Phantom Survivors: Turkish Terminators

Having undergone a major re-shuffle in recent years, the Turkish Air Force has dramatically rationalized its F-4 Phantom II fleet as these warriors ultimately face retirement.

Eskişehir Air Base has housed every fast jet type operated by the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force — THK) and it was heavily involved in the initial arrival of the F-4E Phantom II in Turkish service from 1974. It was a perfect match for Turkey’s demands at the time — therefore 40 F-4Es were ordered under the Peace Diamond I deal with the US. The era of the F-4 also heralded a step-change in air-to-ground capability with the likes of AGM-65A/B Maverick missiles, Pave Spike laser targeting pods, GBU-10/12 Paveway laser-guided bombs, electronic warfare pods and AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles. The F-4 was a huge leap forward for the THK.

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