F-4 Phantom gallery:
images above are from Webshots.com
UH-60 Black Hawk
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a two-seat supersonic long-range all-weather fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Douglas. The Phantom flew in numerous variants in US service from 1960 to 1996; it also served with the armed forces of 11 other nations. As of 2001, more than 1,000 F-4s remained in service around the world.
Entering service in 1960, the F-4 was designed as the first modern fleet defense fighter for the U.S. Navy. 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. Until the advent of the F-15 Eagle, the F-4 also held a record for the longest continuous production with a run of 24 years. Innovations in the F-4 included an advanced pulse-doppler radar and extensive use of titanium in the airframe.
Despite the imposing dimensions and a maximum takeoff weight of over 60,000 pounds (27,000 kg), the F-4 was capable of reaching a top speed of Mach 2.23 and had an initial climb rate of over 41,000 feet per minute (210 m/s). Shortly after its introduction, the Phantom set 16 world records, including an absolute speed record of 1,606.342 miles per hour (2,585.086 km/h), and an absolute altitude record of 98,557 feet (30,040 m). Although set in 1959-1962, five of the speed records were not broken until 1975.
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. The F-4 was designed when air-to-air missiles were expected to eliminate the need for close air combat and did not enter service with an internal cannon. However, air combat experience over North Vietnam revealed that a gun was needed and the USAF integrated a 20 mm Vulcan cannon in the definitive F-4E variant.
Due to its widespread service with United States military and its allies and distinctive appearance, the F-4 is one of the best-known icons of the Cold War. It served with distinction in Vietnam War and Arab-Israeli conflicts, with F-4 crews achieving 393 aerial victories and completing countless ground attack sorties. It was also a capable tactical reconnaissance and Wild Weasel (suppression of enemy air defenses) platform, seeing action as late as the Gulf War.
The F-4 Phantom II was also the only aircraft used by both of the USA’s flight demonstration teams. The U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds (F-4E) and the U.S.N. Blue Angels (F-4J) both switched to the Phantom for the 1969 season; the Thunderbirds flew it for five seasons, the Blue Angels for six.
USAF F-4E from 347th Tactical Fighter Wing dropping 500-pound Mark 82 bombs