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McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

 

mdf-101
F-101


Though the 1950 penetration fighter competition among XF-88, XF-90 and YF-93A resulted in no production contract, the Strategic Air Command still wanted an escort fighter, its F-84F being seen as only an interim solution. McDonnell's design team under Herman Barkey responded with the heaviest single-seat fighter ever built. Powered by two 5307kg Pratt & Whitney J57-P-13 turbojets, the F-101 would carry four 20mm cannon plus three Hughes GAR-ID or GAR-2A Falcon missiles or 127mm high-velocity aircraft rockets (HVAR) mounted on rotary bomb doors. A single-seater, with the two engines side-by-side, the wing has a 35 degree sweepback on the leading edge and distinctive 'W'-shape trailing edge.

The first F-101A flew on 29 September 1954 at St Louis, and exceeded Mach 1 on its maiden flight. This was a production craft, there being no service-test machine. SAC dropped its requirement and the 77 F-101As built went to the Tactical Air Command. The first delivery was made 2 May 1957 to the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing. Seven of these airframes were later designated JF-101A while being used for temporary tests.


McD-F101A
F-101A Voodoo

 

The first of two YRF-101A service-test reconnaissance Voodoos flew on 10 May 1956, followed by 35 RF-101A airframes delivered to TAC's 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. The reconnaissance Voodoo had a lengthened nose with space for downward or oblique cameras and other sensors.

 

Voodoo-Rec

On 12 December 1957, Major Adrian E. Drew, USAF, established a World Air Speed Record of 1207.6 mph, in an F-101 Voodoo.


An RF-101A was shot down during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

The F-101B Voodoo was developed by modifying the single seat F-101 fighter involved extending the fuselage forward to house a new weapons system and a second crewman to operate it. The bigger F-101B Voodoo was fitted with 5438kg Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-55 engines, with their characteristic large afterburners.

The first F-101B flew on 27 March 1957 at St Louis. For long-range intercept, it could carry two Douglas MB-1 Genie nuclear unguided rockets as well as three Falcons. Deliveries began on 18 March 1959 to the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

Eventually, the F-101B equipped 16 ADC squadrons, guarding against the Soviet bomber threat to North America. ANG units operated the F-101B between 1970 and 1982.

The JF-101B designation was applied to two machines used for temporary tests. One NF-101B was structurally modified for development work. Very late in their careers, with reconnaissance Voodoos still needed long after the interceptor variant was retired, 22 of the two-seat airframes were converted to RF-101B. The TF-101B was a version of the interceptor with full dual controls.

The F-101C single-seat tactical fighter differed from the F-101A primarily in having the capability to carry a US tactical nuclear weapon, and 47 were delivered to TAC.


The RF-101C, the first of which was flown 12 July 1957, was an improved development of the RF-101A; 166 went to TAC squadrons. The USAF began operating the RF-101C in South East Asia in 1964 and suffered its first combat loss on 21 November 1964 when an RF-101C of the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was shot down over Laos.

Though not as much publicised as other combat types, the RF-101C remained in combat until 1970. No less than 31 airframes were lost in battle, plus another six to operational causes. In the mid-1960s, a few RF-101Cs served with the Nationalist Chinese air force, flying clandestine missions over the mainland.

Other Voodoo variants were the F-101F, the USAF designation for the CF-101F interceptor operated by Canadian forces; the RF-101G, a conversion of high-hour RF-101A airframes for reconnaissance duties with the Air National Guard; and the RF-101H, another reconnaissance conversion.

After the cancellation of the Avro Arrow in February 1959, Canada urgently needed a fast interceptor to meet the continued threat from manned Soviet bombers. By late 1959, the RCAF picked the Voodoo as the aircraft that best met Canada’s requirements. In June 1961, the RCAF agreed to purchase sixty six nearly new CF-101B Voodoos from existing USAF stocks. The deal transferred the aircraft to five front line squadrons and an OTU, to replace obsolete CF-100s.
 
In 1961 and 1962, 410 Cougar and 425 Alouette Squadrons of Bagotville, 409 Night Hawk Squadron of Comox, and 416 Lyns Squadron of Chatham were equipped with 66 Voodoos in total (55 CF-101B and 10 CF-101F), all built by McDonnell-Douglas.
At the beginning of the 1970’s, the aging CAF Voodoo fleet was exchanged for sixty six lower timed USAF Voodoos. These replacement aircraft were equipped with a superior missile control system. Even with the Voodoo fleet restored to its original size, serviceability began to be a problem. In 1977, the CAF launched a program to find a new fighter to replace the Voodoo and by April 1980, the search eventually narrowed down to the CF-18 Hornet.
 
Since the Summer of 1983 eah of the four Voodoo Squadrons has been stood down. First 410 Squadron converted to the CF-18 OTU. 409 Squdaron became the first operational CF-18 Sqn. 425 and 416 Squadrons received CF-18s in December 1984.
 
McD-EF101B
EF-101B 101067 “Electric” Voodoo
 
One aircraft remained in service. The CAF received Voodoo 191067 in the early 1980s and modified it to an EF-101B for ECM duties. The aircraft ws operated by 414 ‘Electronic Warfare’ Sqn and known as the “Electric” Voodoo. The EF-101B was retired by the end of 1986.
 
Most of the Voodoo fleet was phased-out by the end of 1984 and the last Voodoo flight anywhere was made in April 1987, when #101006 was delivered to CFB Chatham for display at CFB Cornwallis.

 

One F-101B appeared briefly on the US civil register, as N8234, used for thunderstorm research by Colorado State University.

The McDonnell Aircraft Co. manufactured 479 F-101B Voodoos in the United States, between 1957 and 1961. The F-101B Voodoo served with the United States, Canadian and Taiwanese Air Forces.

 

Gallery


F-101
Engines: 2 x P&W J-57-P-13, 52.0kN
Max take-off weight: 18000-22250 kg / 39683 - 49053 lb
Empty weight: 12700 kg / 27999 lb
Wingspan: 12.1 m / 39 ft 8 in
Length: 20.6 m / 67 ft 7 in
Height: 5.5 m / 18 ft 1 in
Wing area: 43.2 sq.m / 465.00 sq ft
Max. speed: 1940 km/h / 1205 mph
Cruise speed: 950 km/h / 590 mph
Ceiling: 15800 m / 51850 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 4800 km / 2983 miles
Crew: 1
Armament: 4 x 20mm machine-guns, 15 missiles

 

F-101A Voodoo
Long-range escort fighter
Engines: 2x Pratt and Whitney J57 turbojets 10,000 lb. thrust with afterburners.
Crew: 1
Wingspan: 39 ft. 8 in
Length: 67 ft. 5 in
Armament: 4x20 mm. cannon

F-101B Voodoo

Engines: 2 x Pratt&Whitney J57-P-55, 53347 N / 16,900 lb
Length: 67ft 5in / 20.54 m
Height: 18.012 ft / 5.49 m
Wingspan: 39ft 8in / 12.09 m
Max take off weight: 46679.9 lb / 21170.0 kg
Max. speed: 1060 kts / 1963 km/h / 1,134 mph at 35,000 feet
Service ceiling: 52001 ft / 15850 m
Range: 1350 nm / 2500 km
Crew: 2
Armament: 3x Missile AIM-4E Super Falcon, 2x AIR-2A Genie

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McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

 

 


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