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  • McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Multirole / Carrierbased Fighter / Strike Fighter Aircraft

    The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is regarded as one of the most successful fighter designs of all time.

     Updated: 6/23/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Arguably one of the finest combat fighters of the 20th Century, the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II series was produced in larger numbers since the end of World War 2 than any other Western fighter of the time. The Phantom II grew into an all-around performer and went on to serve with the USAF, USN and USMC (concurrently - the first American aircraft to do so) - and some 11 other nations around the world. The aircraft served American forces in the Vietnam Conflict and was pressed into service in the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Though widely retired from most national air forces, some continue to serve today - some 50 years after production had initially begun.

    The Phantom II was initially envisioned as an all-weather attack platform and began as a McDonnell company study project. The design, the F3H-G/H was an advanced navy fighter proposal powered by twin Wright J65 turbojet engines, an armament suite of 4 x 20mm cannons and seating for one. At the time, the United States Navy was looking for a replacement of their core F3H Demon series with a more viable and capable type and took notice of the McDonnell attempt. The project began in 1954 and the USN ordered the F3H as two evaluation YAH-1 (AH-1) prototypes, though these fitted with the new General Electric J79 afterburning turbojet (x2). In 1955 the USN turned the AH-1 requirement into a new two-seat, all-missile fighter design - and along with it, the designation of F4H Phantom II was born. Two XF4H-1 Phantom II prototypes were built with the first one flying on May 27, 1958 and quickly outclassing any other aircraft in the skies at the time. These prototypes featured an early form of - what was to become - the legendary General Electric J79 afterburning turbojet engines. F4H-1 (later redesignated the F-4A) was produced in 45 examples, these with the General Electric J79-GE-2/2A turbojet engines. This batch is oft-regarded as a pre-production version of the main aircraft series for the United States Navy, leading up to the first true operational production examples in the F-4B model series, which was essentially the second half of the initial F4H-1 production batch. Full production began in 1957.

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    McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1960
    Type: Multirole / Carrierbased Fighter / Strike Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): McDonnell Douglas - USA / Mitsubishi - Japan
    Production Total: 5,195

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 62.99 feet (19.2 meters)
    Width: 38.62 feet (11.77 meters)
    Height: 16.47 feet (5.02 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 30,329 lb (13,757 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 61,796 lb (28,030 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x General Electric J79-GE-17A turbojet engines with afterburning developing 17,900lbs for thrust each.

    Maximum Speed: 1,473 mph (2,370 kph; 1,280 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,979 miles (3,185 km)
    Service Ceiling: 60,039 feet (18,300 meters; 11.37 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 41,300 feet-per-minute (12,588 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x 20mm M61 Vulcan Rotary Cannon (F-4E)

    External munitions include a combination of the following:

    4 x Skyflash medium-range air-to-air missiles (UK)
    4 x AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles
    4 x AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles
    4 x Python 3 air-to-air missile (Israel)
    8 x AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles
    8 x AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
    4 x AGM-62 Walleye TV-guided Glide Bomb
    4 x AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles
    4 x AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles
    4 x AGM-78 Standard ARM missiles
    AGM-142 (Popeye 1)
    4 x AAM-3 infrared air-to-air missiles (Japan)
    IRIS-T - Infrared / Thrust Vectoring air-to-air missiles (Greece)
    4 x 18 Matra Rocket Pods (UK)
    SUU-23/A 23mm Gun Pods
    18 x Mk 82 General Purpose Bomb
    18 x GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs
    5 x Mk 84 Dumb Bomb
    5 x GBU-10 Paveway II laser-guided bombs
    5 x GBU-14 laser-guided bombs
    4 x GBU-15
    18 x CBU-87 Cluster Bombs
    18 x CBU-89 Cluster Bombs
    18 x CBU-58 Cluster Bombs
    SUU-23/A 23mm gunpod
    3 x External Fuel Tanks (2 x 370 gal outer; 1 x 600/610 gal centerline)

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; Egypt; Germany; Greece; Iran; Israel; Japan; South Korea; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XF4H-1 - Twin Prototype Examples with J79 turbojets.

    F4H-1 - Initial Production Designation; later redesignated to F-4A.

    F-4A - Redesignated from F4H-1; 45 Pre-Production Models with J79-GE-2/2A engines of 16,150lbs.

    F-4B - Second F4H-1 portion of initial production batch numbering 649 examples; fitted with J79-GE-8 engine of 17,000lbs.

    F-4C - Originally F-110A for USAF; 635 examples; attack fighters fitted with J79-GE-15 engines of 17,000lbs.

    F-4D - Based on F-4C models but with USAF electronics as opposed to USN; 773 examples.

    F-4E - Definitive F-4 Phantom II; USAF request; leading edge slats; improved radar; J79-GE-17 engines of 17,900lbs; 1 x 20mm internal rotary cannon; at least 1,400 examples produced.

    F-4E "2020 Terminator" - Turkish F-4E systems upgraded with Israeli assistance.

    F-4F - German Export Models; air superiority model; 175 examples produced.

    F-4G - USN "Wild Weasel" Radar Supression Model.

    F-4J - US Navy Model; redesigned wing and tail; J79-GE-10 engines of 17,900lbs; 512 examples.

    F-4K - British Export Model with Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines; based on F-4J; Royal Navy; 52 examples.

    F-4M - British Export Model with Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines; based on F-4K; Royal Air Force; 118 examples.



    F-4EJ - Japanese Export and License-Built (Mitsubishi) Models.

    F-4EJ "Kai" - Modified / Standardized F-4EJ systems.

    RF-4EJ - Japanese Reconnaissance Models

    F-4X - Proposed Mach 3-Capable Reconnaissance Variant with water-injection.

    RF-4B - Tactical Reconnaissance for USMC; 46 examples.

    RF-4C - Tactical Reconnaissance for USAF; 499 examples.

    RF-4E - Tactical Reconnaissance

    QF-4B - Convertet Remote-Controlled Target Drone

    QF-4E - Convertet Remote-Controlled Target Drone

    QF-4G - Convertet Remote-Controlled Target Drone

    QF-4N - Convertet Remote-Controlled Target Drone

    QF-4S - Convertet Remote-Controlled Target Drone

    F-100A - Original USAF Designation; becoming F-4C model.

    "Kurnass" - Israeli F-4E models

    "Orev" - Israeli RF-4E models

    "Kurnass 2000" - Modernized Kurnass systems with improved avionics.

    C.12 - Spanish Export ex-USAF F-4C models.

    CR.12 - Spanish Export ex-USAF RF-4C models.