First flown in May 1958, the Phantom II originally was developed for U.S. Navy fleet defense and entered service in 1961. The USAF evaluated it for close air support, interdiction, and counter-air operations and, in 1962, approved a USAF version.

The USAF’s Phantom II, designated F-4C, made its first flight on May 27, 1963. Production deliveries began in November 1963. In its air-to-ground role the F-4 can carry twice the normal bomb load of a WW II B-17. USAF F-4s also fly reconnaissance and “Wild Weasel” anti-aircraft missile suppression missions.

Phantom II production ended in 1979 after over 5,000 had been built, more than 2,600 for the USAF, about 1,200 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and the rest for friendly foreign nations. In 1965 the first USAF Phantom IIs were sent to Southeast Asia (SEA). The first USAF pilot to score four combat victories with F-4s in SEA was then Col. Robin Olds, a WW II ace.

The F-4 is the only plane that has been used by both the USAF Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels.

Over 5,100 Phantoms were built for the USAF, Navy, Marines, and several countries around the world. F-4’s have set several speed and altitude records. Used as a ground attack fighter in Vietnam, the F-4 also proved to be an able air-to-air fighter– at least, three pilots who became aces during Vietnam were flying the Phantom.

The F-4 was last used as a radar-detection-and-destroy aircraft in the Gulf War. Several countries still use the Phantom in their air forces.

Span: 38 ft. 5 in. (27 ft. 6 in. folded)
Length: 58 ft. 2 in.
Height: 16 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 58,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: Up to 16,000 lbs. of externally carried nuclear or conventional bombs, rockets, missiles,
or 20mm cannon pods in various combinations
Engines: Two General Electric J-79-GE-15s; 17,000 lbs thrust each w/ afterburner
Crew: Two (2)
Cost: $ 1,898,365
Tail Number: 64-0783
Years in Service: 1961-1997
Maximum Speed: 1,400 mph.
Cruising Speed: 590 mph.
Range: 1,750 miles without aerial refueling
Service Ceiling: 59,600 feet