In the late 1950s, the RCAF began looking for a replacement for the Sabres in its NATO squadrons in Europe. The lightweight and exceptionally fast Lockheed F-104G was selected and produced under licence by Canadair in Montreal. The first CF-104s came into service in 1961 and they were a mainstay of our NATO fighter force until 1986. Canadian squadrons equipped with the CF-104 won most of the NATO training competitions during the 1960s and 1970s.
Training for the CF-104 was carried out at No. 6 Strike/Reconnaissance Operational Training Unit at CFB Cold Lake. Servicing and upgrading of CF-104s was done at North West Industries facility in Edmonton. A two seater training version, the CF-104 D, was used to introduce pilots to an airplane that could exceed Mach 2.
Our CF-104 is an American-built airplane flown by the Netherlands Air Force and acquired from a museum there. Essentially identical to the CF-104D, it has been refinished in the Cold Lake colors of the 1960s and 1970s.