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Northrop designed the F-89 as an all-weather fighter-interceptor for the Air Defense Command.

F-89D Scorpions in formation ... Serial Number 32623 inthe foreground, Buzz Number FV-623F-89D Scorpions in formation (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

With the radar operator in the rear seat guiding the pilot, the F-89 couldĀ 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.

Though its straight wings limited its performance, the F-89 was among the first Air Force jet fighters with guided missiles, and notably the first combat aircraft armed with air-to-air nuclear weapons.

Technical Specifications of the Northrop F-89 Scorpion

F-89 Scorpion
F-89 Scorpion
(from the Topps Wings Friend or Foe cards)

Armament: 2 AIR-2A Genie air-to-air rockets w. nuclear warheads plus 4 AIM-4C Falcon missiles
Engines: Two Allison J35s of 7,200 lbs. thrust each (with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 627 mph
Cruising speed: 465 mph
Range: 1,600 miles
Ceiling: 45,000 ft.
Span: 59 ft. 10 in.
Length: 53 ft. 8 in.
Height: 17 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 47,700 lbs. maximum

Production Numbers and Surviving F-89 Aircraft

Northrop produced a total of 1,050 F-89s for the Air Force.

Only 19 F-89s survive today, including the F-89J on display at the Piama Air & Space Museum in Tucson (see photo below).

Photos Courtesy of the Author

Northrup F-89J Scorpion S/N 53-2674 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Northrup F-89J Scorpion S/N 53-2674 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Side view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Side view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Front view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Front view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Cockpit area of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Air Force Base Museum
Cockpit area of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Air Force Base Museum
F-89 Scorpion on display at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida
F-89 Scorpion on display at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida
F-89J Scorpion 53-2463 on display at the Museum of Aviation in Warner-Robins, Georgia
F-89J Scorpion 53-2463 on display at the Museum of Aviation in Warner-Robins, Georgia

Photos Courtesy of Our Friends and Supporters

Northrup F-89 Scorpion on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
(photo courtesy of Michael Hoschouer)
Northrup F-89 Scorpion on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska

F-89 Scorpion Photographs from the U.S. Air Force

Air Force F-89B Scorpion S/N 92450, Buzz Number FV-450, on tarmac (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
Air Force F-89B Scorpion S/N 92450, Buzz Number FV-450, on tarmac
Air Force F-89D Scorpions flying in formation, S/N 21959 in foreground (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
Air Force F-89D Scorpions flying in formation, S/N 21959 in foreground
U.S. Air Force F-89H Scorpion, Buzz Number FV-938, in flight (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
U.S. Air Force F-89H Scorpion, Buzz Number FV-938, in flight
Air Force F-89J Scorpion at the Museum of the U.S.Air Force in Dayton, OH
Based at Ladd Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, this planeĀ carries insignia red arctic markings.
(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
Air Force F-89J Scorpion at the Museum of the U.S.Air Force in Dayton, OH


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