I doubt it was a standard load out.


The only time an F-104 carried a Genie was for a series of one-off tests. No service aircraft could. (There's a video of the Genie-launching F-104 on Youtube.)
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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 16:40

Huh, sure enough. I got to learn something today, thanks for the correction fellas.

"A trapeze launcher was fitted beneath a Starfighter, but it was never carried in operational service."
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Unread post25 Feb 2016, 17:14

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Huh, sure enough. I got to learn something today, thanks for the correction fellas.

"A trapeze launcher was fitted beneath a Starfighter, but it was never carried in operational service."


And they launched it from Mach 1.7 and 60,000 feet. :shock:
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Unread post26 Feb 2016, 00:00

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
tincansailor wrote:How high could an F-104 of that era climb, and what kind of speed could she maintain at her top service ceiling?

Best answered with this quote
"I called Miami Center and got clearance to accelerate for the M2.0 climb on up to FL730. We went into afterburner, my throttle back a bit in AB to give Paul a little slack out there in loose wing. Arriving at 2.0 fairly quickly, about 2 minutes, we began the climb, maintaining 2.0. We leveled at 73000 on the altimeter and eased back to about 3/4 AB to maintain 310 IAS, on the good side of max L/D during the 30 degree banked turn towards Homestead."


Where did that quote come from?
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sferrin

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Unread post26 Feb 2016, 00:18

alfakilo wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
tincansailor wrote:How high could an F-104 of that era climb, and what kind of speed could she maintain at her top service ceiling?

Best answered with this quote
"I called Miami Center and got clearance to accelerate for the M2.0 climb on up to FL730. We went into afterburner, my throttle back a bit in AB to give Paul a little slack out there in loose wing. Arriving at 2.0 fairly quickly, about 2 minutes, we began the climb, maintaining 2.0. We leveled at 73000 on the altimeter and eased back to about 3/4 AB to maintain 310 IAS, on the good side of max L/D during the 30 degree banked turn towards Homestead."


Where did that quote come from?



From a pilot who posts here (or used to).

http://www.916-starfighter.de/Zipping%2 ... %20730.htm

http://www.916-starfighter.de/Sounding% ... Zipper.htm
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Unread post01 Mar 2016, 16:20

I had the opportunity to see two privately owned F-104's fly in an airshow..

Is an amazing bird. We also have one on static display at the New England Air Museum. It was the one that hit Mach 2.5 in level flight at I wanna say, 50,000+ feet!

Amazing, especially for the time. My only question is, how much fuel would be left after that kind of sprint? Looking at the airframe, doesn't look like much!
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Unread post01 Mar 2016, 17:23

mixelflick wrote:I had the opportunity to see two privately owned F-104's fly in an airshow..

Is an amazing bird. We also have one on static display at the New England Air Museum. It was the one that hit Mach 2.5 in level flight at I wanna say, 50,000+ feet!

Amazing, especially for the time. My only question is, how much fuel would be left after that kind of sprint? Looking at the airframe, doesn't look like much!


The airframes with the J79-19 were very quick and used much less fuel in acceleration to a given speed than the -3 engines. There are FMs online that can show this kind of data, but rest assured a run all the way to 2.5 would take a significant portion of fuel.
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Unread post02 Mar 2016, 07:09

Thanks for all your replies. So from what I gather from your interesting posts the F-104 could reach at least 73,000 ft. and do better then Mach 2. Is the sky still blue at that altitude? Looking up at the Enterprise which might have been at 90,000 ft. Should the sky's color been more velvet? I also gather a missile would have had a very hard time intercepting the Enterprise because of her altitude and speed advantage. Was the F-106 significantly faster, or higher flying? Someone said the Delta Dart did have nuclear missiles. But even a nuke would have to get within a few thousand feet of the target.

It sounds like any Russian SAMs would have had an even slimmer chance of success. Power's U-2 was hit at around 70,000 ft. At 90,000 ft. and moving at Mach 3 or 4 the Enterprise would have beat them in a walk, (For them). We just don't have any anti-Starship Missiles yet. If you saw the episode you know the Enterprise grabbed the Star Fighter with a Tractor Beam. If a Tractor Beam could do that I'm sure it could swat a missile if need be, but that's a question none of us can really answer. Thanks all.
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Unread post02 Mar 2016, 07:57

tincansailor wrote: Is the sky still blue at that altitude?



kinda....
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Unread post07 Mar 2016, 10:00

geforcerfx wrote:
tincansailor wrote: Is the sky still blue at that altitude?



kinda....


Oh thanks, you reminded me of another point. At that kind of altitude, we're talking about over 70,000 ft. don't pilots need pressure suits? U-2 and SR-71 pilots used them. Did F-104 pilots use them for high altitude missions? The pilot in the episode was wearing a standard flight suit. When they used rocket powered F-104s for high altitude record breaking attempts they did use them. Do MIG-31 pilots use pressure suits? Maybe the only 1968 aircraft that really could have caught the Enterprise would have been the A-12, if we had built and deployed it.
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sferrin

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Unread post08 Mar 2016, 02:46

In those days pressure suits were not uncommon. They seem to be a rarity today.
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