DEFENDING the 38th Parallel

COLD WAR F-94 STARFIRE

Warren E Thompson chronicles the career of the F-94 in the Korean War

Capt John R Phillips (left) and 1st Lt Billy J Atto claimed the first confirmed MiG-15 kill for the 319th FIS on October 5, 1953. JOHN PHILLIPS
With dive brakes extended, this trio of 319th FIS F-94Bs are seen on approach to Suwon Air Base (K-13) in late 1952. THOMPSON COLLECTION

Lockheed’s F-94 Starfire was developed from its earlier twin-seat T-33 Shooting Star in the late 1940s and made its first flight in April 1949. The jet age was well under way by that time, with the single-seat F-80 and F9F Panther already in mass production. The Starfire, which had a two-seat format inherited from the T-33, was the first operational USAF fighter equipped with an afterburner, and the first all-weather jet to enter combat in the Korean War. In arming the Starfire, the manufacturer enlarged the nose area to accommodate the radar and four .50 cal guns.

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