Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single engine attack aircraft that was introduced as a supersonic interceptor aircraft, it later became an attack aircraft.
In 1953 after the Korean War, Lockheed's secretive department (Skunk Works) started to make studies for a lightweight, supersonic fighter for the United Stated Airforce that could outperform the Russian Migs. Later it was also widely used by it’s allies and manufactured in five other NATO countries.
The chief designer (Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson) created a design that looked like a rocket. With the miniscule flimsy wings and a super streamlined canopy, it looked like a manned missile.In 1954 the first prototype (XF-104) was made and Lockheed started doing test flights. In 1958 the USAF started using the F-104A.
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter set the speed record in 1958 of 1,404.19 mph, and the height record of 103,396 feet in 1959. In the late 1980's, most of the F-104's were to be replaced by more modern types, of which the General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin F-16 is the most prominent. The Italian Air Force flew the Starfighter in a beefed up version, with updated weapons systems, even in the NATO campaign against Serbia in 1999. The last Italian AMI (Aeronautica Militare) Starfighter was retired from operational services in the summer of 2004, making the operational life span of the type to go beyond 45 years.