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F-89 Scorpion All-Weather Fighter-Interceptor

F-89D Scorpions in formation ... Serial Number 32623 inthe foreground, Buzz Number FV-623U.S. Air Force F-89D Scorpions in formation, S/N 32623 in the foreground

Northrop designed the F-89 as an all-weather fighter-interceptor for the Air Defense Command.

With the radar operator in the rear seat guiding the pilot, the F-89 could locate, intercept and destroy enemy aircraft by day or night under all types of weather conditions.

The first F-89 made its initial flight in August 1948 and deliveries to the Air Force began in July 1950.

Though its straight wings limited its performance, the F-89 was among the first Air Force jet fighters with guided missiles, and notably the first combat aircraft armed with air-to-air nuclear weapons.

Northrop produced a total of 1,050 F-89s for the Air Force.

Technical Specifications of the Northrop F-89 Scorpion

F-89 Scorpion
F-89 Scorpion (from the Airplanes of the Past Topps Wings Friend or Foe collection)

Armament: 2 AIR-2A Genie air-to-air rockets w. nuclear warheads plus 4 AIM-4C Falcon missiles
Engines: Two Allison J35s of 7,200 lbs. thrust each (with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 627 mph
Cruising speed: 465 mph
Range: 1,600 miles
Ceiling: 45,000 ft.
Span: 59 ft. 10 in.
Length: 53 ft. 8 in.
Height: 17 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 47,700 lbs. maximum
Production Numbers and Surviving F-89 Aircraft

F-89 Scorpion Survivors

Only 19 F-89s survive today, including the F-89s in the photographs below.

Northrup F-89J Scorpion S/N 53-2674 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Northrup F-89J Scorpion S/N 53-2674
Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322 at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
Side view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322, side view


Front view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
Front view of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
Cockpit area of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
Cockpit area of Northrup F-89H Scorpion S/N 54-322
F-89 Scorpion at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida
F-89 Scorpion at Eglin AFB
F-89J Scorpion 53-2463 at the Museum of Aviation in Warner-Robins, Georgia
F-89J Scorpion 53-2463


F-89 Photos by Our Friends and Supporters

U.S. Air Force F-89J Scorpion, Serial Number 53-2646
Originally built by Northrup as a F-89D, it was later converted to a F-89J. Assigned to the Wisconsin ANG 176th FIS. Was at Florence Air and Missile Museum, South Carolina. Located in 2010 at Friendship Park, Smithfield, OH, it is currently at the Jefferson County Veterans Association in Steubenville, Ohio
(photo courtesy of R. Nelson)
U.S. Air Force F-89J Scorpion, Serial Number 53-2646
Northrup F-89 Scorpion at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
Northrup F-89 Scorpion on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
F-89D on display in Nampa, Idaho in the markings of the Idaho Air Guard
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-89D on display in Nampa, Idaho
F-89J Scorpion, S/N 53-2547, of the Montana Air Guard, on display at Great Falls Air National Guard Base, Montana (photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-89J Scorpion, S/N 53-2547, of the Montana Air Guard, on display at Great Falls Air National Guard Base, Montana