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The F-4C Phantom II


The McDonnell F-4 Phantom II was the West’s premier Cold War fighter during the 1960s and most of the 1970s. This big Mach 2 fighter was flown by all three U.S. services, providing all-weather interception, air superiority, bomber escort, tactical bombing, deep interdiction, reconnaissance, and SAM suppression services. Vietnam was its first war; its final combat deployment came enforcing the Iraq no-fly zone in 1996. During its long production life, 5,195 were built—the most of any U.S. supersonic fighter. The F-4 was used by many other Western countries in combat, especially by the Israelis. The Phantom II was enormously fast, able to exceed Mach 2 in level flight. It also had a spectacular rate of climb. In its first two years, it set many speed, altitude, and climb records. One record was a flight from Los Angeles to New York in only two hours and forty-nine minutes. In Vietnam, the F-4 was used most heavily as a tactical bomber. It could carry an amazing 16,000...

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