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The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

The Voodoo was a result of the XF-88 experimental fighter program, which underwent successful evaluation during 1949-50. An interesting offshoot was the XF-88B, designed for research into supersonic propeller design. It had two Westinghouse J34's and a nose mounted Allison XT-38 turboprop engine.

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The first production version of the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo flew on September 29th 1954 (F-101A.)

The original specifications called for a long range escort fighter, however the Voodoo was adapted for a multi-role interceptor, fighter/bomber. The aircraft pictured here is the CF 101B (F 101B) a two seat long range interceptor. The RCAF received delivery of these aircraft, July 24th, 1961. Armament was two Genie MB-1 unguided ballistic ROCKET and three falcon guided missiles or bombs. The USAF Version did not carry bombs.

The RF-101C served in three major commands: TAC, USAFE, and PACAF.  It participated in the first TAC organised mobile strike forces -- to the Taiwan Straights and the first Lebanon crisis.  It was next assigned to USAFE and to PACAF organic recce squadrons where it served the Cold War war plans sitting ready alert both in the recce mission and in the nuke delivery strike mode. The RF-101C provided the low level photography of the Cuban missiles, not as well publicised as the U-2 but extremely important.  The RF-101C served in South East Asia starting in 1961, one of the earliest commitments to what became the Vietnam War.  It served with distinction during that war from bases at Tan Son Nhut near Saigon and from Udorn in northern Thailand.  It flew the most dangerous and demanding photo missions over North Vietnam either alone or in pairs until the fall of 1967, when the RF-4C took over this portion of the mission.  It continued flying recce out of TSN until the early 1970's.  The earlier RF-101A's served principally in the training and test mission in TAC. Many of the tactical F-101A and C's were subsequently modified into RF-101G and H's for the Air National Guard, until the retiring RF-101C's became available for that mission.  Some RF-101G/H's were deployed to Korea.  The last variation of the F-101 was the RF-101B, a strange looking plane produced by trading back F-101B airframes from Canada and adding a recce front end.
This plane served only with the Reno ANG and did not see overseas service so far as I know.

This long and distinguished service in combat and expeditionary service strongly demands comment.  To discuss the successful but peaceful use of the F-101B without equal or better treatment of the heroic RF-101C is to do a disservice to aviation history.

Information courtesy of Bob Archibald, Lt Col, USAF (ret) Santa Rosa, CA. Bob flew the RF-101C in all three major air commands on three
continents.  Flying a total of 120 missions in Vietnam (50 north/70 south).  The combat loss rate of the RF-101C was about the same as the F-105 and many fine men died in combat or rotted in Hanoi prisons.


The early (cancelled) USAF, TAC version of the F-101 was to be used as a 'Toss Bomber'. But the inherent pitch-up problem with the F-101 design brought that to a quick end. That is why the F-101 was re-designed (somewhat) and used by ADC as a conventional and Nuclear missile and Nuclear rocket delivery system. Thanks to Mr. Shadow for this information.


The F-101B was powered by two J57-P-55 engines (14,880 lb. St., afterburning.)

Wing-span 39' 8" (12.09 m.) length 67' 5" (20.55 m.), max T/O weight 45,000 lbs. (21,090 kg.), max speed 1,220 mph (1,963 km/h.) range 1,550 miles (2,495 km.)


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Wings Over The Pacific was updated January 16, 1999