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to replace the outdated Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and R-84F Thunderflash; the Canadair F-86E Sabre Mk.5 and Sabre Mk.6 and the FIAT F-86K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After being withdrawn from operational service, a few German F-104s continued to serve with the test and evaluation unit WDT 61.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.
On 30 July 2008, Lockheed F-104G Starfighter 24+85 of the 'Historic Aircraft Collection' at Wittmund AB was seen in German Air Force JG 71 colors.
Lockheed RF-104G Starfighter s/n 683D-8235, company model 683-04-10 was built by Fokker and flown first as KG+335 at Amsterdam-Schiphol on 16 March 1964.
After being handed over the Luftwaffe on 6 July 1964, RF-104G KG+355 was stored with LVR 3 (Luftwaffenversorgungsregiment 3) at Manching. On 3 September
1965, the RF-104G was finally delivered as EB+232 to Aufklarungsgeschwader 51 (AG51) at Ingolstadt-Manching AB. On 13 July 1966, the RF-104G was transferred
to Aufklarungsgeschwader 52 (AG52) at Leck AB where the code changed to 24+85. On 6 October 1971, RF-104G 24+85 went to the Waffenschule der Luftwaffe 10
(WaSLw 10) at Jever AB. In December 1971, the RF-104G was modified by Messcherschmitt to the AWX (All Weather Fighter) version F-104G. On 5 May 1972, F-104G
24+85 went to JG 74 at Neuburg AB; for a short period the 24+85 went on loan to the Marineflieger and entered service with MFG 1 (Marinefliegergeschwader 1).
The 24+85 returned to the Luftwaffe with LVR 1 (Luftwaffenversorgungsregiment 1), was withdrawn from use at Erding AB and became an instructional airframe
with Erprobungsstelle 61 (ESt61) on 10 September 1975. Finally, the Starfighter found its home at Wittmund AB, where it after a thorough restoration is
preserved as in JG71 colors as 24+85 with the 'Historic Aircraft Collection' in the museum hangar at Fliegerhorst Wittmund.