Saintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2919 times:
RAF Leuchars in Scotland was the main base for protecting the Northern Appoaches with 43 and 111 Squadrons. Coningsby was more ground attack and recce. In the later years RAF Wattisham was used using ex USAF aircraft.
I was on 43 Sqn from 74 to 77, my first posting after training aged 17.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13492 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2811 times:
Or ex-USN Phantoms Saintsman!!!
More seriously, 6, 41 and 54 Squadrons were in the strike/attack role, until Jaguars came along in 1974-77 allowing these F4s to go to AD units.
Same happened with RAF Germany F4s, all converted to Jaguar though two squadrons worth of aircraft replaced Lightning F-2As with 19 and 92 Squadrons.
Strike/attack/recce RAFG units were 2, 14, 17 and 31 Squadrons, the UK based units 6, 41 and 54 were assigned to 38 Group, to reinforce NATO flanks like Turkey and Norway, with potentially an 'out of area' role.
AD units in the UK-
64 Squadron/228 O.C.U. (A training/conversion unit with a Squadron 'number plate' reflecting its wartime role as an operational front line unit).
74 Squadron (Operated ex-USN F4Js to maintain NATO declared force levels after a RAF Squadron (initially 23, later 29) went to the Falkland Islands after the 1982 war, converted to F4Js in 1984, having last flown Lightnings in Singapore until 1971).
Main bases were Leuchars (43 and 111, later 64), Coningsby(23 and 29, 64 until moved to Leuchars), Wattisham (56 and 74).
43 and 111 Squadrons operated Phantom FG.1s, built for the Royal Navy, after HMS Eagle was not converted to take F4s and was retired early, 43 Squadron formed on the aircraft in 1969, for some years this was the only RAF F4 AD unit.
111 initially had FGR2s, when HMS Ark Royal decommissioned in 1978, they took the aircraft of 892 Naval Air Squadron.
Having to take ex-USN F4s, with different engines and a range of different systems, was a result of 7 FG.1 and 32 FGR2s being cancelled, due to inflation.
In the end 52 FG.1s and 116 FGR2s were built, original planning called for 140 FG.1s (that died with the cancellation of the CVA.01 carrier in 1966, each taking 18 F4s and 18 Buccaneers as their 'teeth' aircraft) and 180 FGR2s, RAF FGR2 numbers reduced due to the withdrawal from 'East Of Suez' in the late 60's and early 70's.
UK Phantom trivia;
RN FG.1 never got around to getting the 20mm gun pod, only later in RAF service.
FGR2s in the strike/attack/recce role were wired to carry Martel missile, in both the Anti-radar and TV-guided versions, but never did, not even sure if firing trials took place, though when Martel came in service, initially on RN and RAF Buccaneers, FGR2s were being re-assigned to AD from the attack role.
RAF FGR2s got the BAe Skyflash missile from 1979, externally similar to an AIM-7E, it was a much improved weapon, especially in the areas of ECM/ECCM and fuze/warhead lethality, all new SARH guidance too, optimized for the UK area AD role. This weapon went to the Tornado F3s after they replaced the F4s.
Though the R/R Spey F4s turned out more expensive, and with a lesser speed and ceiling, they were more fuel efficient at low altitude and smoke free.