Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter ´FX-94´, serial 683-9164, formerly the Belgian Air Force, now displayed on a pole at Starfighter Rotonde in Peer, Belgium (a roundabout at crossing of N73 and N748).

Belgium acquired the first Starfighters in 1963, both F-104G combat variant and TF-104G trainers. Just the first aeroplanes were manufactured by Lockheed, most of the Belgian F-104 were produced by SABCA at Gosselies (where also some F-104G for Luftwaffe were made). In total, 101 F-104G and 12 TF-104G were delivered. All combat aircraft were marked with tactical numbers FX-1 to FX-100, while TF-104s were marked FC-01 to FC-12.

The Belgian Starfighters were split between 1st Wing at Beauvechain (349th and 350th Squadron) and 10th Wing at Kleine-Brogel (23rd and 31st Squadron) – each of them operating 40 aeroplanes. The remaining 20 combat aircraft (FX-81 to FX-100) were stored at Koksijde, as a war operational reserve.

The Belgian Air Force operated the Starfighters as both fighter-bombers (10th Wing) and interceptors (1st Wing). Regrettably, being one of the F-104 operators that recorded the significant accident rate, even bigger than Germany. Forty one of Belgian F-104s were lost between 1963 and 1983, including three TF-104s. One of Starfighters crashed already before being officially taken over by the Belgian Air Force, and was later replaced by a new aircraft.

In the early 1980s, the Belgian Starfighters were withdrawn from the active service. Approximately 40 aircraft were sold to Taiwan and Turkey, some scrapped, but a remarkable number of F-104s survived and can be still found in Belgian museums or air bases.

The Starfighter FX-94 was among the aircraft stored in Koksijde air base and spent its entire service as a reserve aircraft, never being operationally used. Some sources claim that FX-94 actually never flew, being stored all that time, and only sometimes pulled-out from hangar during some special events. However, a few photos can be found, showing this aircraft at other location in Belgium – if those captions are true, it means FX-94 could occasionally fly.

After being retired from the Belgian Air Force, FX-94 appeared at Overboleare airfield. The usual Belgian camouflage pattern was lost, and this fighter was painted in a new, all-blue livery. It seemed that Starfighter FX-94 will eventually be scrapped soon, but fortunately this aircraft finally met a better fate.

In 2004, one great idea was born – as a joint initiative of Kleine-Brogel air base and a nearby city of Peer. The goal was to place a retired aircraft at a crossing in Peer, in this way emphasizing the good relationship between the city and the base. And F-104G Starfighter ´FX-94´ seemed to be just the perfect aircraft for this.

In October 2004, a renovated FX-94 – now painted in silver, following the initial colour of Belgian Starfighters – was presented to public at Kleine-Brogel air base during a special commemorating event. A special guest arrived from Italy, all-red ´Ducati Starfighter 999´, being the last operational F-104S of the Italian Air Force and last operational Starfighter in Europe.

A few weeks later, on 16th November, FX-94 was installed on a six meter high pole, at a roundabout in Peer, proudly pointing the direction to the Kleine-Brogel air base.