The classic Cold War design of the F-89 Scorpion was the product of a 1945 USAAF specification for a night fighter. The aircraft was to have a crew of two with an offensive armament of six 20mm cannon. The prototype was first flown on August 16, 1948 by test pilot Fred C. Bretcher. The first major production model was the F-89D, which swapped the cannon for a phalanx of 104 missiles. The final version was the F-89J, which carried two Genie nuclear-tipped missiles along with four Falcon air-to-air missiles tipped with high explosives. Both the D and J versions used highly advanced Hughes fire control systems coupled with radar and computers. Although the Scorpion appears quaint and dated now, these were highly advanced aircraft for their time. The Howard Hughes movie Jet Pilot starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh prominently features the F-89 as a 'supporting actor.'
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