F-4E/F PHANTOM II gallery

The F-4E came into service in 1968 with several improvements, like a more powerful engine and an internal 20mm six barreled M-61A1 gun with 640 rounds. The gun was installed under the nose, which had to be modified, being externally very similar to the RF-4 photo-reconnaissance variant.
This variant had seven fuel tanks which allowed them to have greater combat radius than other Phantoms. A TESEO electro-optic sensor was also added and, since 1972, all F-4Es were equipped with leading edge wing slats that significantly improved the aircraft’s ability to turn. This last improvement was the result of experiences in Vietnam after verifying lack of maneuver of this excellent aircraft in closed air combat.
The range of weapons used by the F-4E is quite extensive including Sidewinder, Sparrow and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. Maverick air-surface missiles, Shrike anti-radiation missiles, Gabriel anti-ship missiles, free fall bombs, cluster bombs, laser guided bombs, rocket launchers and gun pods completed its weaponry. In addition, the aircraft was equipped with AVQ-23 Pave Spike and AVQ-26 Pave Tack electro-optical laser designator targeting pods to be able to use laser guided bombs.
Although there are some F-4E in service, unfortunately it is almost certain that very soon we will stop enjoying its majestic presence in our skies. There have been interesting improvements that have led to models such as the Israeli “Kurnass 2000“, the German “ICE“, and the Turkish “Terminator 2020“. This last variant was based on the “Kurnass 2000” and presumably will be the last Phantom II that will be active for a few more years.
In 1971, Greece incorporated 48 F-4E into its fleet of interceptors that would be complemented with 28 other ex-USAF aircraft. In 1997, 39 aircraft were modified incorporating a new onboard Mission Control Computer (MCC), an AN/APG-65GY radar, Multi Function Displays, IFF Interrogator and a Litening targeting pod. They achieve greater ground attack and air-to-air capacity, and the ability to use the AIM-120B AMRAAM air-to-air missile. This variant was designated F-4E-PI2000 and it is planned to retire them soon, although currently 32 remain active with the 338 “Ares” and 339 “Ajax” Squadrons.
Iran purchased more than 200 Phantom II D, E and RF-4E variants that were used extensively during the War against Iraq. There are 28 F-4D/E in service and there is evidence that they made attacks against Daesh bases in eastern Iraq in 2014. Currently these aircraft are intended to carry out anti-ship attacks armed with Iranian Nasr and Qader missiles.
Between 1969 and 1976 Israel received more than 200 F-4E, nicknamed “Kurnass” (heavy hammer), which performed combat actions as soon as they were received. They fought in the Yom Kippur War where about 50 were shot down. After the war ended, they received new equipment like new radar warning receivers, Litton LW-33 inertial navigation systems and Elbit Jason digital bombing computers. In 1987 all active F-4E‘s were upgraded to the “Kurnass 2000” standard variant.
In April 1989, the Israeli Air Force received the first of more than 100 updated F-4E Kurnass 2000. Finally, the J-79 engines were not replaced by the Pratt & Whitney PW1120, the aircraft had a good number of new equipment that greatly increased their capabilities.
F-4 Kurnass 2000 had their airframe reinforced and winglets added to improve their dynamic capabilities. New electronics included a Norden multimode UTC MMRS synthetic radar, wide-angle Kaiser HUD, Elbit ACE-3 mission computer, HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) system and an ASX- 1 TISEO system among other devices.
Armament improvements consisted in the adaptation of F-4E Kurnass 2000 so it could use the AGM-142 Popeye air-surface missile. This upgrade was also implemented on 54 Turkish Air Force’s F-4E fighters, which reduced costs for both countries. The Turkish variant was designed as “F-4E 2020 Terminator“.
In Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries built 138 of the 140 F-4EJ that entered service with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. They entered service in August 1972, replacing the F-104J in 6 Squadrons and in 1989 96 aircraft were upgraded to the F-4EJ Kai version. This variant received an AN/APG-66J pulse radar Doppler, lookdown/shootdown capability, better ground attack capabilities and ASM-1 or ASM-2 anti-ship missiles. The F-4EJ are currently being removed, which will be replaced by F-35 fighters by 2020 onwards.
Turkey has been one of the largest users of F-4E, reaching more than 230 aircraft assets. They arrived since 1974 in different batches.  In 1995 it was decided to modernize 54 aircraft to the Israeli standard “Kurnass 2000“, receiving the designation of F-4E 2020 Terminator.
In 1995, Turkey was faced with the dilemma of buying new, (and expensive), fighters to replace their F-4E fleet or upgrade them. On this occasion, won the second option. Then, the Israeli “Kurnass 2000” improvement pack was chosen. The contract provided this pack to 54 aircraft, for a total amount of 600 million US dollars. Twenty-eight fighters would be improved in Israel and twenty-six in Turkey. The first “Terminator 2020” entered service in 2001.
The Turkish F-4E‘s airframe was upgrade appreciably, including new engine mountings, fixings, some parts of the canopy and the reinforcement of the fuel tanks. It also replaced 20,000 meters of wiring as well as a good part of the pneumatic and hydraulic system, which meant a weight saving of 750 kg. Regarding avionics, they received a Norden UTC MMRS radar, a HOTAS system, a Elta EL/M-2032 ISAR ground moving target indicator, a dual MIL-STD-553B databus, new GPS and inertial navigation systems, an airborne video tape recorder, radar warning receiver and an Elta EL/L-8222 active ECM pod among other devices.
Turkish F-4E 2020 has a wide range of weapons, such as: AGM-65D/G Maverick and AGM-142 Popeye/Have Nap air-surface missiles, AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile, GBU-8 HOBOS, GBU-10 and 12 Paveway II laser guided bombs, general purpose and cluster bombs, and unguided rocket pods. All this is complemented with Litening-II and Pave Spike targeting pods.
The F-4F was a simplified variant of the F-4E and was specially designed for German Luftwaffe. This variant lacked the seventh fuel tank and the air-refueling equipment, and also could not use the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles. 175 aircraft were manufactured and distributed in two Fighter and two Bomber Wings, and they entered service in August 1973.
The armament used by the F-4F was composed by AIM-9B/F/L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, BL755 cluster bombs, Mk 82 retarded bombs, general purpose bombs and subsequently AGM-65 Maverick air-surface missiles. In the image we see an F-4F armed with two Kormoran anti-ship missiles during its testing phase.
In 1983, an upgrading program for seventy-five F-4F was initiated. The main purpose was to improve air-to-air capacity with the acquisition of APG-65 radar and integration of new AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Finally, 110 aircraft were modified, which began arriving to the units in 1989 with designation F-4F ICE (Improved Combat Efficiency).
The first F-4F ICE Phase 1 carried GEC Avionics CPU-143/A digital central air data computer, a Honeywell H-423 laser gyro inertial navigation system, the Mil Std 1553R digital data bus and the ALR-68 Radar warning receiver as main devices. In 1992, a few F-4F ICE Phase 2 would be delivered, but in 1994 there were only 70 F-4F ICE in service and the AMRAAM missile was not ready yet. These circumstances compromised the capacities of the aircraft. In addition, delay of Eurofighter EF-2000 program forced to make the decision to complete the ICE program.
The F-4F ICE would end their days much later than expected due to delays with Eurofighter, in such a way that they ended up doing 279,000 flight hours. These fighters were even deployed by NATO in the “Baltic Air Policing” missions over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. All F-4F ICE fighters were definitively retired from service on June 29, 2013.



Entradas relacionadas