The Japan Air Self-Defense Force held a public farewell event for the F-4 Phantom II in late 2019 as it marked the final chapter for its legendary reconnaissance ‘Rhinos’.

THE ICONIC AND muchloved McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fleet of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is very much in its final throes. The latest phase of the drawdown took the form of a huge public farewell event held over the weekend of November 30-December 1 at Hyakuri Air Base — the last bastion of Japanese Phantoms — located northeast of Tokyo. The primary focus for the event was to hold a public farewell for the reconnaissance-configured RF- 4E/EJs of 501 Hikotai (501 Squadron).

A stunning two-tone blue RF-4E taxies out at Hyakuri in December.

The JASDF’s 140 heavily upgraded F-4EJ Kai air defense Phantoms were first delivered from 1971, and included the last ever F-4 off the McDonnell Douglas production line. Japan’s industrial expertise enabled 127 F-4EJs to be built under license by Mitsubishi.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view. You can also access it if you’re subscribed to one of our Key Publishing magazines.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Why not join our community of aviation enthusiasts? Pick one of our introductory offers and access a wealth of world-class aviation content.