Northrop F-89J Scorpion 52-1911
Photographed in the Cold War Gallery at the USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, on 7 September 2006.
Northrop designed the F-89 as an all-weather fighter-interceptor for the Air Defense Command. With the radar operator in the rear seat guiding the pilot, the F-89 could locate, intercept and destroy enemy aircraft by day or night under all types of weather conditions. The first F-89 made its initial flight in August 1948 and deliveries to the Air Force began in July 1950. Northrop produced a total of 1,050 F-89s for the Air Force.
On July 19, 1957, an F-89J (a modified F-89D) fired a Genie test rocket with a nuclear warhead, which detonated over a Nevada test range. This marked the first launch of an air-to-air rocket with a nuclear warhead. Northrop converted 350 F-89Ds to J models, Air Defense Command's first fighter-interceptor to carry nuclear armament. Powered by two Allison J35 engines, each capable of producing 7,200 pounds thrust with afterburner, the F-89J had a cruising speed of 465 mph.
The Maine Air National Guard transferred the Scorpion shown here to the museum in July 1969. This aircraft was the last F-89 in service with an operational unit. It is painted to represent an F-89J (S/N 53-2509) assigned to the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in the late 1950s. Based at Ladd Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, it carries insignia red arctic markings.
Picture added on 06 March 2011 at 07:22