THE 456th FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR SQUADRON

T PROTECTORS OF  S. A. C.

 

 
 

 

The McDonnell F-101A and -C "Voodoo"

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

Developed from the XF-88 penetration fighter, the F-101 originally was designed as a long-range bomber escort for the Strategic Air Command. However, when high-speed, high-altitude jet bombers such as the B-52 entered active service, escort fighters were not needed. Therefore, before production began, the F-101's design was changed to fill both tactical and air defense roles.

The F-101 made its first flight on Sep. 29, 1954. The first production F-101A became operational in May 1957, followed by the F-101C in Sep. 1957 and the F-101B in Jan. 1959. By the time F-101 production ended in March 1961, McDonnell had built 785 Voodoos including 480 F-101Bs, the two-seat, all-weather interceptor used by the Air Defense Command. In the reconnaissance versions, the Voodoo was the world's first supersonic photo-recon aircraft. These RF-101s were used widely for low-altitude photo coverage of missile sites during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and during the late 1960s in Southeast Asia.

This F-101B served with the 18th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Grand Forks AFB, ND., and with the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group, Oregon Air National Guard. It was flown to the Museum in Feb. 1981.

 

SPECIFICATIONS
Span:
39 ft. 8 in.
Length: 71 ft. 1 in.
Height: 18 ft. 0 in.
Weight: 52,400 lbs. max.
Armament: Two AIR-2A rockets plus two AIM-4 guided missiles
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55s of 16,900 lbs. thrust ea. (with afterburner)
Crew: Two
Cost: $1,819,000
Serial number: 58-325
C/N: 697

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed:
1,095 mph.
Cruising speed: 545 mph.
Range: 1,754 miles
Service Ceiling: 52,100 ft.

 

The F-101 lineage included several versions: low-altitude fighter-bomber, photo reconnaissance, two-seat interceptor and transition trainer. To accelerate production, no prototypes were built, the first Voodoo, an F-101A, made its initial flight on September 29, 1954. When production ended in March 1961, nearly 800 Voodoos had been built. Development of the unarmed RF-101, the world's first supersonic photo-recon aircraft, began in 1956 while 35 RF-101As and 166 RF-101Cs were produced, many earlier single-seat Voodoos were converted to the reconnaissance configuration.

The RF-101C on display participated in "Operation Sun Run," a high-speed transcontinental flight on November 26, 1957. Using air-to-air refueling, a team of Voodoos set nonstop speed records from Los Angeles to New York City and return.

Click on Picture to enlarge

T.O. 1F-101A-1 Airplane: The F-101A and F-101C are single place supersonic fighters built by McDonnell Aircraft. The RF-101G and RF-101H are single place, supersonic, long range photo-reconnaissance airplanes modified from F-101A and F-101C airplanes by Lockheed Aircraft Service Company. Their appearance is characterized by thin, short, swept wings with triangular intake ducts in the wing roots, and swept back empennage. The horizontal stabilizer is a one-piece unit mounted high on the vertical stabilizer. The ailerons, mounted on the outer trailing edge of the wings, and the empennage control surfaces, operate through irreversible hydraulic systems which produce required control surface deflections. Aerodynamic feel is simulated by an artificial feel system.

Hydraulically operated, electrically actuated wing flaps, mounted inboard of the ailerons, are deployed through a 50-degree range. Panel type speed brakes are installed on the aft portion of the fuselage and may be utilized at all speeds. The airplanes incorporate both the flying boom and probe and drogue air refueling capabilities plus the single-point ground refueling system. The pressurized cockpit is enclosed by a clam-shell canopy. A drag chute contained in the empennage significantly reduces landing roll distances.

 

TYPE Number built/Converted Remarks
XF-88
F-101A
F-101C
RF-101G
RF-101H
2
77
47
29 (cv)
32 (cv)
Penetration ftr.
Strategic fighter
Imp. F-101A
Conv. F-101A
Conv. F-101C

SPECIFICATIONS (F-101A--Block 25 and later)
Span: 39 ft. 8 in.
Length: 67 ft. 5 in. (67 ft. 11 in. RF-101G/H)
Height: 18 ft. 0 in.
Weight: 43,020 lbs. ramp gross weight, blocks 25 through 35, 49,070 lbs. ramp gross weight with two full external tanks. (for blocks 40 through 55 weights are 43,970 and 50,270 lbs.)
Armament: Three automatic firing M-39 20mm guns. Two guns are on the left side of the airplane and one is located on the lower right side of the airplane. An external store can be carried on a removable pylon mounted on the underside of the fuselage. An automatic lead computing sight, coupled with a radar ranging system, is provided for accurate gun firing. Bombing equipment includes the LABS (Low Altitude Bombing System) and the LADD (Low Angle Drogue Delivery) system. Additional features include provisions for DIRECT (manual) bomb release. (T.O 1F-101A-1)
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-13 rated at approximately 10,200 lbs. sea level static Military thrust, and at approximately 15,000 lbs. Maximum thrust (with afterburner).

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 1,070 mph/870 knots
Cruising speed: 550 mph/480 knots at 35,000 ft.
Range: Approximately 2,140 nautical miles using a cruise-climb profile: initial: 33,600 ft.; final: 43,100 ft.; .83 Mach number (480 knots TAS) consuming 20,475 lbs. of fuel in 4 hrs. 25 min. at 49,249 lb. gross takeoff weight with two 450 gal. drop tanks which are dropped when empty. (1,620 nm. without ext. tanks. and 1,950 nm. with drop tanks but not dropped when empty). Ref: T.O. 1F-101A-1
Service Ceiling: 50,300 ft.
Combat range: 690 nm.

 

Curtest of the US Air Force Museum

 

The F-101 Ejection Seat

 

 

The McDonnell F-101 "Voodoo"

BY JOE BAUGER

 

The F-101 A

 

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The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo twin-engine fighter was originally designed as a long range escort fighter to accompany the bombers of the Strategic Air Command if they were ever called upon to carry out their mission of nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. The Voodoo was destined never to serve in this particular role--it eventually emerged as a tactical reconnaissance aircraft, as a long-range interceptor, and as a nuclear strike aircraft. It was the first production fighter capable of exceeding 1000 mph in level flight. Only the reconnaissance version ever saw combat, flying the fastest combat missions ever flown (with the exception of the SR-71) during flights over North Vietnam. However, it was not without its flaws--in all its versions, the Voodoo had a tendency to pitch up into a nose-high attitude without warning, a problem which was caused by the way in which air flowed over its wings and under its high tail.

The earlier McDonnell F-88 escort fighter had been unsuccessful in attracting any production orders, since the Air Force had assumed that the high performance of the B-47 and B-52 jet bombers would make escort fighters unnecessary in any future conflict. However, during the Korean War, the USAF had found that the Republic F-84 Thunderjet fighters escorting streams of B-29 bombers attacking targets along the Yalu River in North Korea were incapable of protecting their charges against attacks by the faster MiG 15. The more capable F-86 Sabre lacked the range and endurance to provide effective escort. In order to meet this critical need for an effective long-range escort fighter, the USAF had originally planned on using the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. However, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) also wanted a much longer-range escort fighter, one with sufficient range to accompany the Convair B-36 intercontinental bomber on its missions. In February 1951, the USAF issued a requirement for a fighter to fill this need.

Lockheed, North American, Northrop, Republic, and McDonnell all submitted proposals. Lockheed submitted both the F-90 and the F-94, North American resubmitted the F-93, and Northrop proposed an escort version of the F-89 Scorpion all-weather interceptor. Republic came up with three separate submissions, the F-91 Thunderceptor, the F-84F, plus another version of the F-84F powered by a turboprop engine. As its entry, McDonnell proposed a larger and more powerful version of its XF-88 penetration fighter prototype.

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The McDonnell submission was judged the winner of the competition in May of 1951. In October of 1951, the USAF released fiscal year 1952 funds previously allocated to the F-84F and F-86F program to get McDonnell's proposal into production right away. A program similar to that used in the development of the F-100 Super Sabre was to be employed, one in which the ordinary prototype stage in development would be completely skipped and full production be instituted right from the start. As the initial production aircraft rolled off the line, they would be tested and any changes deemed necessary would be introduced on later aircraft to come off the line. It was hoped that this strategy would get the new fighter into service as quickly as possible. This was a high-risk strategy, one which would give the Air Force a new plane in a hurry if everything went as planned, but one which would risk the high costs and long delays of a lot of in-service modifications should unexpected problems turn up during flight testing. However, considering that the McDonnell proposal was basically a scaled-up XF-88 rather than a truly "new" design, the risks were considered minimal.

On November 30, 1951, the new and improved F-88 was assigned the designation F-101. A Letter of Intent for the development of the McDonnell proposal was issued on January 3, 1952.

In December of 1951, the McDonnell team lead by Edward M. Flesh recommended that the F-101 be powered by a pair of afterburning Allison J71 turbojets. This nearly tripled the thrust of the pair of Westinghouse J34s that had powered the XF-88A, and was twice the thrust of the Westinghouse J46s proposed for the production F-88.

However, the Air Force thought that even this additional power was still not enough, and was in favor of using a pair of even more powerful Pratt & Whitney J57 afterburning engines. Unfortunately, the use of the more powerful J57 engines required some major design changes. Although the engines were to be placed in the same location as they were in the XF-88, the air intakes in the wing roots had to be redesigned and considerably enlarged to accommodate the increased air flow requirements. Since considerably more fuel had to be carried, the fuselage had to be lengthened and widened, increasing the internal fuel capacity more than threefold (2341 versus 734 US gallons). Provisions were made for the fitting of a pair of 450-gallon external tanks.

As compared to the XF-88, the all-movable tail-plane was moved almost to the top of the vertical tail. The wing area was increased from 350 to 368 square feet, obtained by increasing the chord of the inboard half of each wing panel. The thickness of the wing was reduced, and the ailerons were moved further inboard.

The pressurized cockpit was enclosed by a clamshell-type cockpit canopy, and the pilot was provided with an ejector seat. Rear fuselage airbrakes and a braking parachute were fitted in order to enable the plane to land on shorter runways.

Provisions were made to accommodate both types of flight re-fuelling systems in use by the USAF. A retractable fuelling probe was to be mounted in front of the cockpit and a re-fuelling boom receptacle was to be installed on top of the center fuselage.

The F-101A was to be equipped with APS-54 radar and was to be armed with four 20-mm cannon as well as three Falcon air-to-air missiles and 12 unguided rockets. For ferrying purposes, the ammunition for the four 20-mm cannon could be replaced by a single 226-gallon auxiliary fuel tank.

The mockup was inspected in July of 1952. On May 28, 1953, the USAF issued an initial contract for 39 F-101As. No prototypes were specified, since the usual prototype stage was being skipped altogether.

The coming of peace in Korea in July of 1953 removed some of the sense of urgency connected with the F-101 program. By this time, the USAF had changed its mind and wanted McDonnell to redesign the aircraft so that it could not only carry out the originally-planned long-range escort mission but could also carry out nuclear strike missions. In May of 1954, the Air Force got cold feet about the wisdom of going directly into production with the F-101A and withdrew its authorization to proceed with quantity production and decided to wait until Category II flight tests could be carried out and all the required changes could be made. The target date for the completion of these tests was set for sometime in March of 1955.

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The first F-101A (53-2418) was delivered in August of 1954, right on schedule. After completing some ground trials in St. Louis, it was shipped out to Edwards AFB. It took off on its maiden flight on September 29, 1954, McDonnell test pilot Robert C. Little being at the controls. He reached Mach 0.9 at 35,000 feet. Less than a month later, maximum speed had progressively been pushed to Mach 1.4.

In the meantime, the USAF had changed its mind yet again about its requirements. They now concluded that the range of the F-101A, impressive as it was, was not nearly large enough to be able to escort SAC's bombers all the way to the target. Consequently, the Strategic Air Command no longer believed in the viability of the F-101 concept and lost any interest in the aircraft as an escort fighter. Ordinarily, this would have been the end of the line for the F-101A project, and the F-101 would have been consigned to oblivion along with its XF-88 predecessor. Fortunately, the Tactical Air Command (TAC) saw the potential of the aircraft as a nuclear-armed fighter-bomber and requested that the F-101A be acquired by them under the aegis of Weapon System WS-105A. This designation corresponded to a short-lived Pentagon fad of assigning a "WS" number to its ships, tanks, and aircraft. Consequently, the F-101A that finally emerged became a hybrid aircraft, fitted with APS-54 radar and a MA-7 fire-control system for the air-to-air role, and a LABS (Low-Altitude Bombing System) for the delivery of nuclear bombs.

On October 28, 1954, the Air Force lifted its production hold order, permitting McDonnell to proceed with full-scale production. Three other F-101As were accepted before the end of 1954. They immediately began to undergo Category I flight tests. Category II flight tests began in January of 1955, and at this time, problems appeared with engine compressor stall. A redesign of the internal intake layout and engine compressor modifications cleared up these problems.

By mid-1956 the continued testing of the 29 F-101As which had been accepted by the USAF up to that time had turned up a number of structural, propulsion, aerodynamic, and armament problems. Perhaps the most serious of these was a tendency of the aircraft to pitch-up, a problem which was never fully corrected even after much effort. Brigadier General Robin Olds, who commanded a Voodoo wing, reported that it did not take very much to make a F-101A suddenly and without warning to go into pitch-up, even while cruising. The angle of attack needed to achieve lift with full flaps and drop tanks was very close to the pitch-up stall point, where the flow of air over the wings created a down flow over the tail slab. On January 10, 1956, Major Lonnie R. Moore, a Korean War ace with 10 kills to his credit, was killed in a F-101A pitch-up mishap at Eglin AFB, Florida.

Citing numerous still-unsolved problems with the F-101, in May of 1956 the USAF ordered that production be halted yet again. Although the hold order did not last very long, F-101A production remained limited to only eight airplanes per month throughout most of the remainder of 1956. During this period, McDonnell spent most of its time in modifying existing F-101As rather than in building new ones. Some 300 USAF-recommended changes were incorporated, plus some 2000 company-devised improvements.

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It took a long time for McDonnell to develop any sort of cure for the pitch-up problem. McDonnell fitted an active inhibitor which helped to clear up the pitch-up problem, at least partially. Satisfied with the active inhibitor installed by McDonnell, the Air Force finally rescinded its May production restrictions on November 26, 1956. Nevertheless, the pitch-up problem was never completely cured, and remained a nuisance throughout the Voodoo's service life. Also never resolved was a problem encountered in retracting the forward-folding nose wheel--beyond a speed of about 90 mph, it simply would not go up.

The F-101A was armed with four 20-mm cannon and could carry a single 1620 lb or 3271-lb "special store", i.e., a nuclear bomb. The F-101As were equipped with the MA-7 fire control system as well with the LABS (Low-altitude Bombing System) for toss-release of their nuclear bombs. The F-101A could not carry or deliver conventional bombs.

The first Voodoo delivered to an operational unit was a F-101A which reached the 27th Strategic Fighter Wing at Bergstrom AFB on May 2, 1957. The last of 77 F-101As was delivered on November 21, 1957. Of the 77 F-101As accepted, only 50 of them actually reached operational units. The rest were used for experimental and test purposes to iron out various bugs and never attained actual service.

On July 1, 1957, the 27th Strategic Fighter Wing was transferred to the Tactical Air Command and became the 27th Fighter-Bomber Wing. The Wing had previously operated the F-84F Thunderstreak. The F-101A was assigned the mission of nuclear strike, carrying a single nuclear bomb on its under fuselage centerline.

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On September 25, 1958, an F-101A flew 1896 miles between Carswell AFB in Texas to Bermuda, completing the longest nonstop/non-refueled flight yet accomplished in a Century Series fighter.

Once the problem with the tendency to pitch-up had been addressed by the installation of an active inhibitor, the F-101A established an excellent safety record. In fact, the F-101A had the lowest first-year accident rate of any operational fighter in Air Force history.

The F-101A began leaving the USAF inventory in 1965-66, when 27 of them were transferred to the Air National Guard. By mid-1970, accidents, transfers, cannibalizations, and conversions had whittled down the USAF's F-101A fleet to only a couple of planes.

The ninth F-101A (53-2426) was bailed to Pratt & Whitney to serve as a test bed for the more powerful J57-P-55 engines planned for the F-101B interceptor. It was given the designation JF-101A, the "J" prefix indicating a temporary change of configuration for test purposes. The new engine installations offered an afterburning thrust of 16,000 pounds, and featured a large extension of the jet-pipe to accommodate the longer afterburner section. Additional air scoops were installed underneath the rear fuselage for afterburner cooling. The JF-101A was used by Major Adrian E. Drew to set a new absolute world speed record of 1207.6 mph on December 12, 1957, taking the record away from the British Fairey Delta FD-2.

The first F-101A was bailed to General Electric in 1958 as a test-bed for the J79-GE-1 turbojet. The designation NF-101A was assigned to this modification, the N prefix indicating a permanent change in configuration for test purposes. This aircraft was test flown with two J79s in 1958-59 before being retired to Amarillo AFB in Texas as a ground maintenance trainer.

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Following their removal from active USAF service in 1965, twenty-nine ex-USAF F-101As (serial numbers 54-1445, 1449, 1451, 1452, 1453, 1454, 1455, 1457, 1459, 1460, 1461, 1462, 1463, 1464, 1466, 1468, 1469, 1470, 1472, 1473, 1475, 1476, 1477, 1479, 1481, 1482, 1484, and 1485, plus two others whose serials I don't know) were modified by Lockheed Aircraft Service Company of Ontario, California to serve as unarmed reconnaissance aircraft by the Air National Guard. The armament was removed and new nose cones housing cameras were installed. These aircraft were re-designated RF-101G. As compared to the RF-101A dedicated photo-reconnaissance version of the F-101A, the RF-101G had a shorter and broader nose. Along with the RF-101H (an equivalent conversion of the F-101C), they served with the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Arkansas ANG, with the 165th TRS of the Kentucky ANG, and the 192nd TRS of the Nevada ANG. Beginning in 1970, these aircraft were supplemented by RF-101Cs retired from active USAF stocks. The last reconnaissance Voodoos were withdrawn from ANG service in 1979.

 

Serials of F-101A:

53-2418/2422		McDonnell F-101A-1-MC Voodoo
				2418,2421/2425,2427 converted to JF-101A
53-2423/2430		McDonnell F-101A-5-MC Voodoo
53-2431/2436		McDonnell F-101A-10-MC Voodoo
53-2437/2446		McDonnell F-101A-15-MC Voodoo
54-1438/1443		McDonnell F-101A-20-MC Voodoo
54-1444/1452		McDonnell F-101A-25-MC Voodoo
				1445 converted to RF-101G
				1449 converted to RF-101G
				1451,1452 converted to RF-101G
54-1453/1465		McDonnell F-101A-30-MC Voodoo
				1453/1455 converted to RF-101G
				1457 converted to RF-101G
				1459/1464 converted to RF-101G
54-1466/1485		McDonnell F-101A-35-MC Voodoo
				1466 converted to RF-101G
				1468 converted to RF-101G
				1470 converted to RF-101G
				1472,1473 converted to RF-101G 
				1475/1477 converted to RF-101G 
				1479 converted to RF-101G
				1481,1482 converted to RF-101G 
				1484,1485 converted to RF-101G 

Specification of the F-101A:

Engine: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, 10,200 lb.s.t. dry and 15,000 lb.s.t. with afterburner. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 67 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Performance: Maximum speed 1009 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 44,100 feet/min. Service ceiling 55,800 feet, combat ceiling 49,450 feet. Normal range 1900 miles, maximum range 2925 miles. Weights: 24,970 pounds empty, 48,120 pounds gross, 39,495 pounds combat weight, 50,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Fuel: Maximum internal fuel load was 2341 US gallons. A total of three under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 3467 US gallons. Armament: Four 20-mm Pontiac M-39 cannon in the nose with 200 rpg. A single "special store" (i.e., nuclear bomb) could be carried on the under fuselage centerline.


 

The RF-101 A

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

Back in January of 1953, the USAF had asked McDonnell to develop an unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F-101A as a possible replacement for the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash. This work was initiated under Weapons System WS-105L.

While under construction, the 16th and 17th F-101A airframes (54-149 and 54-150) were set aside for conversion to unarmed photographic reconnaissance configuration under the designation YRF-101A. They retained the J57-P-13 engines of the fighter-bomber version but had a redesigned and longer nose housing four cameras designed for low-altitude photography. In addition, two high-altitude cameras were mounted behind the cockpit in place of the ammunition boxes of the fighter variant. The dual-mode in-flight re-fuelling system of the fighter version was retained, but the internal fuel tank arrangement was revised slightly resulting in a slightly reduced fuel capacity of 2250 gallons. The first YRF-101A flew on June 30, 1955.

Thirty-five production versions were built under the designation RF-101A. The RF-101A became the USAF's first supersonic photographic reconnaissance aircraft. The first RF-101A was delivered to the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB in South Carolina on May 6, 1957 as a replacement for the subsonic RF-84F. The last RF-101A machines were delivered in October of 1957. Following the delivery of the 35th RF-101A, production switched over to the RF-101C version, 166 examples of which were built.

The RF-101A was compatible with both types of midair re-fuelling that were in use at the time. There was a retractable re-fuelling probe in the nose to engage the probe-and-drogue system carried by the KB-50J, and a receptacle behind the pilot's cockpit to accept the flying boom of the KC-97 and KC-135.

The photographic cameras carried by the RF-101A consisted of a long focal-length Fairchild KA-1 framing camera, one vertical and two side oblique Fairchild KA-2 framing cameras, and one CAI KA-18 strip camera. The nose camera system had a battery-powered elevator to lower the cameras to retrieve the film packs. When the cameras were not installed, the wedge-shaped nose provided excess stowage space for cargo or personal effects.

Since the camera equipment was initially quite scarce or even completely unavailable, many of these early RF-101As were initially delivered without a full set of cameras, which severely limited their picture-taking capability. Gradually, however, this equipment was eventually delivered and installed and the RF-101As were finally made fully capable of carrying out their primary missions.

On November 27, 1957, four RF-101As undertook *Operation Sun-Run* and set several new transcontinental speed records. They took off from Ontario, California and flew to McGuire AFB in New Jersey, being re-fuelled in flight by KC-135As. Two of the aircraft landed at McGuire, while the other two flew back to California and landed at March AFB. In the flight, 1st Lieut Gustav Klatt set an new eastbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 7 minutes 43 seconds (average speed of 781.7 mph) and Captain Robert Sweet set a new westbound coast-to-coast record of 3 hours 36 minutes, 33 seconds (average speed of 677.7 mph) and set a new Los Angeles->New York->Los Angeles round trip record of 6 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds (average speed of 721.85 mph). In December of 1957, an RF-101A flew from Tachikawa AFB in Japan to Hickham AFB in Hawaii in 6 hours 3 minutes to set a new point-to-point record.

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action.

The RF-101A, like its fighter stable-mate, logged an excellent safety record with the USAF. The F/RF-101A had the distinction of having the lowest first-year accident of any operational fighter in USAF history.

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Beginning in November 1959, ex-USAF RF-101As were operated by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. A total of eight RF-101As were acquired by the Nationalist Chinese under a project code-named *Operation Boom Town* and were used for routine photographic reconnaissance work as well as for making covert spy flights over the mainland. The mainland government claims to have shot down two of these aircraft. The last CNAF RF-101A was retired in the late 1970s. One CNAF RF-101A (54-1505, Chinese serial number 5660) is preserved in a museum on Taiwan.

One RF-101A was transferred to the Air National Guard in 1966. The RF-101A served briefly with the 154th TRS of the Arkansas Air National Guard and with the 127th TRG of the Michigan ANG.

By June of 1970, accidents, cannibalization, and transfers had depleted the active USAF fleet to 14 RF-101As. Six of these were being used exclusively for training. During the following year, all of the remaining RF-101As were retired from USAF service.

 

Serials of the RF-101A:

54-0149/0150		McDonnell YRF-101A-10-MC Voodoo
54-1494/1496		McDonnell RF-101A-20-MC Voodoo
54-1497/1507		McDonnell RF-101A-25-MC Voodoo
54-1508/1518		McDonnell RF-101A-30-MC Voodoo
54-1519/1521		McDonnell RF-101A-35-MC Voodoo
56-0155/0161		McDonnell RF-101A-35-MC Voodoo

Specification of the RF-101A:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, 10,200 lbs.t. dry and 15,000 lbs.t. with afterburner. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 69 feet 4 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Performance: Maximum speed 1012 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 46,600 feet/min. Service ceiling 55,800 feet, combat ceiling 51,540 feet. Normal range 1100 miles, maximum range 2195 miles. Weights: 25,335 pounds empty, 47,331 pounds gross, 39,495 pounds combat weight, 50,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Maximum internal fuel load was 2250 US gallons. A total of three under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 3150 US gallons. Armament: The RF-101A was unarmed.

 

 

The F-101 B

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

The F-101B was a two-seat all-weather interceptor variant of the Voodoo, and was numerically the most important Voodoo variant, with a total of 479 being built.

Development of an all-weather interceptor version of the Voodoo was first considered as early as the fall of 1952, but was rejected at that time as being too costly. However, in the spring of 1953, the idea of the all-weather interceptor Voodoo was revived again, this time as a long-range interceptor to complement the relatively short-range F-86D. The idea was turned down again, since the Air Force's ultimate long-range interceptor was going to be the Mach-2 Convair F-102B (later re-designated F-106A).

However, late in 1953 delays in the F-102B program caused the Air Force to reconsider its procurement policy for all-weather interceptors. At that time, the subsonic Northrop F-89 Scorpion was the backbone of USAF long-range all-weather interceptor squadrons, with the supersonic Convair F-102A Delta Dagger just beginning to undergo flight testing. The F-102A had always been considered by the USAF as only an interim interceptor, filling in the void until the far more advanced F-102B could be made available. However, the F-102A was at that time experiencing teething problems on its own and it appeared that its introduction into service might be appreciably delayed. In addition, the explosion of a hydrogen bomb by the Soviet Union in August of 1953 made it imperative that the Air Force find something other than the F-102A that would help fill in the gap between the subsonic F-89 Scorpion and the Mach-2+ F-102B. The Air Force Council invited the aircraft industry to submit proposals. The work was to be done under the aegis of Weapons System WS-217A.

Northrop submitted an advanced version of the F-89 Scorpion, North American offered an all-weather interceptor version of the F-100 Super Sabre, and McDonnell proposed an adaptation of the F-101 Voodoo. In June of 1954, the Air Force deemed the McDonnell proposal the best of the three submissions.

Before being awarded a contract, McDonnell had been looking into both single- and two-seat configurations for their interceptor and had explored several alternative power plant installations including General Electric J79s, Pratt & Whitney J57s or J75s, or Wright J67s. In November 1954, a two-seat configuration was finally adopted, and it was decided that the power plants would be a pair of Wright J67s. The Wright J67 was an license-built version of the British Bristol Olympus turbojet which offered a maximum afterburning thrust of 22,000 pounds. The fire control system was to be the Hughes MG-13 system, an improved version of the E-6 system fitted to the Northrop F-89D Scorpion, and the armament was to consist entirely of Hughes Falcon guided missiles equipped with conventional warheads. No internal cannon armament was to be fitted.

The initial go-ahead decision for the interceptor Voodoo was made on February 25, 1955. It was anticipated that the first flight would take place in mid-1956 and that the initial entry into service would be in early 1958. An initial batch of 28 two-seat interceptors was ordered under a Letter of Intent issued on March 3, 1955. On July 12, an official contract increased the fiscal year 1956 order to a total of 96 aircraft. The aircraft seems to have initially been assigned the designation F-109, but the aircraft was officially designated F-101B in August of 1955. A mockup was inspected in September.

However, the Wright J67 engine soon began to encounter serious developmental difficulties, resulting in a delay in the F-101B program. Both McDonnell and the Air Force agreed to switch to a pair of Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55 turbojets fitted with afterburners which were 24 inches longer than those of the J57-P-13 which powered the single-seat Voodoos. These longer afterburners raised maximum thrust rating from 15,000 pounds to 16,900 pounds.

The F-101B retained the center and rear fuselage sections and the wing and tail surfaces of the F/RF-101A. However, it had a revised forward fuselage housing the MG-13 fire control system with automatic search and track mode, a two-seat tandem cockpit with pilot in front and radar operator in the rear, a retractable flight re-fuelling probe in front of the pilot's cockpit, and an all-missile armament. The internal fuel capacity was reduced to 2053 gallons to provide more room for electronic equipment and armament. Since the F-101B was heavier than its single-seat predecessor, it employed larger tires with a beefed-up undercarriage. Bulges had to be installed in the lower gear doors and in the undersides of the fuselage in order to accommodate the larger tires. Armament consisted of four Hughes GAR-1 semi-active radar homing or GAR-2 infrared-homing Falcon missiles carried on and launched from a rotary armament door covering the fuselage bay beneath and behind the rear cockpit. Two missiles were attached to recessed slots on each side of the door. After the first pair of missiles were launched, the door was flipped over, exposing the other pair. Some references claim that the F-101B carried six Falcons rather than four, but these seem to be in error.

The first flight of the two-seat Voodoo (designated NF-101B, serial number 56-232) took place on March 27, 1957, nearly a year later than predicted back in early 1955. Unlike the airframes of production F-101B, which were stressed for 7.33g maneuvers, the airframe of the NF-101B was limited to 6.33 g maneuvers.

In the next two years, about 50 F-101Bs were accepted and subjected to extensive tests before being released for operational service. Category I flight tests were carried out at Edwards AFB, and Category II and III tests were carried out at Eglin AFB and at Otis AFB, respectively. These tests were completed on March 15, 1959.

During flight testing, problems were encountered with the radar operator's position in the rear cockpit. It had been badly designed, and little could be done except to make minor changes. The Hughes MG-13 fire control system turned out to be inadequate, being merely a refinement of the E-6 fire control system fitted to the F-89D and could not effectively control the weapons of an interceptor as fast as the F-101B. A proposal to replace the MG-13 with the MA-1 system planned for the F-106 was turned down as being too costly. The only option was to improve the Central Air Data Computer that was the heart of the MG-13 system.

The first F-101Bs were delivered to the 60th Interceptor Squadron at Otis AFB in Massachusetts on January 5, 1959. F-101Bs ended up equipping 18 air defense squadrons (the 2nd, 13th, 15th, 18th, 29th, 49th, 59th, 60th, 62nd, 75th, 83rd, 84th, 87th, 98th, 322nd, 437th, 444th, and 445th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons). F-101Bs also served with the 4570th Test Squadron and the 4756th CCTS (later designated the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron), both based at Tyndall AFB in Florida. These units carried out operational suitability tests and training for the Air Defense Command.

Late production F-101Bs (blocks 115 and 120) were completed with modified fire control systems and with provisions for carrying a pair of Douglas MB-1 Genie unguided nuclear-armed rockets on the rotary weapons bay in place of the two Falcon missiles. Starting in 1961, many earlier F-101Bs were upgraded to this standard under *Project Kitty Car*. The MG-13 fire control system was capable of hands-off Genie launches, including the automatic launch of the rocket, turning the aircraft into the escape maneuver, and detonating the nuclear warhead at the appropriate time. Since the Genies were bigger and created more drag, and also because they were more classified, they were normally carried internally until they were ready to be fired. Then the door would rotate and the rocket was fired

Between 1963 and 1966, many F-101Bs were fitted with an infrared sensor in front of the pilot's cockpit in place of the retractable re-fuelling probe. Other modifications were made to the control system as part of the Interceptor Improvement Program (also known as Project Bold Journey). Most F-101Bs were fitted between 1964 and 1968 with a modified pitch control system for the automatic pilot in an attempt to address the "pitch-up" problem that had plagued the Voodoo throughout its service life. Included in the upgrades was an enhancement of the resistance of F-101B airframes to electromagnetic pulses, and an improved MG-13 fire control system was installed for use against low-flying targets.

Produced alongside the F-101B interceptor was the F-101F operational and conversion trainer. The two-seat trainer version was initially designated TF-101B. The 79 F-101Fs were equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable. Most of these F-101Fs were retrofitted with infrared sensors and improved fire-control systems as part of Project Bold Journey .

The last of 480 F-101Bs was delivered in March of 1961. Once the teething troubles with its fire control system had been corrected, the F-101B proved to be a quite successful interceptor. However, it was outshone by the faster and more maneuverable Convair F-106A Delta Dart when that interceptor entered service.

Under a program known as Operation Queens Row, a batch of 56 F-101Bs was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (later renamed the Canadian Armed Forces) between July 1961 and May of 1962. In addition, Canada also received ten F-101F two-seat operational trainers. In Canadian service, they were designated CF-101F.

Click on Picture to enlarge

In 1970-71, the 46 surviving CF-101Bs and CF-101Fs from the initial batch delivered to Canada were traded to the USAF for 56 refurbished and modernized F-101B interceptors and ten new F-101F operational trainers under Operation Peace Wings. These ex-USAF Voodoos were from earlier production batches, but had been upgraded with infrared sensors and improved fire control systems as part of Project Bold Journey.

F-101Bs began to leave active duty with the USAF beginning in 1969, many aircraft being passed along to the Air National Guard. The last active duty USAF squadrons to fly the F-101B were the 60th and 62nd FISs which were deactivated in April of 1971. However, a few F-101Bs continued on with training units for another ten years. The last Voodoo in US service (F-101B-105-MC 58-300) was finally retired by the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB in Florida on September 21, 1982.

The first F-101Bs were delivered to the Air National Guard in November of 1969, entering service with the 116th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Washington ANG and the 132nd FIS of the Maine ANG. They also served with the 179th FIS of the Minnesota ANG, the 136th FIS of the New York ANG, the 137th FIS of the New York ANG, the 192nd FIS of the Nevada ANG, the 178th FIS of the North Dakota ANG, the 123rd FIS of the Oregon ANG, and the 111th FIS of the Texas ANG. The F-101B passed out of ANG service when the last F-101B was retired by the 11lth FIS in 1981. It had operated the F-101B/F briefly as part of the Tactical Air Command after ADC was inactivated on April 1, 1980.

The Colorado State University operated a civil registered F-101B-110-MC (N8234, ex 57-410) in a research program to study severe storms.

Serials of the F-101B/F:


56-0232 McDonnell F-101B-30-MC Voodoo
56-0233/0237 McDonnell F-101B-40-MC Voodoo
56-0238/0240 McDonnell F-101B-45-MC Voodoo
56-0241/0243 McDonnell F-101B-50-MC Voodoo
56-0244/0245 McDonnell F-101F-51-MC Voodoo
56-0246/0247 McDonnell F-101F-56-MC Voodoo
56-0248/0250 McDonnell F-101B-55-MC Voodoo
56-0251/0252 McDonnell F-101B-60-MC Voodoo
56-0253 McDonnell F-101F-61-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101001 in 1970/71
56-0254/0257 McDonnell F-101B-60-MC Voodoo
56-0258/0259 McDonnell F-101B-65-MC Voodoo
56-0260 McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101002 in 1970/71
56-0261 McDonnell F-101B-65-MC Voodoo
56-0262 McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101003 in 1970/71
56-0263/0268 McDonnell F-101B-65-MC Voodoo
56-0269/0273 McDonnell F-101B-70-MC Voodoo
56-0274/0277 McDonnell F-101F-71-MC Voodoo
0277 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101004
in 1970/71
56-0278/0280 McDonnell F-101B-70-MC Voodoo
56-0281/0288 McDonnell F-101B-75-MC Voodoo
56-0289 McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0290/0293 McDonnell F-101B-75-MC Voodoo
56-0294 McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0295/0298 McDonnell F-101B-75-MC Voodoo
56-0299 McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0300/0303 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0304 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101005 in 1970/71
56-0305/0307 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0308 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0309/0311 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0312 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0313/0315 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0316 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0317/0319 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0320 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0321/0323 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0324 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101006 in 1970/71
56-0325/0327 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
56-0328 McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
to Canadian Armed Forces as 101007 in 1970/71
57-0247/0262 McDonnell F-101B-80-MC Voodoo
57-0263 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0264/0266 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
57-0267 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0268/0270 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0268 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101008
in 1970/71
57-0271 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0272/0274 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0273 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101009
in 1970/71
57-0275 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0276/0278 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
57-0279 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0280/0282 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0282 at Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ.
57-0283 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0284/0286 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0286 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101010
in 1970/71
57-0287 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0288/0291 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0289 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101011
in 1970/71
57-0292 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0293/0296 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0293 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101012
in 1970/71
0296 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101013
in 1970/71
57-0297 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0298/0301 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0298 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101014
in 1970/71
0299 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101015
in 1970/71
0301 converted to RF-101B in 1971-72
57-0302 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0303/0306 McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
0303 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101016
in 1970/71
0305 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101017
in 1970/71
0306 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101018
57-0307 McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0308/0311 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
57-0312 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0313/0316 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0314 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101019
in 1970/71
0315 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101020
in 1970/71
57-0317 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0318/0321 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0321 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101021
in 1970/71
57-0322 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0323/0326 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0323 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101023
in 1970/71
57-0327 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0328/0331 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
57-0332 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0333/0336 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0334 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101025
in 1970/71
57-0337 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-338/341 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0340 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101026
in 1970/71
0341 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101027
in 1970/71
57-342 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-343/346 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0346 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101028
in 1970/71
57-347 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-348/351 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0351 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101029
in 1970/71
57-352 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-353/356 McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
0354 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101030
in 1970/71
57-357 McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-358/364 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0358/0360 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101031/
101033 in 1970/71
0362/0364 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101034/
101036 in 1970/71
57-365 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-366/371 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0366 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101037
in 1970/71
0368/0369 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101038/
101039 in 1970/71
57-372 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-373/378 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0373/0375 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101040/
101042 in 1970/71
57-379 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-380/385 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0380/0382 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101043/
101045 in 1970/71
0384 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101046
in 1970/71
57-386 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-387/392 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0388 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101047
in 1970/71
0391 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101048
in 1970/71
57-393 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-394/399 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
0395/0396 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101049/
101050 in 1970/71
0398 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101051
in 1970/71
57-400 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-401/406 McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
57-407 McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-408/413 McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
0412 at Castle AFB, CA.
57-414 McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-415/420 McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
0418 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101053
in 1970/71
0420 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101054
in 1970/71
57-421 McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-422/427 McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
0424 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101055
in 1970/71
0426 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101056
in 1970/71
0427 on display at McClellan AFB
57-428 McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-429/448 McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
0429 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101057
in 1970/71
0431/0434 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101058/
101061 in 1970/71
0441/0444 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101062/
101065 in 1970/71
57-449 McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-450/452 McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
0551 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101066
in 1970/71
58-0259/0261 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
58-0262 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0263/0268 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
58-0269 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0270/0275 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
58-0276 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0277/0282 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
58-0283 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0284/0289 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
58-0290 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0291/0296 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
0291 at K. I. Sawyer AFB, MI.
58-297 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-298/303 McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
0300 to Canadian Forces in 1982 as 101067.
58-304 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-305/310 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
58-311 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-312/317 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
58-318 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-319/323 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
58-324 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0325/0330 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
58-331 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-332/337 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
58-338 McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-339/342 McDonnell F-101B-110-MC Voodoo
59-0391/0392 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17391 and 17392 in 1968
upon return to USA, converted to
RF-101B.
59-0393  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17393 in 1968
59-0394/0399 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17394/17399 in 1968
0397 and 0398 converted to RF-101B upon return
to USA.
59-0400  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17400 in 1968.
59-0401/0406 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17401/17406 in 1968.
0402/0404 converted to RF-101B upon return to
USA.
59-0407  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17407 in 1968.
59-0408/0412 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
0408/0411 to RCAF as 17408/17411 in 1968.
0410 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0413  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0414/0418 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
59-0419  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0420/0424 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
59-0425  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0426/0436 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
0428 at Dover AFB, DE.
0433/0436 to RCAF as 17433/17436 in 1968.
0434 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
0436 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0437  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17437 in 1968.
59-0438/0440 McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17438/17440 in 1968.
59-0441/0442 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
both to RCAF as 17441/17442 in 1968.
0441 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0443  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17443 in 1968.
59-0444/0448 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17444/17448 in 1968.
0447,0448 converted to RF-101B upon return to
USA.
59-0449  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17449 in 1968.
59-0450/0453 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17450/17453 in 1968.
0450 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
0453 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0454  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0455/0459 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
455/457 to RCAF as 17455/17457 in 1968.
0457 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
459 to RCAF as 17459 in 1968.  Converted to
RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0460  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17460 in 1968.
59-0461/0465 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
0461 to RCAF as 17461 in 1968.
0463/0465 to RCAF as 17463/17465 in 1968.
0463 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0466  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17466 in 1968.
59-0467/0471 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17467/17471 in 1968.
0467 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0472  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17472 in 1968.
59-0473/0477 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
475/477 to RCAF as 17475/17477 in 1968.
0477 converted to RF-101B upon return to USA.
59-0478  McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
to RCAF as 17478 in 1968.
59-0479/0483 McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
all to RCAF as 17479/17483 in 1968.
0481/0483 converted to RF-101B upon return
to USA.
59-0484/0491 cancelled contract for F-101B

 

Specification of the F-101B:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55 turbojets, 11,990 lbs.t. dry and 16,900 lbs.t. with afterburner. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 67 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Performance: Maximum speed 1134 mph at 35,000 feet (Mach 1.72). Initial climb rate 49,200 feet/min. Service ceiling 58,400 feet, combat ceiling 51,000 feet. Normal range 1520 miles, maximum range 1930 miles. Weights: 28,970 pounds empty, 45,664 pounds gross, 40,853 pounds combat weight, 52,400 pounds maximum takeoff. Fuel: Maximum internal fuel load was 2053 US gallons, housed in five fuel cells in the upper fuselage and three in each wing.. A total of two 450 US gallon under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 2953 US gallons. Armament: Armed with four Falcon AAMs (usually 2 GAR-1 (AIM-4) semi-active radar homers and 2 GAR-2 (AIM-4B) infrared homers) in an internal ventral weapons bay. In later versions, two unguided AIR-2A Genie unguided rockets with nuclear warheads could be carried in place of two of the Falcons.

 

 

The Voodoos For Canada

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

In 1959, the Canadian government cancelled work on the Avro CF-105 Arrow advanced Mach 2.5 all weather interceptor, opting instead for a surface-to-air missile defense based on the IM-99 Bomarc long-range missile. It soon became apparent that the cancellation of the Arrow project was a mistake, and that Canada would need a manned long-range all-weather interceptor capable of supersonic performance. In order to fill in the void left by the cancellation of the Arrow, the Canadian government decided to adopt the F-101B Voodoo.

The Canadian Voodoos were all ex-USAF machines rather than new builds. The first deliveries of Voodoos to Canada were under Operation Queens Row. A first batch of 56 F-101Bs was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (later renamed the Canadian Armed Forces) between July of 1961 and May of 1962. The first batch of Canadian Voodoos included 25 F-101B-115-MCs and 31 F-10B-120-MCs, all of them from a 1959 fiscal year production lot. In Canadian service, they were designated CF-101B. The CF-101Bs were virtually identical to the USAF F-101B, including the nose inflight refuelling probe which was never used tactically by RCAF Voodoos.

In addition, Canada also received ten F-101F two-seat operational trainers. These included four F-101F-116-MCs and six F-101F-121-MCs. These were virtually identical to the F-101B interceptor, and were fully combat-capable. In Canadian service, they were designated CF-101F.

In Canadian service, these CF-101Bs and Fs were assigned Canadian serial numbers using the last three digits of their USAF serials prefixed by the number 17 (for example, 59-391 became 17391).

The first 45 CF-101Bs and CF-101Fs entered operational service on November 13, 1961 when No. 410 "Cougar" Squadron based at Ottawa began conversion to the type. Other RCAF squadrons to acquire the Voodoo were No. 409 "Nighthawk" Squadron based at Comox, British Columbia, No. 414 "Black Kinight" Squadron based at North Bay, Ontario, No. 416 "Lynx" Squadron based at Bagotville, Quebec, and No. 425 Squadron "Alouette" Squadron based at Chatham, New Brunswick. No. 425 Squadron was initially the Operational Training Squadron for the type, but this role was later taken over by No. 3 OTU at RCAF Bagotville after the initial five squadrons were trained. In 1970 or thereabouts, No. 3 OTU at Bagotville was renamed 410 "Cougar" Squadron and served as the CF-101 OTU(Both Nos 410 and 414 Squadrons had been disbanded in 1964 as an economy measure).

Click on Picture to enlarge

In 1970-71, the 46 surviving CF-101Bs and CF-101Fs from the initial batch delivered to Canada were traded to the USAF for 56 refurbished and modernized F-101B interceptors and ten new F-101F operational trainers under Operation Peace Wings. These ex-USAF Voodoos were from earlier production batches, but had been upgraded with infrared sensors and improved fire control systems as part of Project Bold Journey. In Canadian service, this new batch of 66 Voodoos were assigned consecutive serial numbers in the 101001 to 101066 range, with the ten CF-101Fs being given the numbers 101001/101007, 101022, 101024 and 101052. These modernized Voodoos remained in service with Nos. 409, 410, 416, and 425 Squadrons until replaced by McDonnell Douglas CF-18A/Bs in the early 1980s.

The CF-101s carried the same armament as did their USAF counterparts-- two AIM-4D Falcons and up to two AIR-2A Genies. The Falcons were programmed to be launched in salvo, the second firing a half-second after the first. The improved AIM-26B later replaced the AIM-4. Canadian Voodoos operated with live Genies under a dual-key arrangement for the release by the US of the nuclear warheads should the need arise.

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A single Canadian Voodoo was equipped as a specialized electronic countermeasures aircraft and was used as ECM aggressor aircraft in training. It was an ex-USAF F-101B (58-0300) which had been leased from the USAF in 1982 and given the Canadian serial number 101067. This aircraft were given the unofficial designation EF-101B in Canadian service. 101006 was a regular CF-101F that was assigned to 414 Squadron as a proficiency trainer for pilots flying 101067. 101006 was never designated EF-101B, contrary to what some other references say.  It was returned to the USAF in April of 1987

The last CF-101B left Canadian Armed Forces service in 1985. However 101006 and 101067 were retained by 414 Squadron until April 1987, finally bringing the era of Voodoo service in Canada to an end.

Serials of Canadian Voodoos:

56-0253		McDonnell F-101F-61-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101001 in 1970/71
56-0260		McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101002 in 1970/71.
56-0262		McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101003 in 1970/71
56-0274/0277		McDonnell F-101F-71-MC Voodoo
				0277 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101004 
					in 1970/71
56-0304		McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101005 in 1970/71
56-0324		McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101006 in 1970/71
56-0328		McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101007 in 1970/71
57-0268/0270		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0268 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101008
					in 1970/71
57-0272/0274		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0273 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101009
					in 1970/71
57-0284/0286	 	McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0286 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101010
					in 1970/71
57-0288/0291		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0289 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101011
					in 1970/71
57-0293/0296		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0293 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101012
					in 1970/71
				0296 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101013
					in 1970/71
57-0298/0301		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0298 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101014
					in 1970/71
				0299 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101015
					in 1970/71
57-0303/0306		McDonnell F-101B-85-MC Voodoo
				0303 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101016
					in 1970/71
				0305 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101017
					in 1970/71
				0306 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101018
57-0313/0316		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0314 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101019
					in 1970/71
				0315 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101020
					in 1970/71
57-0318/0321		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0321 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101021
					in 1970/71
57-0323/0326		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0323 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101023
					in 1970/71
57-0333/0336		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0334 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101025
					in 1970/71
57-338/341		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0340 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101026
					in 1970/71
				0341 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101027
					in 1970/71
57-343/346		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0346 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101028
					in 1970/71
57-348/351		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0351 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101029
					in 1970/71
57-353/356		McDonnell F-101B-90-MC Voodoo
				0354 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101030
					in 1970/71
57-358/364		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0358/0360 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101031/
					101033 in 1970/71
				0362/0364 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101034/
					101036 in 1970/71
57-366/371		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0366 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101037
					in 1970/71
				0368/0369 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101038/
					101039 in 1970/71
57-373/378		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0373/0375 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101040/
					101042 in 1970/71
57-380/385		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0380/0382 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101043/
					101045 in 1970/71
				0384 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101046
					in 1970/71
57-387/392		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0388 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101047
					in 1970/71
				0391 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101048
					in 1970/71
57-394/399		McDonnell F-101B-95-MC Voodoo
				0395/0396 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101049/
					101050 in 1970/71
				0398 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101051
					in 1970/71
57-415/420		McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
				0418 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101053
					in 1970/71
				0420 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101054
					in 1970/71
57-422/427		McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
				0424 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101055
					in 1970/71
				0426 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101056
					in 1970/71
57-429/448		McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
				0429 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101057
					in 1970/71
				0431/0434 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101058/
					101061 in 1970/71
				0441/0444 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101062/
					101065 in 1970/71
57-450/452		McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo
				0551 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101066
					in 1970/71
58-298/303		McDonnell F-101B-105-MC Voodoo
				0300 to Canadian Forces in 1982 as 101067.
59-0391/0392		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17391 and 17392 in 1968
					upon return to USA, converted to
					RF-101B.
59-0393  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17393 in 1968 
59-0394/0399		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17394/17399 in 1968
59-0400  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17400 in 1968.
59-0401/0406		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17401/17406 in 1968.
59-0407  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17407 in 1968.
59-0408/0412		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				0408/0411 to RCAF as 17408/17411 in 1968.
59-0426/0436		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				0433/0436 to RCAF as 17433/17436 in 1968.
59-0437  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17437 in 1968.
59-0438/0440		McDonnell F-101B-115-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17438/17440 in 1968.
59-0441/0442		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				both to RCAF as 17441/17442 in 1968.
59-0443  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17443 in 1968.
59-0444/0448		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17444/17448 in 1968.
59-0449  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17449 in 1968.
59-0450/0453		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17450/17453 in 1968.
59-0455/0459		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				455/457 to RCAF as 17455/17457 in 1968.
				459 to RCAF as 17459 in 1968.  
59-0460  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17460 in 1968.
59-0461/0465		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				0461 to RCAF as 17461 in 1968.
				0463/0465 to RCAF as 17463/17465 in 1968.
59-0466  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17466 in 1968.
59-0467/0471		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17467/17471 in 1968.
59-0472  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17472 in 1968.
59-0473/0477		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				475/477 to RCAF as 17475/17477 in 1968.
59-0478  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17478 in 1968.
59-0479/0483		McDonnell F-101B-120-MC Voodoo
				all to RCAF as 17479/17483 in 1968.

 

The RF-101 B

 

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After having been returned to the USA, 22 of the Canadian CF-101Bs were modified by the Ling-Temco-Vought Corporation of Greenville, South Carolina as two seat reconnaissance aircraft. This was done under a December 30, 1968 contract that was issued to cover a perceived shortfall in tactical reconnaissance capability. The armament and fire control system in the nose of the F-101B were replaced by a battery of forward and vertical cameras in a nose of modified contour. The reconnaissance package that was installed included three KS-87B cameras in forward, left split vertical, and right split vertical configurations, plus two AXQ-2 television cameras in forward-looking and downward-looking positions. Most of the instrumentation in the rear cockpit was removed, and the pilot's cockpit was equipped with a TV viewfinder control indicator. The flying boom receptacle installed on later F-101Bs was added behind the cockpit.

These modified aircraft were re-designated RF-101B. This work was carried out between September 1971 and January 1972. Serials were 59-391, 397, 398, 402/404, 410, 424, 436, 411, 447, 448, 450,452, 457, 459, 463, 467, 477, and 481/483. A 23rd F-101B (57-0301) was a development test airframe and did not come from Canada. It was an ex-USAF machine and had been similarly modified before being assigned to the Air Force Logistics Command as a test vehicle.

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 Upon their completion, the RF-101B conversions were immediately turned over to the 192nd TRS of the Nevada Air National Guard. Upon the arrival of the RF-101Bs, the 192nd TRS sent its RF-101H (a reconnaissance conversion of the F-101C) aircraft to the Kentucky ANG, while the Kentucky ANG sent its RF-101G (a reconnaissance conversion of the F-101A) aircraft to the Arkansas ANG. It turned out that the RF-101B was extremely expensive to operate in the field, requiring several costly and time-consuming fixes in order to maintain an acceptable operating standard. The career of the RF-101B with the Nevada ANG was relatively brief, giving way to the RF-4C Phantom in 1975.

 

 

The F-101 C

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The F-101A was not well-suited for low-altitude tactical strike operations because its structure was stressed only for maneuvers that did not exceed 6.33 G. The F-101C was a follow-on version of the single seat F-101A which had a strengthened structure designed to allow maneuvers at up to 7.33 G. The F-101C was externally identical to the F-101A and had similar internal equipment and armament. The F-101C was, however, 500 pounds heavier than the A because of its stronger structure. The F-101C had different fuel pumps and fuel feed and control systems, increasing its maximum available afterburner time from six minutes to 15. There were minor changes in the pressurization system. Generally, F-101As and Cs could be distinguished from each other only by their serial numbers, and usually a pilot did not even notice whether he was flying an A or a C.

The first F-101C flew on August 21, 1957, and the last of 47 examples was delivered in June of 1958. Ninety-six aircraft (56-049/56-135) originally ordered as F-101Cs were completed as RF-101Cs after the Air Force decided not to acquire any more Voodoo single-seat strike fighters.

The F-101C first served with the 27th Fighter Bomber Wing based at Bergstrom AFB. Fighter-bomber wings were re-designated as tactical fighter wings on July 7, 1958, and the 27th became the 27th TFW.

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In service, one of the four 20-mm cannon of the F-101C was frequently removed in order to make room for TACAN navigation equipment.

On May 22, 1958, two air-re-fuelled F-101Cs flew a 5600-mile closed-circuit course beginning and terminating at Bergstrom AFB in Texas in 11 hours 35 minutes. A flight of F-101Cs flew from Andrews AFB in Maryland to Liege, Belgium in 6 hours 12 minutes on June 28, 1958.

In 1958, the F-101A/C Voodoos of the 27th TFW briefly deployed to Taiwan during a period of heightened tensions with the Mainland.

In a move partly based on economy considerations but also to bring the Voodoo closer to its proposed targets in the Soviet Union, before the last F-101C could be delivered, it was decided that TAC would transfer all of its single-seat Voodoo fighters to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing based at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk. Here, the F-101Cs replaced the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. A flight of seven F-101Cs were ferried nonstop from Bergstrom AFB to RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk in 11 hours 2 minutes on August 10, 1958.

The 81st TFW operated three squadrons, the 78th, 91st, and 92nd TFS. The mission of each of the 81st TFW Voodoos was to deliver a single tactical nuclear weapon onto a Soviet or Eastern European target in the event of war. It was generally understood that such an attack would probably be a one-way mission, and pilots were given extensive training in escape and evasion techniques which would be used once they had ejected behind enemy lines.

The F-101A/C featured the MA-7 fire-control system with a nose radar that had originally been intended for the air-to-air role. After a few changes, this system became fairly adept at ground mapping and was very useful in the air-to-ground role. An MA-2 Low-Altitude Bombing System (LABS) was installed. In addition to the mapping radar, the F-101 used the ASN-6 dead-reckoning navigation system and was fitted with an ARN-14 navigational radio. An MB-1 autopilot was fitted. Defense was handled by an ASP-54 radar warning system. In the field, refinements were made to the all-weather low-altitude nuclear delivery system, which used the Voodoo's gun-ranging radar in a ground-mapping mode. The Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) was later augmented by the Low Angle Drogued Delivery (LADD) system which permitted the aircraft to drop a parachute-retarded atomic bomb after making a low-altitude run-in to the target. The LABS system employed a Mergenthaler Linotype M-1 Toss Bombing System (TBS-1) which enabled the pilot to deliver his weapon by lining up the target on the crosshairs of his K-19 gun sight and pushing a button which computed an automatic weapons release.

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A total of 47 F-101C tactical fighters were built. The F-101C fighters served with the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing until replaced by McDonnell F-4C Phantoms in 1965-66. Following their removal from active USAF service in 1965, ex-USAF F-101Cs were modified by Lockheed Aircraft Service Company of Ontario, California to serve with the Air National Guard as unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. A total of 31 F-101Cs were converted (serial numbers were 54-1486/1488, 1491, and 1493, plus 56-1/4, 6, 10/12/ 14, 16, 18-20, 22/23, 25/27, 29, 30, 32/36, and 39), accidents by this time having accounted for most of the remainder of the 47 F-101Cs originally built. In these converted F-101Cs, the armament was completely removed and new nose cones housing reconnaissance cameras were installed. These aircraft were then redesignated RF-101H. As compared to the RF-101C dedicated photo-reconnaissance version of the F-101C, the RF-101H had a shorter and broader nose. Along with the RF-101G (an equivalent conversion of the F-101A), they served with the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Arkansas ANG, with the 165th TRS of the Kentucky ANG, and the 192nd TRS of the Nevada ANG. Beginning in 1970, these aircraft were supplemented by RF-101Cs that had been retired from active USAF stocks following the withdrawal from Vietnam. The last reconnaissance Voodoos were finally withdrawn from ANG service in 1979.

 

Serials of the F-101C:

54-1486/1493		McDonnell F-101C-40-MC Voodoo 
				1486/1488 converted to RF-101H
				1491 converted to RF-101H
				1493 converted to RF-101H
56-0001/0005		McDonnell F-101C-40-MC Voodoo
				0001/0004 converted to RF-101H.
56-0006/0019		McDonnell F-101C-45-MC Voodoo
				0006 converted to RF-101H.
				0010/0012 converted to RF-101H.
				0011 at Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ.
				0014 converted to RF-101H.
				0016 converted to RF-101H.
				0018,0019 converted to RF-101H.
56-0020/0032		McDonnell F-101C-50-MC Voodoo
				0020 converted to RF-101H.
				0022,0023 converted to RF-101H.
				0025/0027 converted to RF-101H.
				0029/0032 converted to RF-101H
56-0033/0039		McDonnell F-101C-55-MC Voodoo
				0033/0036 converted to RF-101H
				0039 converted to RF-101H

 

Specifications of the F-101C:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, 10,200 lb.s.t. dry and 15,000 lb.s.t. with afterburner. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 67 feet 6 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Performance: Maximum speed 1012 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 45,000 feet/min. Service ceiling 55,100 feet, combat ceiling 51,540 feet. Normal range 1315 miles, maximum range 2125 miles. Weights: 26,277 pounds empty, 48,908 pounds gross, 39,495 pounds combat weight, 51,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Fuel: Maximum internal fuel load was 2250 US gallons. A total of three under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 3150 US gallons. Internal armament consisted of four 20-mm Colt-Browning M38 cannon. A single "special store" (i.e. a nuclear weapon) could be carried on a centerline station. This weapon was generally a Mk 7, weighing 3271 pounds and having an explosive yield of 1 megaton. The F-101C could not carry or deliver conventional bombs, but a baggage pod or a training shape could be carried on the centerline station in place of the nuclear weapon.

 

 

The RF-101 C

 

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The RF-101C was the unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the single-seat F-101C. It combined the strengthened structure of the F-101C with the camera installation of the RF-101A. In addition, the RF-101C differed from the RF-101A in being able to accommodate a centerline nuclear weapon, so that it could carry out a secondary nuclear strike mission if ever called upon to do so. The RF-101C was otherwise identical to the RF-101A, and could only be distinguished from it by an examination of the serial numbers.

A total of 166 RF-101Cs were built. They were the last single-seat Voodoos to be built for the USAF.

RF-101Cs were initially fitted with a Fairchild KA-2 forward-facing camera, three KA-2s in a tri-sensor station further back, and two downward-facing Fairchild KA-1s.

The first RF-101Cs were delivered to the 20th and 29th squadrons of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Group at Shaw AFB in North Carolina in September of 1957. It served for a brief time alongside the RF-101A, but quickly replaced them. The next year, the RF-101s were put under the control of the 363rd TRW. In June of 1958, the 4414th Combat Crew Training Squadron became operational with Shaw's 363rd TRW as the replacement training unit for Voodoo reconnaissance pilots. The last RF-101C delivery to the USAF was on March 31, 1959.

RF-101Cs were first assigned to Europe during the spring of 1958 when the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Laon AB in France converted from RF-84Fs. In May of 1958, the 17th and 18th TRS based at Shaw AFB joined the 66th TRW at Laon. The 38th and the 32nd TRS were stationed at Phalsbourg in France. During the years at Phalsbourg, the 38th and the 32rd TRS became a combined squadron. The 38th TRS moved from Phalsbourg AB to Toul-Rosieres AB in November of 1960. By the end of 1958, 30 RF-101Cs were based overseas. They were stationed at Nouasseur AFB in Morocco and at the Laon and Phalsbourg air bases in France.

When President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO participation, USAF units had to leave the country. In the summer of 1962, the 38th TRS moved to Ramstein AB in Germany. The entire 66th TRW wing moved to RAF Upper Heyford in England. The 66th TRW was inactivated on April 1, 1970.

In the Pacific, RF-101Cs served with the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 67th TRW at Kadena AFB on Okinawa. This outfit received its first RF-101Cs in August of 1958. Later, RF-101Cs with the 45th TRS were located at Misawa AFB in Japan.

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The RF-101C, like the RF-101A before it, was beset with maintenance problems. There were a series of groundings caused by defective landing gears and deficient hydraulic systems. Urgent modifications by McDonnell and Air Force crews helped to solve these problems.

In 1962, most RF-101s were fitted with new high resolution KA-45 cameras in the forward station and with two 12-inch KA-47s replacing the KA-1s. A special modification allowed the aircraft to take photographs at lower altitudes and the installation of a centerline ejector pod with flash cartridges gave the RF-101 a limited night photography capability. The *Toy Tiger* program of 1964/65 involved a retrofit of earlier RF-101Cs with panoramic KA-45 cameras mounted on side and vertical gyro-stabilized platforms, including night cameras using flash cartridges as well as the hardware introduced by the Mod 1181 program which employed Hycon KS-72 cameras and automatic controls that had originally designed for the RF-4C Phantom. The Voodoos were given the capability of refueling each other via a buddy refueling tank being carried in place of the usual external fuel tank underneath the aircraft's left wing.

RF-101A/C aircraft of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew vital reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Missile Crisis of October 1962, confirming and then monitoring the Soviet missile buildup on that island. The first missions over Cuba took place on October 23, 1962, and 15 pilots from the 363rd were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses during that action.

The RF-101C was the only Voodoo version to serve in Vietnam. The RF-101C first appeared in the Pacific in August of 1958, when the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing based at Kadena AFB on Okinawa got its first RF-101Cs. RF-101Cs from this squadron were deployed to South Vietnam in October-November of 1961 to fly intelligence gathering flights over South Vietnam and Laos. They flew their missions from Tan Son Nhut AFB near Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). The 67th TRW was soon followed by detachments of the 15th and 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons, which flew missions over Laos and South Vietnam, first from Thailand and then from Vietnam. These reconnaissance missions lasted from November 1961 through the spring of 1964. In 1965, the 20th TRS was moved in to replace the 15th TRS, which converted to RF-4Cs. The 20th TRS operated from Udorn RTAFB in Thailand for most of its service life, and covered most of the missions over northern North Vietnam. The 45th TRS was based at Tan Son Nhut, and covered the south.

RF-101Cs flew pathfinder missions for F-100s in the first USAF strike against North Vietnam on February 8, 1965. They initially operated out of South Vietnam, but later flew most of their missions over North Vietnam out of bases in Thailand. Bombing missions against the North required a large amount of photographic reconnaissance support, and by the end of 1967, all but one of the TAC RF-101C squadrons were in Southeast Asia.

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When the RF-101C began operations in South East Asia, the missions were initially medium-altitude single-ship flights, although two-ship missions were allocated to particularly well-defended areas. When the SAM threat became more severe, the Vooodos began using a low-altitude high-speed approach to the target, followed by a quick pop-up to 10,000-15,000 feet for the photographic run, then a dive back down to lower altitudes for departure. This tactic continued until April 1967, when improved ECM equipment in the form of ALQ-71 pods allowed a return to medium altitudes. However, the presence of the pods seriously degraded the high-speed performance of the RF-101C, making it easier for MiGs to catch it. Consequently, fighter escorts often accompanied the RF-101C flights. In Southeast Asia, some RF-101Cs were modified to carry photoflash cartridges and TLQ-8 jammers.

The RF-101C was fast enough to be easily able to evade interception by North Vietnamese MiG-17s. However, the Mach-2 MiG-21 Fishbed was another story. Following the loss of an RF-101C to a MiG-21 Fishbed in September of 1967, the RF-101C was replaced by the McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II in reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam. After that time, the Voodoo was restricted to missions over Laos and South Vietnam, where the probability of encountering enemy fighters was much smaller. The last 45th TRS RF-101C left Saigon on November 16, 1970, bringing the era of Voodoo participation in the South East Asia War to an end.

33 RF-101Cs were lost in combat in Southeast Asia--24 to AAA and small arms fire, 5 to surface-to-air missiles, one to a MiG-21, one in a sapper attack on its base at Tan Son Nhut AFB near Saigon, and two to unknown causes. Six were lost in operational (non-combat related) accidents while serving in Southeast Asia. More than 30 RF-101Cs were lost in accidents during their early years of service, mainly due to pilot inexperience.

Plans had been made for the RF-101C to be gradually phased out of USAF service in favor of the McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II beginning in 1965. The RF-101Cs withdrawn from USAF service were to be transferred over to the Air National Guard. However, the requirements of the Vietnam war forced the USAF to change its plans, and the RF-101C had to soldier on for a few more years.

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The Air National Guard did not get its first batch of RF-101Cs until early 1969. Over the next two years, President Nixon's program of Vietnam-ization increased the pace at which USAF units left Southeast Asia, and more and more RF-101Cs were transferred to the ANG. The last Voodoos departed the war zone in November of 1970. The last USAF RF-101C was phased out of the 31st TRTS, a replacement training unit at Shaw AFB, on February 16, 1971 and turned over to the Air National Guard.

The RF-101C served with the ANG only for a relatively short time. The last ANG RF-101C was retired in 1975.

There is a forward fuselage of an RF-101C in storage at the Paul Garber Restoration Facility of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Suitland, Maryland. I don't have its serial number.

Serials of RF-101C:

56-0040/0057		McDonnell RF-101C-60-MC Voodoo
				0048 at Selfridge Military Air Museum, MI.
56-0058/0086		McDonnell RF-101C-65-MC Voodoo
				0068 at Keesler AFB Air Park, MI.
56-0087/0114		McDonnell RF-101C-70-MC Voodoo
56-0115/0135		McDonnell RF-101C-75-MC Voodoo
				0125 at Kentucky ANG, Frankfort, KY.
56-0134/0154		Cancelled contract for RF-101C
56-0162/0173		McDonnell RF-101C-40-MC Voodoo
				0166 on display at WPAFB Museum
56-0174/0186		McDonnell RF-101C-45-MC Voodoo
56-0187/0198		McDonnell RF-101C-50-MC Voodoo
				0187 at Cannon AFB, NM.
56-0199/0221		McDonnell RF-101C-55-MC Voodoo
				0214 at Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ.
56-0222/0231		McDonnell RF-101C-60-MC Voodoo
 

Specifications of the RF-101C:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, 10,200 lb.s.t. dry and 15,000 lb.s.t. with afterburner. Performance: Maximum speed 1012 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 45,500 feet/min. Service ceiling 55,300 feet, combat ceiling 51,540 feet. Normal range 1715 miles, maximum range 2145 miles. Weights: 26,136 pounds empty, 48,133 pounds gross, 39,495 pounds combat weight, 51,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Fuel: Maximum internal fuel load was 2250 US gallons. A total of three under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 3150 US gallons. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 69 feet 4 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Armament: The RF-101C was unarmed.

 

 

The F-101 D/E

The designations F-101D and F-101E were reserved for projected Voodoo versions which were to have been powered by General Electric J79 turbojets. Neither of these were ever built.

 

 

The F-101 F

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

Produced alongside the F-101B interceptor was the F-101F operational and conversion trainer. The 79 F-101Fs were equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable. Most of these F-101Fs were retrofitted with infrared sensors and improved fire-control systems as part of Project *Bold Journey*. The F-101F was externally identical to the F-101B, and the two aircraft could only be distinguished from each other by an examination of their serial numbers.

Dual-control F-101F aircraft were widespread throughout the F-101 interceptor fleet, but a sizeable proportion of them were concentrated in the training units with only a handful being assigned to each operational F-101B interceptor unit. Reconnaissance Voodoo units were also assigned a few F-101Fs to assist with their conversion training.

Canada's air force received ten F-101F two-seat operational trainers in parallel with the acquisition of its 56 F-101B interceptors. These included four F-101F-116-MCs (59-393, 400, 407, and 437) and six F-101F-121-MCs (59-443, 449, 454, 460, 466, 472, and 478). In Canadian service, they were designated CF-101F.

In 1970-71, the surviving CF-101Fs from the initial batch delivered to Canada were returned to the USA and exchanged for ten new F-101F operational trainers under Operation *Peach Wings*. These ex-USAF Voodoos were from earlier production batches, but had been upgraded with infrared sensors and improved fire control systems as part of Project *Bold Journey*.

Serials of F-101F:

56-0244/0245		McDonnell F-101F-51-MC Voodoo
56-0246/0247		McDonnell F-101F-56-MC Voodoo
56-0253			McDonnell F-101F-61-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101001 in 1970/71
56-0260			McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101002 in 1970/71
56-0262			McDonnell F-101F-66-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101003 in 1970/71
56-0274/0277		McDonnell F-101F-71-MC Voodoo
				0277 to Canadian Armed Forces as 101004 
					in 1970/71
56-0289			McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0294			McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0299			McDonnell F-101F-76-MC Voodoo
56-0304			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101005 in 1970/71
56-0308			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0312			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0316			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0320			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
56-0324			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101006 in 1970/71
56-0328			McDonnell F-101F-81-MC Voodoo
				to Canadian Armed Forces as 101007 in 1970/71
57-0263			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0267			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0271			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0275			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0279			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0283			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0287 		McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0292			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0297			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0302			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0307			McDonnell F-101F-86-MC Voodoo
57-0312			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0317			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0322			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0327			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-0332			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
				at Tyndall Air Park, Florida
57-0337			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-342			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-347			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-352			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-357			McDonnell F-101F-91-MC Voodoo
57-365			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-372			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-379			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-386			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-393			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-400			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-407			McDonnell F-101F-96-MC Voodoo
57-414			McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-421			McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-428			McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
57-449			McDonnell F-101F-101-MC Voodoo
58-0262			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0269			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0276			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0283			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-0290			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-297			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-304			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-311			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-318			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-324			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-331			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
58-338			McDonnell F-101F-106-MC Voodoo
59-0393  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17393 in 1968 
59-0400  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17400 in 1968.
59-0407  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17407 in 1968.
59-0413  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				at Empire State Aerosciences Museum, Scotia,
					NY.
59-0419  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0425  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0437  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17437 in 1968.
59-0443  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17443 in 1968.
59-0449  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17449 in 1968.
59-0454  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
59-0460  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17460 in 1968.
59-0466  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17466 in 1968.
59-0472  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17472 in 1968.
59-0478  		McDonnell F-101F-116-MC Voodoo
				to RCAF as 17478 in 1968.

 

Specification of the F-101F:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55 turbojets, 11,990 lb.s.t. dry and 16,900 lb.s.t. with afterburner. Performance: Maximum speed 1134 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 49,200 feet/min. Service ceiling 58,400 feet, combat ceiling 51,000 feet. Normal range 1520 miles, maximum range 1930 miles. Weights: 28,970 pounds empty, 45,664 pounds gross, 40,853 pounds combat weight, 52,400 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: wingspan 39 feet 8 inches, length 67 feet 5 inches, height 18 feet 0 inches, wing area 368 square feet. Fuel: Maximum internal fuel load was 2053 US gallons. A total of three under-fuselage drop tanks could be carried, bringing maximum fuel load to 2953 US gallons. Armament: Armed with four Falcon AAMs (usually 2 GAR-1 (AIM-4) semi-active radar homers and 2 GAR-2 (AIM-4B) infrared homers) in internal ventral weapons bay. In later versions, two unguided AIR-2A Genie unguided rockets with nuclear warheads could be carried in place of two of the Falcons on external attachment points.

 

The F-101 G

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

Following their removal from active USAF service in England in 1965, twenty-nine ex-USAF F-101As (serial numbers 54-1445, 1449, 1451, 1452, 1453, 1454, 1455, 1457, 1459, 1460, 1461, 1462, 1463, 1464, 1466, 1468, 1469, 1470, 1472, 1473, 1475, 1476, 1477, 1479, 1481, 1482, 1484, and 1485, plus two others whose serials I don't know) were modified by Lockheed Aircraft Service Company of Ontario, California to serve as unarmed reconnaissance aircraft for use by the Air National Guard. The armament and radar were removed and new nose cones housing cameras were installed. The camera fit included a pallet of cameras mounted aft of the front fuselage bulkhead, and a new nose housing a forward-facing camera. The nose cone slid forward on rails to allow technicians to maintain the cameras and load film. Large hinged panels allowed access to the pallet and avionics bay to the rear. These aircraft were re-designated RF-101G. As compared to the RF-101A dedicated photo-reconnaissance version of the F-101A, the RF-101G had a shorter and broader nose.

The first RF-101Gs went to the Kentucky Air National Guard (165th TRS/123rd TRW) in July of 1965, replacing the RB-57B. The 165th TRS was involved in the military buildup surrounding the 1968 *Pueblo* crisis, although it did not actually deploy to Korea. The RF-101G also went to the 154th TRS/189th TFG of the Arkansas ANG. In 1971, there was a rationalization of Air National Guard units, with all the RF-101Gs being sent to the Arkansas ANG. The Kentucky ANG transferred its RF-101Gs to the Arkansas ANG and transitioned to the RF-101H (an equivalent conversion of the F-101C). In 1972, the Arkansas ANG traded in its RF-101Gs for RF-101Cs that had recently been withdrawn from active-duty USAF service.

 

Serials of F-101G:

54-1444/1452		McDonnell F-101A-25-MC Voodoo
				1445 converted to RF-101G
				1449 converted to RF-101G
				1451,1452 converted to RF-101G
54-1453/1465		McDonnell F-101A-30-MC Voodoo
				1453/1455 converted to RF-101G
				1457 converted to RF-101G
				1459/1464 converted to RF-101G
54-1466/1485		McDonnell F-101A-35-MC Voodoo
				1466 converted to RF-101G
				1468 converted to RF-101G
				1470 converted to RF-101G
				1472,1473 converted to RF-101G 
				1475/1477 converted to RF-101G 
				1479 converted to RF-101G
				1481,1482 converted to RF-101G 
				1484,1485 converted to RF-101G 

 

The RF-101 H

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

Following their removal from active USAF service in 1965, 31 ex-USAF F-101Cs (serial numbers 54-1486/1488, 1491, and 1493, 56-1/4, 6, 10/12/ 14, 16, 18-20, 22/23, 25/27, 29, 30, 32/36, 39) were modified by Lockheed Aircraft Service Company of Ontario, California to serve as unarmed reconnaissance aircraft with the Air National Guard. Their radar and armament were removed and new nose cones housing cameras were installed. These aircraft were redesignated RF-101H. They differed from the RF-101G (an equivalent conversion of the F-101A) only in having the strengthened airframe of the C.

Along with the RF-101G, the RF-101Hs served with the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/189th Tactical Fighter Group of the Arkansas ANG, with the 165th TRS/123rd TFG of the Kentucky ANG, and with the 192nd TRS of the Nevada ANG. Beginning in 1970, these aircraft were supplemented by RF-101Cs retired from active USAF stocks. In 1971, the ANG fleet was rationalized, with all RF-101Hs being assigned to the Kentucky ANG. The Kentucky ANG transferred its RF-101Gs to the Arkansas ANG, and upon the arrival of RF-101Bs, the Nevada ANG sent its RF-101Hs to the Kentucky ANG at Louisville. The last reconnaissance Voodoos were withdrawn from ANG service in 1979.

 

Serials of RF-101H:

54-1486/1493		McDonnell F-101C-40-MC Voodoo 
				1486/1488 converted to RF-101H
				1491 converted to RF-101H
				1493 converted to RF-101H
56-0001/0005		McDonnell F-101C-40-MC Voodoo
				0001/0004 converted to RF-101H.
56-0006/0019		McDonnell F-101C-45-MC Voodoo
				0006 converted to RF-101H.
				0010/0012 converted to RF-101H.
				0011 at Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ.
				0014 converted to RF-101H.
				0016 converted to RF-101H.
				0018,0019 converted to RF-101H.
56-0020/0032		McDonnell F-101C-50-MC Voodoo
				0020 converted to RF-101H.
				0022,0023 converted to RF-101H.
				0025/0027 converted to RF-101H.
				0029/0032 converted to RF-101H
56-0033/0039		McDonnell F-101C-55-MC Voodoo
				0033/0036 converted to RF-101H
				0039 converted to RF-101H

Sources:

  1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume II, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1990.
     
  2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament, Bill Gunston, Orion, 1988.
     
  3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.
     
  4. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.
     
  5. Fighters of the United States Air Force, Robert F. Dorr and David Donald, Temple Press Aerospace, 1990.
     
  6. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.
     
  7. Post-World War II Fighters, 1945-1973, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1986.
     
  8. McDonnell F-88/F-101 Voodoo Variant Briefing, Robert F. Dorr, Wings of Fame, Vol 1, 1996.
     
  9. E-mail from Al Vermeulen with correction on the number of RF-101Gs. Swanborough and Bowers list 18 serial numbers converted, whereas Dorr and Francillon both list 29. In addition, there was a problem with the number of JF-101A conversions. Swanborough and Bowers list 7 JF-101A conversions, whereas Dorr and Francillon both list only one, the Adrian Drew plane.

 

 

The F-101 Picture Gallery

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

 

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