F-4C Phantom II …..  Fast Facts  


  • The McDonald Douglas F-4 Phantom II was conceived as an interceptor for the US Navy, but during its long service life, the Phantom flew every traditional military mission: air superiority, close air support, interceptor, air defense suppression, long range strike, fleet defense, attack and reconnaissance.  The original design did not have machine guns, a severe handicap in a dogfight.

  • A total of 5,195 F-4s were produced from 1958 to 1981.  They were in service with U.S. forces until 1996.

  • Phantoms set 16 world records including speed records, time to altitude records and sustained altitude records. 

  • The F-4C was earliest Air Force variant of the Phantom, first flown in May 1963.

  • The Phantom was a multi-service aircraft, flying concurrently with the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. It is the first and only aircraft to be flown concurrently by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.

  • The Phantom was a significant air weapon for all three services during the Vietnam War, with over 150 air to air victories and the destruction of more than 200 anti-aircraft sites. Because many Phantom missions were in the heavily defended airspace over North Vietnam, their combat losses were high.  A total of 605 F-4s and RF-4s (reconnaissance versions) were lost to enemy fire, another 156 were lost to other causes.

  • Phantoms were still used by the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm (1991) in “Wild Weasel” missions to attack ground-to-air missile sites.

  • The Phantom is called the Last Ace Maker because it is the last U.S. aircraft in which individual pilots achieved five or more air to air victories, thus becoming aces.

  • The Phantom has also been employed by the air forces of at least ten other countries. Germany flew upgraded F-4Fs until 2013, and maintains them in stock in case of future need. South Korea still has 71 F-4Es in its 17th Fighter Wing. Japan maintains the same number of F-4EJs.

  • The museum’s F-4C (Serial No. 64-0919) was acquired from Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1994 and was transported to Lockheed Martin’s pier by barge in December of that year. The plane is on loan to the museum from the US Army.  It was painted by museum volunteers in 2013 in the colors and markings of the Arkansas Air National Guard, the last unit to fly this Phantom.

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