Phantom Survivors: Gone but not Forgotten

Operational F-4s have dwindled over the past decade, with some notable retirements and events.

The advent of modern fighters such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II has brought into sharp focus how the F-4 may be universally popular, but that it had become increasingly obsolete. There have been some notable retirements in the past few years as long-time operators of the F-4 made their final farewells.

The first F-4F Phantoms arrived in Germany in 1973, with the Luftwaffe going on to take delivery of 175 F-4Fs, joining some 88 RF-4E tactical reconnaissance versions that preceded them. The first unit to receive the F-4F was JG 71 ‘Richthofen’, with its very first aircraft, serial 37+01, being the last to bow out of service in June 2013 wearing special blue and gold colours.

German F-4s [Jamie Hunter] #1
The three specially painted Luftwaffe F-4Fs fly in formation with a standard scheme example in the final months of operation in 2013. Jamie Hunter

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