Air International 2008-05
D.Hobbs - British F-4 Phantoms /Military/
For many years, Phantoms of 43 and 111 Squadrons were tasked with providing northern quick reaction alert cover from RAF Leuchars, from where they frequently intercepted Soviet bomber and maritime patrol aircraft over the North Sea. This 111 Squadron aircraft was photographed escorting a Bear-A in August 1984.
Phantom FGR.2/'D' of 19 Squadron, one of two RAF Germany air defence squadrons based at RAF Wildenrath. It is painted in the original RAF grey/green camouflage scheme but has the tactical blue/red roundels introduced in 1971. No.19 Squadron operated Phantoms in Germany for 15 years after its conversion to the type in 1976.
XT865, coded 011 of 892 Naval Air Squadron, seen less than a second after leaving the waist steam catapult of HMS Ark Royal in 1978. Note the 40in nose oleo extension and the extensive flaps, 16 1/2° drooped ailerons and the leading-edge slots on the tail-plane. This aircraft was originally used for carrier-suitability trials on HMS Eagle in 1969 while allocated to 'C' Squadron at A&AEE Boscombe Down.
Phantom FGR.2s of 1435 Flight, formed to defend the Falkland Islands after the South Atlantic War in 1982. Aircraft and crews were taken from 23 and 29 Squadrons and based at Port Stanley from October 1982 and then Mount Pleasant from April 1994. They needed arrester wires at Port Stanley as the runway was too short for ’normal' landings.
Phantom FG.I, XT861, of 700P Flight, the intensive flying trials unit formed at RNAS Yeovilton in 1968 to introduce the Phantom to service with the Royal Navy. This aircraft was transferred to 892 NAS in 1969 and was one of the aircraft that took part in the Trans-Atlantic Air race that year.
Front cockpit of a 111 Squadron FGR.2. The large circular display in the centre, above the main instrument panel is the radar scope. Immediately below this is the attitude indicator (half obscured by shadow) and the horizontal situation indicator. Compared with current aircraft the instrument and controls are an ergonomic 'nightmare' but are typical of contemporary fighters.
McDonnell Douglas F-4K/F-4M Phantom II
ZE384, F-4J(UK), is seen here in 74 Squadron markings photographed from another aircraft during a 'pairs take-off. They incorporated only a small amount of British equipment, mainly associated with the BAe Skyflash missile, and retained their US designation, rather than being allocated a British one. Arguably this is the baseline airframe/engine combination the UK should have bought.