Aeritalia F-104S Starfighter - Aeronautica Militare Italiana
The Aeritalia F-104S Starfighter was a licensed production Italian version of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter which served in the Italian Air Force (AMI, Aeronautica Militare Italiana), and was the AMI's mainstay from the late 1960s until the beginning of the 21st Century. The F-104S was the final development of the Starfighter line. Derived from Lockheed's design studies on a "Super Starfighter", the F-104S was one of the most capable of the F-104 series, and destined to be the last in service worldwide. The last Italian Starfighter was decommissioned in 2004, after the type had flown around a million flying hours in a total of over 40 years of service. The F-104S was designed to carry AIM-7 Sparrow missiles (while deleting the Vulcan gun). In the attack role, the F-104S had nine hardpoints, and could carry up to seven 227 kg (500 lb) or 340 kg (750 lb) bombs; an improvement over the F-104G which could hold only half that payload on five hardpoints, two of which were needed for auxiliary tanks. Theoretically an F-104S could be equipped with four or five bombs, two tanks and two AIM-9s, becoming a dual-role aircraft. Turkey was the only other customer for the Aeritalia F-104S. The initial order was placed in 1974, with the first of 18 examples entering service by December 1974.
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