The Shrike family of small single pilot fighters was originally born out of the need for an airframe designed around the Lockdyne HSSSM (High Speed Ship to Ship Missile) project. The specifications for the Lockdyne missile required a specialized single pilot ship be constructed for use during the test phase of the missile. The missile was a failure and the contract was awarded to Argonaut Industries. The fighter prototype proved extremely capable and further testing was requested by the military along with funding for three additional prototypes, each with a slight design variation for different operational requirements within the fleet. The original prototype (now designated the Shrike Mk. I) was reconfigured as a structural testbed and was subsequently destroyed in a flight test accident when a fuel line ruptured and the onboard fire suppression system failed to operate forcing the emergency ejection of the pilot. Five months after the initial go ahead the three prototypes were unveiled (designated Shrike Mk. II, III & IV) and testing began immediately. The Mk. II was a straight ship-to-ship dogfighter. The Mk. III was a two-seat modification to allow for the inclusion of a second crew member to operate the newly developed class IIISR sensor system. The Mk. IV ironically was a slightly modified version of the original prototype capable of carrying the Argonaut Industries HSSSM-12 (the missile selected by the military over the Lockdyne designed HSSSM missile). Each prototype performed beyond expectations and full production commenced after only 170 days of testing. With only minor changes made for the production versions, the new fighters entered service one year later with IOC (Initial Operational Capability) reached after just two years from the beginning of full scale production.