The aircraft
Built by Mitsubishi, construction number 683B-3087 or model number 683-07-14 received the serial number 46-8587. Delivered on the 30th of April 1964, the aircraft was assigned to the 第201飛行隊 (201st Tactical Fighter Squadron) based at Chitose. 6 years after delivery the aircraft swapped from the 201st to the 202nd based at Kokudan where it stayed until the squadron converted to the F-15J models 2 year after.


Worthy of mention is that the aircraft was also shortly shared between the 202nd and 204th during its last year of service before retirement. During its time with the 202nd the aircraft carried a variation of schemes, most noteworthy were 2 ACM meeting schemes in1980 and 1981. The first was a top dark blue and bottom light blue version as seen here, while the latter was a 2 tone grey camouflage pattern.


In December 1982 was delivered to the second Supply depot near Gifu air base where it was put in long term storage. The nose section of the aircraft shortly resurfaced in 2002 in Tokyo, but after this brief resurface the aircraft has not been seen again since February 2003 and was most likely unceremoniously scrapped.


The F-104J Eiko with the JASDF
After Lockheed had established a foothold in Japan with their T-33 Shooting start trainer, the company presented their F-104 Starfighter in response to a sales competition where the JASDF was looking for a successor to its F-86 fleet. In response to the ever increasing Soviet bomber treath the JASDF was mostly interested in fighters which were able to meet a number of requirements which included Mach 2 capability, a combat range of 380km, max climb of 18,000m and the ability to reach an altitude of 15,500m in 8 minutes or less. In response Lockheed put forward their F-104 against other options like the F-100, N-156F (later dubbed F-5 ) and F-102.


After some debate the remodeled F-104G model for Japan (dubbed the F-104J and a two-seater version called F-104DJ) were accepted, which the first deliveries being made in 1963. In total the JASDF operated 180 J models and 20 DJ models, of which were made up from 3 Lockheed models that were imported, 17 to be assembled by Mitsubishi using Lockheed parts and all others produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in their entirety. By 1986 all JASDF F-104 had been retired in light of the introduction of the F-15J within the JASDF.







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