Jagdgeschwader 74
Jagdgeschwader 74 (74th Fighter Wing) is an aviation unit of the German Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

, based on Neuburg
Neuburg an der Donau
Neuburg an der Donau, literally Neuburg on the Danube River, is a town which is the capital of the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen district in the state of Bavaria in Germany.-Divisions:The municipality has 16 divisions:-History:...

 air base in Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 since 1961.

JG 74 provides air defence duties for southern Germany. The wing operates two squadrons, the Falken (Falcons) squadron and the Viva Zapata squadron.


JG 74 was activated as the last West German fighter wing on 5 May 1961. It was equipped with the F-86K Sabre
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

 interceptor and first based at Leipheim
Leipheim is a town in the district of Günzburg, in Bavaria, Germany. It is situated on the Danube, 5 km west of Günzburg, and 17 km northeast of Ulm. The village Riedheim and the hamlet Weissingen are districts of Leipheim...

 in 1960 as JG 75. It moved to Neuburg an der Donau
Neuburg an der Donau
Neuburg an der Donau, literally Neuburg on the Danube River, is a town which is the capital of the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen district in the state of Bavaria in Germany.-Divisions:The municipality has 16 divisions:-History:...

 air base a short time later after this base had been opened and was renamed JG 74. In the period from 1964/66 JG 74 received the F-104G Starfighter
F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

. The Starfighter proved to be a troublesome aircraft for the Luftwaffe, which lost 292 of 916 Starfighters, 116 pilots died. JG 74 also lost several of them until the wing converted to the F-4F Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

 in 1974.

The F-4F was a downgraded F-4E which could not fire the medium range AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

 air-to-air missile. The use was forbidden until Germany became fully sovereign in 1990. Since then the F-4Fs were upgraded to F-4F ICE standard in the 1990s and were finally equipped to use the AIM-120 AMRAAM
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM , is a modern beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with the same form-factor as the previous generation of semi-active guided Sparrow missiles, it is a fire-and-forget...

 missile. Due to the smoke generated by the F-4's General Electric J79 engines, the German pilots dubbed the F-4F the "Air Defence Diesel". The last of the F-4Fs was retired on 12 June 2008.

From 2006 to June 2008 JG 74 transitioned to the Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...



32 years after the crash and death of the German World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 fighter ace Werner Mölders
Werner Mölders
Werner Mölders was a World War II German Luftwaffe pilot and the leading German fighter ace in the Spanish Civil War. Mölders became the first pilot in aviation history to claim 100 aerial victories—that is, 100 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft, and was...

, JG 74 received the honourary name of "JG 74 Mölders" on 22 November 1973. However, the German parliament decided in 1998 that it is not proper to name organizations after people who were active in the Legion Condor. The German Military History Institute researched Mölders conduct and concluded that he concurred in his actions with the Nazi government, and never opposed any actions taken by the Nazis. Therefore the name "Mölders" was dropped by JG 74 on 11 June 2005.
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