McDonnell RF-101B Voodoo

Last revised April 15, 2017

After having been returned to the USA, 22 of the Canadian CF-101Bs were modified by the Ling-Temco-Vought Corporation of Greenville, South Carolina as two seat reconnaissance aircraft. This was done under a December 30, 1968 contract that was issued to cover a perceived shortfall in tactical reconnaissance capability. The armament and fire control system in the nose of the F-101B were replaced by a battery of forward and vertical cameras in a nose of modified contour. The reconnaissance package that was installed included three KS-87B cameras in forward, left split vertical, and right split vertical configurations, plus two AXQ-2 television cameras in forward-looking and downward-looking positions. Most of the instrumentation in the rear cockpit was removed, and the pilot's cockpit was equipped with a TV viewfinder control indicator. The flying boom receptacle installed on later F-101Bs was added behind the cockpit.

These modified aircraft were redesignated RF-101B. This work was carried out between September 1971 and January 1972. Serials were 59-391, 397, 398, 402/404, 410, 436, 411, 447, 448, 450,452, 453, 457, 459, 463, 467, 477, and 481/483. A 23rd F-101B (57-0301) was a development test airframe and did not come from Canada. It was an ex-USAF machine and had been similarly modified before being assigned to the Air Force Logistics Command as a test vehicle.

Upon their completion, the RF-101B conversions were immediately turned over to the 192nd TRS of the Nevada Air National Guard. Upon the arrival of the RF-101Bs, the 192nd TRS sent its RF-101H (a reconnaissance conversion of the F-101C) aircraft to the Kentucky ANG, while the Kentucky ANG sent its RF-101G (a reconnaissance conversion of the F-101A) aircraft to the Arkansas ANG. It turned out that the RF-101B was extremely expensive to operate in the field, requiring several costly and time-consuming fixes in order to maintain an acceptable operating standard. The career of the RF-101B with the Nevada ANG was relatively brief, giving way to the RF-4C Phantom in 1975.


  1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume II, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  2. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  4. Fighters of the United States Air Force, Robert F. Dorr and David Donald, Temple Press Aerospace, 1990.

  5. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  6. Post-World War II Fighters, 1945-1973, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1986.

  7. McDonnell F-88/F-101 Voodoo Variant Briefing, Robert F. Dorr, Wings of Fame, Vol 1, 1996.

  8. E-mail from Dirk Lamarque on 59-424, 59-453