The General Electric J79 was one of the most successful high-performance jet engines in aviation history, whose project dates back to the early 1950s, since it was originally designed for the Lockheed F-104 supersonic interceptor aircraft. Since the first prototypes, the engine featured many innovative constructive characteristics of high technical value. Later, numerous models with several technical and performance improvements were developed for military and civilian application. The J79 had a very long operational life, with an extensive production lasting over 30 years: in total more than 17000 units were built in the United States and, under license, in several other countries. In Italy it was produced in various versions by FIAT and Alfa Romeo for the F-104 of the Italian Air Force.