- F-4 Phantom II
name=F-4 Phantom II
national origin =
McDonnell Aircraft/ McDonnell Douglas
caption=F-4E from 347th TFW dropping convert|500|lb|abbr=on
Mark 82 bombs
first flight=27 May 1958
introduction=30 December 1960
status=744 active in non-US service, and as drones, as of 2001
unit cost=US$2.4 million when new (F-4E)
United States Air Force
United States Navy United States Marine Corps
variants with their own articles=
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II [The aircraft was originally designated the AH, and later re-designated F4H. The F-4 designation came about in 1961 when the designation systems for all branches of the military were unified by the order of U.S.
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Within McDonnell Aircraft, the F-4 was referred to as Model 98.] is a two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonicfighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Aircraft.Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 301.] Proving highly adaptable, it became a major part of the air wings of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. It was used extensively by all three of these services during the Vietnam War, serving as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, as well as being important in the ground-attack and reconnaissanceroles by the close of U.S. involvement in the war. [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/index.htm Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th.] Boeing. Retrieved: 19 January 2008.]
First entering service in 1960, the Phantom continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the
F-15 Eagleand F-16 Fighting Falconin the U.S. Air Force; the F-14 Tomcatand F/A-18 Hornetin the U.S. Navy; and the F/A-18 in the U.S. Marine Corps. It remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weaselroles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. The Phantom was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab–Israeli conflicts, while Iranused its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran–Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force.
The F-4 Phantom was designed as a
fleet defense fighterfor the U.S. Navy, and first entered service in 1960. By 1963, it had been adopted by the U.S. Air Force for the fighter-bomber role. When production ended in 1981, 5,195 Phantom IIs had been built, making it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft. [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/firstlast.htm F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th: First to Last.] Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] Until the advent of the F-15 Eagle, the F-4 also held a record for the longest continuous production for a fighter with a run of 24 years. Innovations in the F-4 included an advanced pulse-doppler radarand extensive use of titaniumin its airframe. [ [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/images/titanium.htm F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th: Current Uses of Titanium: F-4] Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. 1971. "F-4B/C 1,006 lb. 7.7% of Structure, F-J/E 1,261 lb. 8.5% of Structure". Retrieved: 14 February 2008.]
Despite the imposing dimensions and a
maximum takeoff weightof over 60,000 pounds (27,000 kg), Donald and Lake 1996, p. 268.] the F-4 had a top speed of Mach 2.23 and an initial climb of over 41,000 ft "per" minute (210 m/s). Dorr and Donald 1990, p. 198.] Shortly after its introduction, the Phantom set 15 world records, [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/firsts.htm Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th - Phantom "Phirsts".] Boeing. Retrieved: 14 December 2007.] including an absolute speed record of 1,606.342 mph (2,585.086 km/h), and an absolute altitude record of 98,557 ft (30,040 m). [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/bluebook/record.htm Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th - World Record Holder.] Boeing. Retrieved: 14 December 2007.] Although set in 1959–1962, five of the speed records were not broken until 1975 when the F-15 Eagle came into service.
The F-4 could carry up to 18,650 pounds (8,480 kg) of weapons on nine external
hardpoints, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and unguided, guided, and nuclear bombs. [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2276 McDonnell Douglas F-4D “Phantom II”.] National Museum of the USAF. Retrieved: 20 January 2008] Since the F-8 Crusaderwas to be used for close combat, the F-4 was designed, like other interceptors of the day, without an internal cannon. [Angelucci 1987, p. 310.] In a dogfight, the RIO or WSO (commonly called "backseater" or "pitter") assisted in spotting opposing fighters, visually as well as on radar. It became the primary fighter-bomber of both the Navy and Air Force by the end of the Vietnam War.
Due to its distinctive appearance and widespread service with United States military and its allies, the F-4 is one of the best-known icons of the
Cold War. It served in the Vietnam War and Arab–Israeli conflicts, with American F-4 crews claiming 277 aerial victories in Southeast Asia and completing countless ground attack sorties. [Angelucci 1987, p. 312.]
The F-4 Phantom has the distinction of being the last United States fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century. During the Vietnam War, the USAF had one pilot and two WSOs, and the USN one pilot and one RIO, become aces in air-to-air combat. It was also a capable tactical reconnaissance and Wild Weasel (suppression of enemy air defenses) platform, seeing action as late as 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.Donald Spring 1991, p. 26.] Donald Summer 1991, p. 22.]
The F-4 Phantom II was also the only aircraft used by both US flight demonstration teams. The USAF Thunderbirds (F-4E) and the USN
Blue Angels(F-4J) both switched to the Phantom for the 1969 season; the Thunderbirds flew it for five seasons, [Lake 1992, p. 190.] the Blue Angels for six. [Lake 1992, p. 203.]
The baseline performance of a Mach 2-class fighter with long range and a bomber-sized payload would be the template for the next generation of large and light/middle-weight fighters optimized for daylight air combat. The Phantom would be replaced by the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon in the U.S. Air Force. In the U.S. Navy, it would be replaced by the F-14 Tomcat and the F/A-18 Hornet which revived the concept of a dual-role attack fighter. [Donald, David. "Warplanes of the Fleet". London: AIRtime Publishing Inc., 2004. ISBN 1-880588-81-1.]
Design and development
In 1952, McDonnell's Chief of Aerodynamics, Dave Lewis, was appointed by CEO Jim McDonnell to be the company’s Preliminary Design Manager. [Thornborough and Davies 1994, p. 13.] With no new aircraft competitions on the horizon, internal studies concluded the Navy had the greatest need for a new and different aircraft type, an attack fighter. [Thornborough and Davies 1994, p. 11.]
In 1953, McDonnell Aircraft began work on revising its
F3H Demonnaval fighter, seeking expanded capabilities and better performance. The company developed several projects including a variant powered by a Wright J67 engine, Dorr 2008, p. 61.] and variants powered by two Wright J65engines, or two General Electric J79engines. [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/bluebook/develop.htm F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th - Phantom Development] "1978 Commemorative Book". Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Retrieved 14 February 2008] The J79-powered version promised a top speed of Mach 1.97. On 19 September 1953, McDonnell approached the United States Navywith a proposal for the "Super Demon". Uniquely, the aircraft was to be modular—it could be fitted with one- or two-seat noses for different missions, with different nose cones to accommodate radar, photo cameras, four 20 millimeter cannon, or 56 FFAR unguided rockets in addition to the nine hardpoints under the wings and the fuselage. The Navy was sufficiently interested to order a full-scale mock-up of the F3H-G/H but felt that the upcoming Grumman XF9F-9 and Vought XF8U-1 already satisfied the need for the supersonic fighter. [Lake 1992, p. 15.]
The McDonnell design was therefore reworked into an all-weather fighter-bomber with 11 external hardpoints for weapons and on 18 October 1954, the company received a letter of intent for two YAH-1 prototypes. On 26 May 1955, four Navy officers arrived at the McDonnell offices and, within an hour, presented the company with an entirely new set of requirements. Because the Navy already had the
A-4 Skyhawkfor ground attack and F-8 Crusader for dogfighting, the project now had to fulfill the need for an all-weather fleet defense interceptor. A second crewman was added to operate the powerful radar.
The XF4H-1 was designed to carry four semi-recessed AAM-N-6 Sparrow III radar-guided missiles, and to be powered by two J79-GE-8 engines. As in the
F-101 Voodoo, the engines sat low in the fuselage to maximize internal fuel capacity and ingested air through fixed geometry intakes. The thin-section wing had a leading edge sweep of 45 degrees and was equipped with a boundary layer control systemfor better low-speed handling. Wind tunneltesting had revealed lateral instability requiring the addition of five degrees dihedralto the wings.Donald and Lake 2002 ] To avoid redesigning the titanium central section of the aircraft, McDonnell engineers angled up only the outer portions of the wings by 12 degrees which averaged to the required five degrees over the entire wingspan. The wings also received the distinctive "dogtooth" for improved control at high angles of attack. The all-moving tailplane was given 23 degrees of anhedralto improve control at high angles of attack while still keeping the tailplane clear of the engine exhaust. In addition, air intakes were equipped with movable ramps to regulate airflow to the engines at supersonic speeds. All-weather intercept capability was achieved thanks to the AN/APQ-50radar. To accommodate carrier operations, the landing gear was designed to withstand landings with a sink rate of 23 ft per second (7 m/s), while the nose strut could extend by some 20 inches (50 cm) to increase angle of attack at takeoff.
Naming the aircraft
There were proposals to name the F4H "
Satan" and " Mithras", the Persian god of light. [ [http://www.kalaniosullivan.com/KunsanAB/OtherUnits/HowitwasbF4.html Kunsan Airbase F-4 Phantom II] ] In the end, the aircraft was given the less controversial name "Phantom II", the first "Phantom" being another McDonnell jet fighter, the FH-1 Phantom. The Phantom II was briefly given the designation F-110A and the name "Spectre" by the USAF, but neither title was used. [Angelucci 1987, p. 316.]
On 25 July 1955, the Navy ordered two XF4H-1 test aircraft and five YF4H-1 pre-production fighters. The Phantom made its maiden flight on 27 May 1958 with Robert C. Little at the controls. A hydraulic problem precluded retraction of the landing gear but subsequent flights went more smoothly. Early testing resulted in redesign of the air intakes, including the distinctive addition of 12,500
bleed airholes on each ramp; and the aircraft soon squared off against the XF8U-3 Crusader III. Due to operator workload, the Navy wanted a two-seat aircraft and on 17 December 1958 the F4H was declared a winner. Delays with the J79-GE-8 engines meant that the first production aircraft were fitted with J79-GE-2 and -2A engines, each having 16,100 pound-force (71.8 kN) of afterburning thrust. In 1959, the Phantom began carrier suitability trials with the first complete launch-recovery cycle performed on 15 February 1960 from USS "Independence".
Early in production, the radar was upgraded to a larger AN/APQ-72, necessitating the bulbous nose, and the canopy was reworked to improve visibility and make the rear cockpit less claustrophobic. [Lake 1992, p. 21.] The Phantom underwent a great many changes during its career, summarized in the "Variants" section below.
The USAF received Phantoms as the result of Defense Secretary
Robert McNamara's push to create a unified fighter for all branches of the military. After an F-4B won the "Operation Highspeed" fly-off against the F-106 Delta Dart, the USAF borrowed two Naval F-4Bs, temporarily designating them F-110A "Spectre" in January 1962, and developed requirements for their own version. Unlike the Navy focus on interception, the USAF emphasized a fighter-bomber role. With McNamara's unification of designations on 18 September 1962, the Phantom became the F-4 with the Naval version designated F-4B and USAF F-4C. The first Air Force Phantom flew on 27 May 1963, exceeding Mach 2 on its maiden flight.Knaack 1978, p. 266.]
Phantom II production ended in the United States in 1979 after 5,195 had been built (5,057 by McDonnell Douglas and 138 in Japan by Mitsubishi), making it the second most produced and exported American military-jet; the
F-86 Sabrestill remains the most numerous jet-powered warplane produced and exported by the United States. Of these, 2,874 went to the USAF, 1,264 to the Navy and Marine Corps, and the rest to foreign customers. [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/ Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th.] Boeing. Retrieved: 22 May 2007.] The last U.S.-built F-4 went to Turkey, while the last F-4 ever built was completed in 1981 as an F-4EJ by Mitsubishi Heavy Industriesin Japan. As of 2001, about 1,100 Phantoms remained in service worldwide, including QF-4 drones operated by the U.S. military.Green and Swanborough 2001]
*Operation Top Flight: On 6 December 1959, the second XF4H-1 performed a zoom climb to a world record 98,557 ft (30,040 m). The previous record of 94,658 ft (28,852 m) was set by a Soviet Sukhoi T-43-1 prototype. Commander Lawrence E. Flint, Jr., USN accelerated his aircraft to Mach 2.5 at 47,000 ft (14,330 m) and climbed to 90,000 ft (27,430 m) at a 45 degree angle. He then shut down the engines and glided to the peak altitude. As the aircraft fell through 70,000 ft (21,300 m), Flint restarted the engines and resumed normal flight. [Lake 1992, pp. 16, 17.]
* On 5 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,216.78 mph (1,958.16 km/h) over a 500 kilometer (311 mi) closed-circuit course.
* On 25 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,390.21 mph (2,237.26 km/h) over a 100 kilometer (62 mi) closed-circuit course.
* Operation LANA: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Naval aviation (L is the
Roman numeralfor 50 and ANA stood for Anniversary of Naval Aviation) on 24 May 1961, Phantoms flew across the continental United States in under three hours and included several tanker refuelings. The fastest of the aircraft averaged 869.74 mph (1,400.28 km/h) and completed the trip in 2 hours 47 minutes, earning the pilot (and future NASA Astronaut), Lieutenant Richard Gordon, USN and RIO, Lieutenant Bobbie Long, USN, the 1961 Bendix trophy. [ Stein, Alan J. [http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=1330 Seattle native Dick Gordon orbits the moon on November 18, 1969.] "HistoryLink.org". 13 June 1999. Retrieved: 13 February 2008.] [Grossnick, Roy A. [http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/PART09.PDF "Part 9 - The Sixth Decade 1960–1969"] . [http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/Prelim.pdf "United States Naval Aviation 1910-1995"] , Naval Historical Center, 1997.]
* Operation Sageburner: On 28 August 1961, a Phantom averaged 902.769 mph (1,452.826 km/h) over a three-mile (4.82 km) course flying below 125 ft (40 m) at all times. Commander J.L. Felsman, USN was killed during the first attempt at this record on 18 May 1961 when his aircraft disintegrated in the air after pitch damper failure. [ [http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/mcdonnel_F4A_sage.htm McDonnell F-4A (F4H-1) Phantom II "Sageburner"] National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved: 13 February 2008.]
* Operation Skyburner: On 22 December 1961, a modified Phantom with water injection set an absolute world record speed of 1,606.342 mph (2,585.086 km/h).
* On 5 December 1961, another Phantom set a sustained altitude record of 66,443.8 ft (20,252.1 m).
* Operation High Jump: A series of time-to-altitude records was set in early 1962; 34.523 seconds to 3,000 m (9,840 ft), 48.787 seconds to 6,000 m (19,680 ft), 61.629 seconds to 9,000 m (29,530 ft), 77.156 seconds to 12,000 m (39,370 ft), 114.548 seconds to 15,000 m (49,210 ft), 178.5 seconds to 20,000 m (65,600 ft), 230.44 seconds to 25,000 m (82,000 ft), and 371.43 seconds to 30,000 m (98,400 ft). Although not officially recognized, the Phantom zoom-climbed to over 100,000 ft (30,480 m) during the last attempt. [Thornborough and Davies 1994, p. 15.]
All in all, the Phantom set 16 world records. With the exception of Skyburner, all records were achieved in unmodified production aircraft. Five of the speed records remained unbeaten until the F-15 Eagle appeared in 1975.
In air combat, the Phantom's greatest advantage was its thrust, which permitted a skilled pilot to engage and disengage from the fight at will.Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf4_2.html#m3 Phantom Over Southeast Asia.] Vectorsite.net. Retrieved: 18 January 2008.]
The massive aircraft, designed to fire radar-guided missiles from beyond visual range, lacked the agility of its Soviet opponents and was subject to
adverse yawduring hard maneuvering. Although thus subject to irrecoverable spins during aileron rolls, pilots reported the aircraft to be very communicative and easy to fly on the edge of its performance envelope. In 1972, the F-4E model was upgraded with leading edge slatson the wing, greatly improving high-angle-of-attack maneuverability at the expense of top speed.
The J79 engines produced copious amounts of black smoke at military power which made the Phantoms easy to spot from a distance, a severe disadvantage in air combat against smaller aircraft. Pilots could eliminate the smoke by using
afterburner, but at the cost of fuel efficiency. [ [http://www.mapsairmuseum.org/f-4_phantom.htm McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom.] MAPS Air Museum at Akron-Canton Airport. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] Some pilots adopted the procedure of running one engine in dry thrust at normal power setting, and the other in afterburner, resulting in the same total thrust as using both engines at full rated military power without generating the tell-tale smoke trail.
The F-4's biggest weakness, as it was initially designed, was its lack of an internal cannon. For a brief period, doctrine held that turning combat would be impossible at supersonic speeds and little effort was made to teach pilots
air combat maneuvering. In reality, engagements quickly became subsonic. Furthermore, the relatively new heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles at the time were frequently reported as unreliable and pilots had to use multiple shots just to hit one target. To compound the problem, rules of engagementin Vietnam precluded long-range missile attacks in most instances, as visual identification was normally required. Many pilots found themselves on the tail of an enemy aircraft but too close to fire short-range Falcons or Sidewinders. Although in 1967 USAF F-4Cs began carrying SUU-16 or SUU-23 external gunpods containing a 20 millimeter M61 VulcanGatling cannon, USAF cockpits were not equipped with lead-computing gunsights, virtually assuring a miss in a maneuvering fight. Some Marine Corps aircraft carried two pods for strafing. In addition to the loss of performance due to drag, combat showed the externally mounted cannon to be inaccurate unless frequently boresighted, yet far more cost-effective than missiles. The lack of cannon was finally addressed by adding an internally mounted 20 millimeter M61 Vulcan on the F-4E.Higham and Williams 1978]
Note: Original amounts were in 1965
United States dollars.Knaack 1978] The figures in these tables have been adjusted for inflation.
United States Navy
On 30 December 1960, the VF-121 Pacemakers at
NAS Miramarbecame the first Phantom operator with its F4H-1Fs (F-4As). The VF-74 Be-devilers at NAS Oceanabecame the first deployable Phantom squadron when it received its F4H-1s (F-4Bs) on 8 July 1961.Thornborough and Davies 1994, p. 260.] The squadron completed carrier qualifications in October 1961 and Phantom’s first full carrier deployment between August 1962 and March 1963 aboard USS|Forrestal|CV-59. [Lake 1992, p. 199.] The second deployable US Atlantic Fleet squadron to receive F-4Bs was the VF-102 Diamondbacks, who promptly took their new aircraft on the shakedown cruise of USS "Enterprise". [Lake 1992, p. 200.] The first deployable US Pacific Fleet squadron to receive the F-4B was the VF-114 Aardvarks, which participated in the September 1962 cruise aboard USS "Kitty Hawk".
By the time of the
Tonkin Gulf incident, 13 of 31 deployable Navy squadrons were armed with the type. F-4Bs from USS "Constellation" made the first Phantom combat sortie of the Vietnam Waron 5 August 1964, flying bomber escort in Operation Pierce Arrow. Dorr 1995, p. 196.] The first Phantom air-to-air victory of the war took place on 9 April 1965 when an F-4B from VF-96 Fighting Falcons piloted by Lieutenant (junior grade) Terence M. Murphy and his RIO, Ensign Ronald Fegan, shot down a Chinese MiG-17 'Fresco'. The Phantom was then shot down, apparently by an AIM-7 Sparrow from one of its wingmen. There continues to be controversy over whether the Phantom was shot down by MiG guns or whether, as enemy reports later indicated, an AIM-7 Sparrow III from one of Murphy's and Fegan's wingmen.Burgess 1985, p. 388.] On 17 June 1965, an F-4B from VF-21 Freelancers piloted by Commander Thomas C. Page and Lieutenant John C. Smith shot down the first North Vietnamese MiG of the war. Dorr and Bishop 1996, p. 44.]
On 10 May 1972, Lieutenant Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Lieutenant (junior grade)
William P. Driscollflying an F-4J, call sign"Showtime 100", shot down three MiG-17s to become the first flying aces of the war. Their fifth victory was believed at the time to be over a mysterious North Vietnamese ace, Colonel Toon, now considered mythical. On the return flight, the Phantom was damaged by an enemy surface-to-air missile. To avoid being captured, Cunningham and Driscoll flew their burning aircraft upside down (the damage made the aircraft uncontrollable in a conventional attitude) until they could eject over water. Cunningham and Driscoll became USN aces by shooting down five or more enemy aircraft. Dorr and Bishop 1996, pp. 188–189.]
During the war, Navy Phantom squadrons participated in 84 combat tours with F-4Bs, F-4Js, and F-4Ns. The Navy claimed 40 air-to-air victories at the cost of 71 Phantoms lost in combat (5 to aircraft, 13 to SAMs, and 53 to AAA). An additional 54 Phantoms were lost in accidents. Of the 40 aircraft shot down by Navy and Marine Phantom crews, 22 were MiG-17s, 14 MiG-21s, two
Antonov An-2s, and two MiG-19s. Of these, eight aircraft were downed by AIM-7 Sparrow missiles and 31 by AIM-9 Sidewinders.Grossnick 1997.]
By 1983, the F-4Ns had been completely replaced by
F-14 Tomcats, and by 1986 the last F-4Ss were exchanged for F/A-18 Hornets. On 25 March 1986, an F-4S belonging to VF-151 Vigilantes became the last Navy Phantom to launch from an aircraft carrier, in this case, the USS "Midway". On 18 October 1986, an F-4S from the VF-202 Superheats, a Naval Reserve fighter squadron, made the last-ever Phantom carrier landing while operating aboard USS "America". In 1987, the last of the Naval Reserve-operated F-4Ss were replaced by F-14As. The last Phantoms in service with the Navy were QF-4 target drones operated by the Naval Air Warfare Centers. These were retired in 2004. [ Hunter, Jamie and Collens, Richard. [http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/2000s/2004/so/VX%2030.pdf "In Relentless Pursuit of Excellence:VX-30 Bloodhounds"] (PDF). "Naval Aviation News", September–October 2004, p. 26–29. Retrieved: 18 December 2007.]
United States Marine Corps
The Marines received their first F-4Bs in June 1962, with the "Black Knights" of
VMFA-314at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California becoming the first operational squadron. In addition to attack variants, the Marines also operated several tactical reconnaissance RF-4Bs. Marine Phantoms from VMFA-531arrived in Vietnam on 10 April 1965, flying close air support missions from land bases as well as from USS "America". Marine F-4 pilots claimed three enemy MiGs (two while on exchange duty with the USAF) at the cost of 75 aircraft lost in combat, mostly to ground fire, and four in accidents. On 18 January 1992, the last Marine Phantom, an F-4S, was retired by the "Cowboys" of VMFA-112. The squadron was re-equipped with F/A-18 Hornets. [ Crowther, M.J. and Baker, Rusty. [http://www.mfr.usmc.mil/4thmaw/mag41/Header/VMFA%20History/vmfa-112%20history.pdf The History of VMFA-112] Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved: 13 February 2008.]
United States Air Force
In USAF service the F-4 was initially designated the F-110 Spectre [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2320 National Museum of the U.S. Air Force] fact sheet discussing the F-110, retrieved 05/26/2008] prior to the introduction of the
1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system. At first reluctant to adopt a Navy fighter, the USAF quickly embraced the design and became the largest Phantom user. The first Air Force Phantoms in Vietnam were F-4Cs from the 555th "Triple Nickel" Tactical Fighter Squadron, [ [http://www.aviano.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4353 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Triple Nickel"] , 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office, Aviano Air Base, U.S. Air Force. Retrieved: 25 January 2008.] which arrived in December 1964.Dorr and Bishop 1996, p. 37.] Unlike the Navy, which flew the Phantom with a Naval Aviator(pilot) in the front seat and a Naval Flight Officeras a radar intercept officer (RIO) in the back seat, the Air Force initially flew its Phantoms with a rated pilot in the back seat. This policy was later changed to using a navigator qualified as a weapon/targeting systems officer (later designated as weapon systems officeror WSO) in the rear seat. However, because they originally flew with pilots in the rear seat, all USAF Phantoms retained dual flight controls throughout their service life.
USAF F-4Cs scored their first victories against North Vietnamese MiG-17s on 10 July 1965 using
AIM-9 Sidewinderair-to-air missiles.Dorr and Bishop 1996, p. 48–49.] On 24 July 1965, a Phantom from the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron on temporary assignment in Vietnam became the first American aircraft to be downed by an enemy SAM, and on 5 October 1966 an 8th Tactical Fighter WingF-4C became the first U.S. jet lost to an air-to-air missile, fired by a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21.
Early aircraft suffered from leaks in wing fuel tanks that required re-sealing after each flight and 85 aircraft were found to have cracks in outer wing ribs and stringers. There were also problems with
aileroncontrol cylinders, electrical connectors, and engine compartment fires. Reconnaissance RF-4Cs made their debut in Vietnam on 30 October 1965, flying the hazardous post-strike reconnaissance missions.
Although the F-4C was essentially identical to the Navy F-4B in flight performance and carried the Navy-designed Sidewinder missiles, USAF-tailored F-4Ds initially arrived in June 1967 equipped with
AIM-4 Falcons. However, the Falcon, like its predecessors, was designed to shoot down bombers flying straight and level. Its reliability proved no better than others, and its complex firing sequence and limited seeker-head cooling time made it virtually useless in combat against agile fighters. The F-4Ds reverted to using Sidewinders under the "Rivet Haste" program in early 1968, and by 1972, the AIM-7E-2 "Dogfight Sparrow" had become the preferred missile for USAF pilots. Like other Vietnam War Phantoms, the F-4Ds were urgently fitted with radar homing and warning (RHAW) antennae to detect the Soviet-built SA-2 GuidelineSAMs.Knaack 1974, p. 274.]
From the initial deployment of the F-4C to Southeast Asia, USAF Phantoms performed both air superiority and ground attack roles, supporting not only ground troops in South Vietnam but also conducting bombing sorties in Laos and North Vietnam. As the F-105 force underwent severe attrition between 1965 and 1968, the bombing role of the F-4 proportionately increased until after November 1970 (when the last F-105D was withdrawn from combat) it became the primary USAF ordnance delivery system. In October 1972 the first squadron of EF-4C
Wild Weaselaircraft deployed to Thailand on temporary duty. [Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 188.] The "E" prefix was later dropped and the aircraft were simply known as F-4C Wild Weasels.
Sixteen squadrons of Phantoms were permanently deployed between 1965 and 1973, and 17 others deployed on temporary combat assignments.Baugher, Joe. [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f4_36.html Baugher's Phantom Service with USAF.] [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/ Joe Baugher's Home Page.] Retrieved 25 January 2008] Peak numbers of combat F-4s occurred in 1972, when 353 were based in Thailand. A total of 445 Air Force Phantom fighter-bombers were lost, 370 in combat and 193 of those over North Vietnam (33 to MiGs, 30 to SAMs, and 307 to AAA).
The RF-4C was operated by four squadrons, [Thornborough and Davies 1994, p. 222.] and of the 83 losses, 72 were in combat including 38 over North Vietnam (seven to SAMs and 65 to AAA).Correll, John T. [http://www.afa.org/magazine/sept2004/0904vietnam.pdf "The Vietnam War Almanac",] (PDF), "AIR FORCE Magazine", September 2004. (with attribution to USAF Operations Report, 30 November 1973). Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] By war's end the U.S. Air Force had lost a total of 528 F-4 and RF-4C Phantoms. When combined with US Naval/Marine losses of 233 Phantoms; 761 F-4/RF-4 Phantoms were lost in the Vietnam War.
USAF F-4 Summary for Vietnam War action Aircraft Weapons/Tactics MiG-17 MiG-19 MiG-21 Total F-4C AIM-7 Sparrow 4 0 10 14 AIM-9 Sidewinder 12 0 10 22 20 mm gun 3 0 1 4 Maneuvering tactics 2 0 0 2 F-4D AIM-4 Falcon 4 0 1 5 AIM-7 Sparrow 4 2 20 26 AIM-9 Sidewinder 0 2 3 5 20 mm gun 4.5 0 2 6.5 Maneuvering tactics 0 0 2 2 F-4E AIM-7 Sparrow 0 2 8 10 AIM-9 Sidewinder 0 0 4 4 AIM-9+20 mm gun 0 0 1 1 20 mm gun 0 1 4 5 Maneuvering tactics 0 1 0 1 Total 33.5 8 66 107.5
On 28 August 1972, Capt Steve Ritchie became the first USAF ace of the war. Dorr and Bishop 1996, pp. 200–201.] On 9 September 1972, WSO Capt
Charles B. DeBellevuebecame the highest-scoring American ace of the war with six victories. and WSO Capt Jeffrey Feinstein became the last USAF ace of the war on 13 October 1972. Dorr and Bishop 1996, pp. 198–199.] Upon return to the United States, DeBellevue and Feinstein were given vision waivers, assigned to pilot training and requalified as USAF pilots in the F-4. According to the USAF, its F-4s scored 107½ MiG kills in Southeast Asia (50 by Sparrow, 31 by Sidewinder, five by Falcon, 15.5 by gun, and six by other means).
On 31 January 1972, the 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron/183d Tactical Fighter Group of the
Illinois Air National Guardbecame the first Air National Guardunit to transition to Phantoms. [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usaf/183fw.htm 183rd Fighter Wing (183rd FW).] Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] The Phantom's ANG service lasted until 31 March 1990, when it was replaced by the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
On 15 August 1990, 24 F-4G
Wild WeaselVs and six RF-4Cs were mobilized to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm. The reason for this was that the F-4G was the only aircraft in the USAF inventory equipped for the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) role since the EF-111 Ravenlacked the offensive capability of the AGM-88 HARMmissile, while the RF-4C was the only aircraft equipped with the ultra-long-range KS-127 LOROP (long-range oblique photography) camera. In spite of flying almost daily missions, only one RF-4C was lost in a fatal accident before the start of hostilities. One F-4G was lost when enemy fire damaged the fuel tanks and the aircraft ran out of fuel near a friendly airbase. The last USAF Phantoms, F-4G Wild Weasel Vs from 561st Fighter Squadron, were retired on 26 March 1996. The last operational flight of the F-4G Wild Weasel was from the 190th Fighter Squadron, Idaho Air National Guard, in April 1996. [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/last.htm Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th - Last to Serve.] Boeing. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] The last operational USAF/ANG F-4 to land was flown by Maj Mike Webb and Maj Gary Leeder, Idaho ANG. Like the Navy, the Air Force continues to operate QF-4 target drones, serving with the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron, [Bosco, Albert. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_prfr/is_200210/ai_1153312833 'Team Target' keeps Air Force on mark.] Air Force Press Release (23 October 2002). Retrieved: 14 December 2007.] it being expected that the F-4 will remain in the target role with the 82d ATRS until 2013/14. Carrara 2006, p. 48.]
Non-U.S. air forces
The Phantom served with the air forces of many countries, including
Australia, Egypt, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Spain, South Koreaand Turkey.
Royal Australian Air Force(RAAF) leased 24 USAF F-4Es from 1970 to 1973 while waiting for their order for the General Dynamics F-111C to be delivered. They were so well-liked that the RAAF considered adopting the F-4E instead.Lake 1992, p. 209.]
In 1979, the
Egyptian Air Forcepurchased 35 former USAF F-4Es along with a number of Sparrow, Sidewinder, and Maverick missiles from the US for $594 million as part of the "Peace Pharaoh" program. Fricker 2000, p. 59.] An additional seven surplus USAF aircraft were purchased in 1988. Fricker 2000, p. 60.] Three attrition replacements had been received by the end of the 1990s.
Luftwaffeinitially ordered the reconnaissance RF-4E in 1969, receiving a total of 88 aircraft which were delivered from January 1971. [Lake 1992, p. 210.] In 1982, the initially unarmed RF-4Es were given a secondary ground attack capability, and were retired in 1994. Fricker 2000, p. 80.]
In 1973, under the "Peace Rhine" program the Luftwaffe purchased the lightened and simplified F-4F which was upgraded in the mid-1980s. Twenty-four German-owned F-4Fs were operated by the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing of the USAF at
Holloman AFBto train Luftwaffe crews until 2002. In 1975, Germany also received 10 F-4Es for training in the U.S. In the late 1990s, these were withdrawn from service, being replaced by F-4Fs. Fricker 2000, p. 81.] Germany also initiated the "ICE" (Improved Combat Efficiency) program in 1983. The 110 ICE-upgraded F-4Fs entered service in 1992, and are expected to remain in service until 2012. List 2006, p. 51.]
In 1971 the
Hellenic Air Forceordered brand new F-4E Phantoms, with deliveries starting in 1974. Later (early 1990s) the Hellenic AF acquired surplus RF-4Es and F-4Es from the Luftwaffe and U.S. ANG. [cite book | author=K. Dimitropoulos | title=F-4 Phantom | publisher=Constantinidis Publications | year=1997 | isbn=960-8426-01-4 | language=greek] [cite book | author=D. Manakanatas and D. Stergiou | title=Phantom F-4 | language=greek | publishers=Epikoinonies S.A. | year=2002 ]
Following the success of the German ICE program, on 11 August 1997, DASA of Germany received a contract to upgrade 39 aircraft to the very similar "Peace Icarus 2000" standard. As of May 2008 the Hellenic AF operates 35 upgraded "F-4E-PI2000" (338 and 339 Squadrons) and 22 RF-4E aircraft (348 Squadron).
In the 1960s and 1970s, then U.S.-friendly Iran purchased 225 F-4D, F-4E and RF-4E Phantoms. The
Islamic Republic of Iran Air ForcePhantoms saw action in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and are kept operational by overhaul and servicing from Iran’s aerospace industry. Fricker 2000, p. 64.]
Israeli Air Forcehas been the largest foreign user of the Phantom, flying both newly built and ex-USAF aircraft, as well as several one-off special reconnaissance variants. The first F-4Es, nicknamed "Kurnass" (Heavy hammer), and RF-4Es, nicknamed "Orev" (Raven), were delivered in 1969 under the "Peace Echo I" program. Additional Phantoms arrived during the 1970s under "Peace Echo II" through "Peace Echo V" and "Nickel Grass" programs. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat during Arab–Israeli conflicts, first seeing action during the War of Attrition. Nordeen 1991, p. 99.] In the 1980s, Israel began the "Kurnass 2000" modernization program which significantly updated avionics. The last Israeli F-4s were retired in 2004. [ [http://www.flightglobal.com/PDFArchive/View/2004/2004-09%20-%202359.html Directory: world air forces: Israel] "Flight International", 16-22 November 2004. Retrieved: 14 February 2008.]
From 1968, the
Japan Air Self-Defense Forcepurchased a total of 140 F-4EJ Phantoms without aerial refueling and ground attack capabilities. Fricker 2000, p. 85.] Mitsubishi built 138 under license in Japan and 14 unarmed reconnaissance RF-4Es were imported. Of these, 96 F-4EJs have since been modified to the F-4EJ Kai (改、 "modified") standard. Fifteen F-4EJs have been converted to reconnaissance aircraft designated RF-4EJ, with similar upgrades as the F-4EJ Kai. As of 2007, Japan has a fleet of 90 F-4s in service and studies are underway to replace them with either the Eurofighter TyphoonGrevatt, Jon. [http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jdi/jdi070321_1_n.shtml "Japan narrows next-generation fighter requirement choice."] Jane's Defence Industry, 21 March 2007. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] , Dassault Rafale, or one of several others.
Republic of Korea Air Forcepurchased its first batch of ex-USAF F-4D Phantoms in 1968 under the "Peace Spectator" program. The ex-USAF F-4Ds continued to be delivered until 1988. The "Peace Pheasant II" program also provided newly-built and ex-USAF F-4Es. [Lake 1992, p. 218.] Currently F-4Ds are being retired from service by new F-15K Slam Eagles.
The Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) acquired its first batch of ex-USAF F-4C Phantoms in 1971 under the "Peace Alfa" program. Designated C.12, the aircraft were retired in 1989. At the same time, the SAF received a number of ex-USAF RF-4Cs, designated CR.12. In 1995–1996, these aircraft received extensive avionics upgrades. Spain retired its RF-4s in 2002. [ [http://www.ejercitodelaire.mde.es/WebEA/static/ServContenidos?id=06903172BDAEB4E8C12570D70046523A&plantilla=generica "McDonnell Douglas F-4C -Phantom II". es icon] Ejército del Aire, Ministerio de Defensa, España. [http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ejercitodelaire.mde.es%2FWebEA%2Fstatic%2FServContenidos%3Fid%3D06903172BDAEB4E8C12570D70046523A%26plantilla%3Dgenerica&langpair=es%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Google translation.] Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] [Wierenga, Eddy. [http://www.scramble.nl/es.htm Spanish Air Arms Other Air Forces, Ejército del Aire, FAMET, Armada,] "Scramble Magazine". Retrieved: 19 November 2007.]
Turkish Air Forcereceived 40 F-4Es in 1974, with a further 32 F-4Es and 8 RF-4Es in 1977-78 under the "Peace Diamond III" program, followed by 40 ex-USAF aircraft in "Peace Diamond IV" in 1987, and a further 40 ex-U.S. Air National Guard Aircraft in 1991. Fricker 2000, p. 88.] A further 32 RF-4Es were transferred to Turkey after being retired by the Luftwaffe between 1992 and 1994. In 1995, IAI of Israel implemented an upgrade similar to Kurnass 2000 on 54 Turkish F-4Es which were dubbed the F-4E 2020 Terminator.
United Kingdombought versions based on the USN F-4J for use with the Royal Air Forceand the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. The main differences were the use of the British Rolls-Royce Speyengines and of British-made avionics. The RN and RAF versions were given the designation F-4K and F-4M respectively, and entered service as the Phantom FG.1 (fighter/ground attack) and Phantom FGR.2 (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance).Donald 1999, p. 11.] Donald 1999, p. 5.]
Around 15 RAF squadrons received various marks of Phantom, many of them based in Germany. The first to be equipped was 6 Squadron at
RAF Leucharsin July 1969. One noteworthy deployment was to 43 Squadron where Phantom FG1s remained the squadron equipment for a remarkable twenty years, arriving in September 1969 and departing in July 1989. During this period the squadron was based throughout at Leuchars.Jefford 2001.] The interceptor Phantoms were replaced by the Panavia Tornado F3 from the late 1980s onwards, and the last British Phantoms were retired in October 1992 when 74 Squadron disbanded.
Sandia National Laboratories used an F-4 mounted on a "rocket sled" in a crash test to see the results of an aircraft hitting a reinforced concrete structure, such as a nuclear power plant. [ [http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/publications/corp-info/docs/SNLGenInfoFactSheet10-04.pdf Fact sheet] (PDF). Sandia National Laboratories (2004). Retrieved: 19 November 2007. Note: Although the fuselage was secured to a rocket sled, it could be facetiously considered possibly the one and only "rocket-powered" F-4.]
One aircraft, an F-4D (civilian registration NX749CF), is operated by the Massachusetts-based
non-profit organizationCollings Foundation as a " living history" exhibit. [http://www.collingsfoundation.org Collings Foundation website] , Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] Funds to maintain and operate the aircraft, which is based in Houston, Texas, are raised through donations/sponsorships from public and commercial parties. [http://www.collingsfoundation.org/in_background.htm Collings Foundation Background.] Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 11 January 2008.] [http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_sponsors.htm Sponsors] , Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 11 January 2008.] NASA's Dryden Flight Research Centeracquired an F-4A Phantom II on 3 December 1965. It made fifty-five flights in support of short programs, chase on X-15 missions and lifting body flights. The F-4A also supported a biomedical monitoring program involving 1,000 flights by NASA Flight Research Center aerospace research pilots and students of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School flying high-performance aircraft. The pilots were instrumented to record accurate and reliable data of electrocardiogram, respiration rate and normal acceleration. In 1967, the F-4A supported a brief military-inspired program to determine whether an airplane's sonic boom could be directed and whether it could possibly be used as a weapon of sorts, or at least an annoyance. NASA also flew an F-4C in a spanwise blowing study from 1983 to 1985, after which it was returned to the Air Force. [cite web|url=http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/graphics/F-4/index.html|title=NASA Dryden F-4 Graphics Collection|publisher=NASA|accessdate=2008-05-27]
;F-4A, B, J, N and S:Variants for the US Navy and the US Marines. F-4B was upgraded to F-4N, and F-4J was upgraded to F-4S.;F-110 Spectre, F-4C, D and E:Variants for the U.S. Air Force. F-4E introduced an internal M61 Vulcan cannon. F-4D and E were widely exported.;F-4G Wild Weasel V:A dedicated
SEADvariant with updated radar and avionics, converted from F-4E. The designation F-4G was applied earlier to an entirely different Navy Phantom.;F-4K and M:Variants for British military re-engined with Rolls-Royce Spey turbofans.;F-4EJ:Simplified F-4E exported to and license-built in Japan.;F-4F:Simplified F-4E exported to Germany. ;F-4X:Proposed reconnaissance variant with water injection capable of exceeding Mach 3.;QF-4B, E, G, N and S:Retired aircraft converted into remote-controlled target drones used for weapons and defensive systems research.;RF-4B, C, and E:Tactical reconnaissance variants.
The Phantom gathered a number of nicknames during its career. Some of these names included "Rhino", "Double Ugly", the "Flying Anvil", "Flying Footlocker", "Flying Brick", "Lead Sled", the "Big Iron Sled" and the "
Louisville Slugger". [ [http://www.bluejacket.com/humor_naval-aviation.html Basic Aircraft Wisdom and Aircraft Nicknames.] Bluejacket.com. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] In recognition of its record of downing large numbers of Soviet-built MiGs, [Thornborough and Davies, 1994. p. 202.] it was called the "World’s Leading Distributor of MiG Parts" [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/geewhiz.htm Integrated Defense Systems: F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th - Gee Whiz!] Boeing. Retrieved: 20 January 2008.] As a reflection of excellent performance in spite of bulk, it was dubbed "the triumph of thrust over aerodynamics." [ [http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/more-qf-4s-and-a-new-trick-for-old-dogs-04650/ More QF-4s - And A New Trick for Old Dogs?] "Defence Industry Daily", 22 January 2008. "These large 2-seat multi-role fighters were a triumph of thrust over aerodynamics, and formed the mainstay of the USAF and US Navy fleets for many years." Retrieved: 26 January 2008.] German Luftwaffecrews called their F-4s the "Eisensau" ("Iron Pig"), "Fliegender Ziegelstein" ("Flying Brick") and "Luftverteidigungsdiesel" ("Air Defense Diesel"). [ [http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2004/11/25/368532.html Zwei Alarmrotten mit dem "Luftverteidigungsdiesel" de icon] " Hamburger Abendblatt." 25 November 2004. [http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.abendblatt.de%2Fdaten%2F2004%2F11%2F25%2F368532.html&langpair=de%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8 Google Translation.] Retrieved: 26 January 2008.]
Imitating the spelling of the aircraft’s name, McDonnell issued a series of patches. Pilots became "Phantom Phlyers", backseaters became "Phantom Pherrets", fans of the F-4 "Phantom Phanatics", and call it the "Phabulous Phantom". Ground crewmen who worked on the aircraft are known as "Phantom Phixers".
The aircraft's emblem is a whimsical cartoon ghost called "The Spook", which was created by McDonnell Douglas technical artist, Anthony "Tony" Wong, for shoulder patches. The name "Spook" was coined by the crews of either the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing or the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing at
MacDill AFB. The figure is ubiquitous, appearing on every imaginable item associated with the F-4. The Spook has followed the Phantom around the world adopting local fashions; for example, the British adaptation of the U.S. "Phantom Man" [ [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/geewhiz.htm F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th, Gee Whiz] , Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Retrieved: 13 February 2008.] is a Spook that sometimes wears a bowler hat and smokes a pipe. [ [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f4/images/ukspook.htm F-4 Phantoms Phabulous 40th, UK Spook] , Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Retrieved: 13 February 2008.]
There are a number of F-4 Phantom IIs on display in the USA and worldwide. For example, a Phantom II F-4C-15-MC 37699, which is on loan from the USAF Museum, is on display at the
Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England; [ [http://www.midlandairmuseum.co.uk/aircraftlist.php "Midland Air Museum, Our Aircraft - Full Listing."] Midland Air Museum. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] a Phantom II F4H-1, BuNo 145310, U.S. Navy, [ [http://www.wingsandrotors.org/f4.html "The McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II BuNo 145310."] Wings and Rotors Air Museum. Retrieved: 11 January 2008.] is located at French Valley Airport, Murrieta, California; [ [http://www.wingsandrotors.org/F4-2.html "Wings and Rotors Air Museum proudly presents the McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II BUNO 145310."] Wings and Rotors Air Museum. Retrieved: 11 January 2008.] and there is a dwindling number of reserve F-4's stored at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. [ [http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Air+Force+Base&sll=32.14306,-110.846558&sspn=1.348825,2.427979&ie=UTF8&ll=32.170402,-110.843462&spn=0.00104,0.002709&t=h&z=19 "The Davis-Monthan Air Force 'Boneyard' via Google Maps/Google Earth."] Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, smaller field. Retrieved: 16 February 2008.] [ [http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Air+Force+Base&sll=32.14306,-110.846558&sspn=1.348825,2.427979&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=32.166619,-110.855202&spn=0.000658,0.001186&z=19 "The Davis-Monthan Air Force 'Boneyard' via Google Maps/Google Earth."] Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, larger field. Retrieved: 16 February 2008.]
One aircraft, an F-4D, is operated by the
Massachusetts-based non-profit organizationCollings Foundation as a " living history" exhibit. [ [http://www.collingsfoundation.org Collings Foundation website.] Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] Funds to maintain and operate the aircraft, which is based in Houston, Texas, are raised through donations/sponsorships from public and commercial parties. [ [http://www.collingsfoundation.org/in_background.htm Collings Foundation Background.] Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 11 January 2008. ] [ [http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_sponsors.htm Sponsors.] Collings Foundation. Retrieved: 11 January 2008.]
jet or prop?=jet
plane or copter?=plane
ref="The Great Book of Fighters" Quest for Performance,Loftin, Laurence K. [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-468/cover.htm "Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft",] SP-468. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, History Office, Scientific and Technical Information Branch, 1985. Retrieved: 19 November 2007.] and "Encyclopedia of USAF Aircraft".
length main=63 ft 0 in
length alt=19.2 m
span main=38 ft 4.5 in
span alt=11.7 m
height main=16 ft 6 in
height alt=5.0 m
area main=530.0 ft²
area alt=49.2 m²
airfoil=NACA 0006.4-64 root, NACA 0003-64 tip
empty weight main=30,328 lb
empty weight alt=13,757 kg
loaded weight main=41,500 lb
loaded weight alt=18,825 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=61,795 lb
max takeoff weight alt=28,030 kg
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0224
*Drag area: 11.87 ft² (1.10 m²)
*Aspect ratio: 2.77
*Fuel capacity: 1,994 US gal (7,549 L) internal, 3,335 US gal (12,627 L) with three external tanks
*Maximum landing weight: 36,831 lb (16,706 kg)
General Electric J79-GE-17A
type of jet=
axial compressor turbojets
number of jets=2
thrust main=17,845 lbf
thrust alt=79.6 kN
max speed main=Mach 2.23
max speed alt=1,472
mph, 2,370 km/h
max speed more=at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
cruise speed main=506 kn
cruise speed alt=585
mph, 940 km/h
combat radius main=367 nmi
combat radius alt=422 mi, 680 km
ferry range main=1,403 nmi
ferry range alt=1,615 mi, 2,600 km
ferry range more=with 3 external fuel tanks
ceiling main=60,000 ft
ceiling alt=18,300 m
climb rate main=41,300 ft/min
climb rate alt=210 m/s
loading main=78 lb/ft²
loading alt=383 kg/m²
thrust/weight=0.86 at loaded weight, 0.58 at
Lift-to-drag ratio: 8.58
*Takeoff roll: 4,490 ft (1,370 m) at 53,814 lb (24,410 kg)
*Landing roll: 3,680 ft (1,120 m) at 36,831 lb (16,706 kg)
* Up to 18,650 lb (8,480 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including general purpose bombs, cluster bombs, TV- and laser-guided bombs, rocket pods (UK Phantoms 4× Matra rocket pods with 18×
SNEB68 mm rockets each), air-to-ground missiles, anti-runway weapons, anti-ship missiles, targeting pods, reconnaissance pods, and nuclear weapons. Baggage pods may also be carried. External fuel tanks of 370 US gal (1,420 L) capacity for the outer wing hardpoints and either a 600 or 610 US gal (2,310 or 2,345 L) fuel tank for the centerline station can be fitted to extend the range.
AIM-7 Sparrowin fuselage recesses plus 4x AIM-9 Sidewinders on wing pylons; upgraded Hellenic F-4E and German F-4F ICE carry AIM-120 AMRAAM, Japanese F-4EJ Kai carry AAM-3, Hellenic F-4E will carry IRIS-Tin future. Iranian F-4s could potentially carry Russian and Chinese missiles. UK Phantoms Skyflashmissiles [From 1978 replacing the AIM-7 Sparrow]
M61 Vulcan20 mm gatling cannon, 640 rounds
AIM-9 Sidewinder, Python-3(F-4 Kurnass 2000), IRIS-T(F-4E Hellenic Air Force)
AIM-7 Sparrow, AAM-3(F-4EJ Kai)
AIM-120 AMRAAMfor F-4F ICE, Turkish F-4 2020 Terminator, F-4E ICE Hellenic Air Force, F-4 Kurnass 2000Fact|date=August 2008
AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-78 Standard ARM
Mk.84, GBU-10, GBU-14
CBU-87, CBU-89, CBU-58
* SUU-23/A 23 mm Gunpod
* AGM-142 (Popeye 1) for Turkish Air Force F-4 2020 TerminatorFact|date=September 2008
English Electric Lightning
F8U-3 Crusader III
List of fighter aircraft
List of military aircraft of the United States
List of units using the F-4 Phantom
* Angelucci, Enzo. "The American Fighter". Sparkford, Somerset: Haynes Publishing Group, 1987. ISBN 0-85429-635-2.
* Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin. "The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms and Why". London: I.G Tauris, 1987. ISBN 1-85043-069-1.
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* Calvert, Denis. "Le Tigri della RAF (RAF's Tigers)"(in Italian). "Aerei magazine N.5", Parma, Italy: Delta editrice, 1991.
* Carrara, Dino. "Phantom Targets – The USAFs Last F-4 Squadron". "
Air International" Volume 71, no. 5, November 2006. Stamford, Linconshire, UK: Key Publishing, pp. 42–48. ISSN 0306-5634.
* Donald, David, "RAF Phantoms". "Wings of Fame". London: Aerospace. Volume 15, 1999. pp. 4–21. ISBN 1-86184-033-0.
* Donald, David and Jon Lake, eds. "Desert Storm – The First Phase". "World Air Power Journal". London: Aerospace, Volume 5, Spring 1991. ISSN 0959-0750.
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* Donald, David and Jon Lake, eds. "McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Spirit in the Skies". London: AIRtime Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-880588-31-5.
* Dorr, Robert F. "Navy Phantoms in Vietnam". "Wings of Fame". Volume 1. 1995. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-874023-68-9.
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* Dorr, Robert F. and Chris Bishop, eds. "Vietnam Air War Debrief". London: Aerospace Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-874023-78-6.
* Dorr, Robert F. and Jon Lake. "Fighters of the United States Air Force". London: Temple Press, 1990. ISBN 0-600-55094-X.
* Fricker, John. "Boeing /McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Current Operators". "World Air Power Journal". London: Aerospace, Volume 40, Spring 2000. ISBN 1-86184-043-8.
* Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Great Book of Fighters". St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.
* Grossnick, Roy and William J. Armstrong. "United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Historical Center, 1997. ISBN 0-16049-124-X.
* Higham, Robin and Carol Williams. "Flying Combat Aircraft of USAAF-USAF (Vol.2)". Manhattan, Kansas: Sunflower University Press, 1978. ISBN 0-8138-0375-6.
* Hobson, Chris. "Vietnam Air Losses, USAF, USN, USMC, Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961–1973". North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 2001. ISBN 1-85780-1156.
* Jefford, C.G., "RAF Squadrons". Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2nd edition, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2
* Jones, Lloyd S. "U.S. Fighters: 1925–1980s". Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-8168-9200-8.
* Knaack, Marcelle Size. "Encyclopedia of US Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems: Volume 1 Post-World War II Fighters 1945-1973". Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1978. ISBN 0-912799-59-5.
* Lake Jon. "Phantom Spirit in the Skies". London: Aerospace Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-880588-04-8.
* List, Friedrich. "German Air Arms Review". "Air International" Volume 70, No. 5, May 2006. Stamford, Linconshire, UK: Key Publishing, pp. 50–57. ISSN 0306-5634.
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* [http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/phantomII.htm F-4 Phantom II history page on Boeing.com]
* [http://www.f-4.nl The F-4 website]
* [http://www.f4phantom.com/ F-4 Phantom II Society website]
* [http://www.phantomf4k.org/ Phantom F4K - Fleet Air Arm - Royal Navy]
* [http://www.fencecheck.com/news/The_Phantom_Turns_50/ The Phantom Turns 50 Article at Fence Check]
* [http://www.8tfw.com 8th Tactical Fighter Wing website]
* [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123009465 "Silver Lobos" fly into retirement]
* [http://www.aerospaceweb.org/aircraft/fighter/f4/ F-4 Phantom page on Aerospaceweb.org]
* [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf4.html The McDonnell F-4 Phantom on Vectorsite.net]
* [http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Aircraft_by_Type/F-4_Phantom_RAF.htm RAF Phantom Losses]
* [http://www.aviation-picture-hangar.co.uk/Phantom.html The Phantom Zone]
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