F-4 Phantom II

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F-4 Phantom II

First flown in May 1958, the Phantom II originally was developed for U.S. Navy fleet defense and entered service in 1961. The Air Force evaluated it for close air support, interdiction, and counter-air operations and, in 1962, approved the Air Force version. The Phantom II, designated F-4C, made its first flight on May 27, 1963. Production deliveries began in November 1963.

In its air-to-ground role, the F-4 can carry twice the normal bomb load of a World War II B-17. F-4s also fly reconnaissance and “Wild Weasel” anti-aircraft missile suppression missions. Phantom II production ended in 1979 after over 5,000 had been built—more than 2,600 for the Air Force, about 1,200 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and the rest for friendly foreign nations. In 1965 the first Phantom IIs were sent to Southeast Asia. The first pilot to score four combat victories with F-4s in SEA was Col. Robin Olds, a World War II ace.

Typical armament loaded on the F-4C consisted of four Air-Intercept-Missiles 7E and four AIM 9B air-to-air missiles, and eight 750-pound Mark 117 bombs. The aircraft also carried two external 370-gallon fuel tanks on the outboard pylons and one ALQ-87 electronic countermeasures pod on the right inboard pylon.


Wing Span: 38 ft 5 in (27 ft 6 in folded)
Length: 58 ft 2 in
Height: 16 ft 6 in
Weight: 58,000 lb loaded
Armament: Up to 16,000 lb of externally carried nuclear or conventional bombs, rockets, missiles, or 20-mm cannon pods in various combinations
Engines: Two General Electric J-79-GE-15s of 17,000 lb thrust each with afterburner
Crew: Two
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