steman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1299 posts, RR: 8 Reply 3, posted (5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4192 times:
What´s amazing is that the first F-4F delivered in 1973 was still in active service till the very last day.
But then again, all of the 175 examples were delivered within a couple of years.
However the Phantom has a longer story in Luftwaffe service than just the F version.
If I am not wrong, starting in 1968 a total of 88 RF-4E were delivered to the German Air Force.
These have all long been retired, some of them are still in service in Greece and Turkey.
The experience with the RF-4E lead to the acquisition of the F variant, which originally should have been a very different version of the Phantom: single seat and much lighter.
Studies showed however that the standard two seats version would not have had worse performances than the single seat, while costs to develop the latter were clearly higher.
For many years the F-4F was just an air policing and "light" interceptor aircraft, with one fuel tank less than the F-4E and other measures to reduce weight and make it more agile, including combat slats (later adopted by the E too). It was armed only with the internal cannon and AIM-9 missiles.
When political climate changed, Germany was allowed to use long range aerial intercept missiles and the Phantom went through a thorough upgrade which included the state of the art APG-65 radar as well as AIM-120 missiles (some were upgraded to the air-to-ground role too).
Like the F-104S ASA in Italy, the F-4F ICE remained a potent air defense asset even compared to newer generation models. But nothing lasts forever.
My only regret is that I have never seen a Phantom fly.
Maybe some examples will be kept operational for experimental purposes?
steman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1299 posts, RR: 8 Reply 6, posted (5 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4044 times:
That is true,
the AIM-7 was certainly not the most lethal BVR missile back then.
But the Luftwaffe was anyway prevented from using such weapons by a post war treaty which was eased
with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The AIM-120 is way better than the AIM-7 and the APG-65 radar gave look down-shoot down capabilities.
The F-4F in its original state was anyway meant to be a more agile version of the Phantom, to be used in air superiority, close combat scenarios.
By the time of choosing a new air defense aircraft, there weren´t many better choices readily available.
TheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3379 posts, RR: 30 Reply 8, posted (5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3913 times:
Quoting avnut43 (Reply 7): Is the first/last Phantom hopefully destined for a museum and not the scrap yard?
I would not bet on that - the Luftwaffe has a history of preserving aircraft for some time, just to scrap them later anyway. However, Phantoms are already on display in Berlin Gatow.
But maybe it is retained.
To me it still remains strange that the Phantom was kept for such a long time and the Mig-29 was retired earlier - I guess the outdated avionics and delicate spare part situation were a problem for the Mig-29.
I also once asked a Phantom pilot why the Tornado did not overtake the role of the Phantom. He said it was especially bad at high altitudes. Since no other Nato state except the UK uses a ADV variant for the Tornado, I guess it was true.
Already in 1998 the Phantoms in Germany were limited to 6.5 Gs. Not much compared to modern fighters. The pilot said you could pull more, but then the mechanics would get pissed off.
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7887 posts, RR: 13 Reply 11, posted (5 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3714 times:
Quoting steman (Reply 3): My only regret is that I have never seen a Phantom fly.
What ... really? I dare say it was actually more difficult to not see a Phantom flying rather than see it fly. Did you never go to a North Sea island or - after 1990 - to the Baltic Sea to spend your holidays?
steman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1299 posts, RR: 8 Reply 12, posted (5 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3660 times:
Quoting NoUFO (Reply 11): What ... really? I dare say it was actually more difficult to not see a Phantom flying rather than see it fly. Did you never go to a North Sea island or - after 1990 - to the Baltic Sea to spend your holidays?
I have been living in Germany only for 6 years and never got a chance to see a Phantom in this time, nor to have holidays on the North Sea.
But while I was living in Rome, Italy, I got plenty of chances to see Italian Air Force F-104s
Same engine as the Phantom, same generation (first flight 4 years earlier then the F4H-1), same charisma
TheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3379 posts, RR: 30 Reply 15, posted (5 months 15 hours ago) and read 3337 times:
BTW, today Der Spiegel not only claimed that the Eurofighter will be more expensive, but that there is a serious documentation issue regarding the Eurofighter Ejection Seats which - according to some sources - could mandate a grounding of the entire fleet.
Whether it is as dramatic as Der Spiegel claims can be debated - but who knows, maybe the Phantom grounding was a bit premature...