West Germany received over the years a total of 916 Lockheed F-104 Starfighters that were operated by both the Luftwaffe and Marine.
Due to the sad record of the loss of 233 aircraft with 52 fatally injured pilots, the Starfighter was scolded as widow maker "Witwenmacher".
In October 1958, the Federal Republic of Germany selected the Lockheed F-104 as its primary fighter aircraft. On 6 February 1959, a formal
contract was announced for 66 model 683/F-104G and 30 model 283/F-104F to be built by Lockheed at Palmdale. The F-104 Starfighter was selected
to replace the outdated Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and R-84F Thunderflash; the Canadair F-86E Sabre Mk.5 and Sabre Mk.6 and the FIAT F-86K
Sabre jet aircrafts in service with the Federal German Air Force (Luftwaffe der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and the Hawker Sea Hawk Mk.100 and
Mk.101 in service with the Bundesmarine (West German Navy). Over the years, Germany received a total of 916 F-104s in 4 versions, comprising 749
F/RF-104Gs, 137 TF-104Gs and 30 F-104Fs, forming the major combat and reconnaissance equipment of both the Luftwaffe and Marineflieger. The
Starfighters were operational with the Luftwaffe and Marineflieger in the period February 1962 - September 1988, with its peak in the mid-1970s.
After being withdrawn from operational service, a few German F-104s continued to serve with the test and evaluation unit WDT 61. This unit
retired its last remaining Starfighter on 22 May 1991, bringing the flying career of the German Starfighters to an end.