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F-89 Scorpion All-Weather Fighter-Interceptor

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-623U.S. Air Force F-89D Scorpions in formation, S/N 32623 in the foreground

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 Planes of the Past Topps Wings Friend or Foe collection)

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).

Original F-89 Scorpion Photographs by the Planes of the Past Staff

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, Hill Aerospace Museum
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
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 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 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

F-89 Photos by Our Friends and Supporters

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

 

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