McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II - Germany’s Forgotten Phantoms

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As one of the largest operators of the F-4 Phantom II, the use of the F-4 within German Air Force service is well known and documented. The principal type operated was the F-4F which was a downgraded F-4E in order to reduce purchase and upkeep costs and was capable in both air interdiction and interception. The other type operated by the GAF was the RF-4E, a reconnaissance version of the F-4E which replaced the 20mm M61A1 with camera equipment, with later modifications allowing the RF-4E to fulfil a secondary ground attack role.

What is lesser known however, is that in 1975 the GAF also purchased and operated 10 F-4E block 63s as part of the 1st German Air Force Training Squadron (GAFTS) in order to free up F-4Fs for squadron service in Germany. The 1st GAFTS would initially be stationed at George AFB before later moving to Holloman AFB and as with all GAF aircraft stationed in the US, they would be required to use USAF markings for the duration service there. Eventually they would be loaned to the 35th TFW and sent to Germany until they were retired in 1997.

As a standard F-4E it is not limited in what armaments it can carry in the same way that the F-4F is, not only is it able to carry the standard AIM-9 Sidewinders, but also a host of other weapons which the F-4F is unable to, including AIM-7 Sparrows and a variety of air-to-ground ordnance including AGM-12 Bullpups, AGM-62 Walleyes, AGM-65 Mavericks, GBU-8 guided bombs, and GBU-15 guided bombs. Like the F-4F, the F-4E can also carry a variety of dumb-fire ordinance including bombs, rocket pods, and cannon pods.

The addition of the F-4E to the German tree could fill out the fairly sparse German top-tier air tree, as well as provide an additional CAS option for higher tier GRB. The best place for it in the tech tree in my opinion would be following the F-4F (late) at rank 7 either directly or in a folder. It could also be a nice premium or event vehicle, since it is fairly obscure.

Specifications

Crew: 2

Propulsion: 2 Turbojet Engines

Engine Model: General Electric J79-GE-17

Engine Power (dry) 52.9 kN

Engine Power (afterburner): 79.6 kN

Speed: 2389 km/h

Service Ceiling: 18288 m

Range: 1300 km

Empty Weight: 13770 kg

max. Takeoff Weight: 27965 kg

Wing Span: 11.68 m

Wing Area: 49.2 m²

Length: 19.20 m

Height: 5.03 m

List of Aircraft

75-0628/0637 McDonnell Douglas F-4E-63-MC Phantom

New builds for West German Luftwaffe

0628 (MSN 4943) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1988: USAF 35th TFW. 1997: USAF 20th TFTS (49th TFW). Assigned as ground trainer at Jever AB, Germany in Jan 1998. Scrapped at Jever, Germany.

0629 (MSN 4947) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1990: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). 1993: USAF 49th TFW. 1997: USAF 20th TFTS (49th TFW). Assigned as ground trainer at Hopsten AB, Germany Oct 2004.

0630 (MSN 4949) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1988: USAF 35th TFW. 1990: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW. with 35th TFW, 20th TFTS) destroyed in midair collision with F-4 67-0266 at Furnace Creek, California Jul 26, 1990.

0631 (MSN 4951) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1988: USAF 35th TFW. 1990: USAF 35th TFW. 1991: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). 1997: USAF 20th TFTS (49th TFW). Assigned as ground trainer at Laage AB, Germany.

0632 (MSN 4953) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1988: USAF 35th TFW. 1989-90: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). 1993: 20th TFS (USAF 49th TFW). Derelict/scrapped at Wittmundhafen, Germany.

0633 (MSN 4956) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1977-90: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). Feb 2006 used for battle damage practice at Neuburg AB in Germany.

0634 (MSN 4958) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1983: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). Destroyed in midair collision with 74-0637 near George AFB, California Nov 21, 1983. Crew of 637 ejected safely. Crew of 634 killed.

0635 (MSN 4960) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1989-91: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). 1993: USAF 49th TFW. 1997: USAF 20th TFTS (49th TFW). Assigned as ground trainer at Fassberg AB, Germany. Seen in disposal compound, Fassberg, Germany Mar 2007. Currently preserved at Berlin-Gatow APT Museum.

0636 (MSN 4962) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1988: USAF 35th TFW. 1993: USAF 49th TFW. 1995: USAF 49th TFW. 1997: USAF 20th TFTS (49th TFW). Assigned as ground trainer at Fassberg AB, Germany May 2005. Seen in disposal compound, Fassberg, Germany Mar 2007.

0637 (MSN 4964) to West German Luftwaffe. 1st GAFTS. Returned to USAF. 1979: USAF 35th TFW. 1983: USAF 20th TFTS (35th TFW). w/o Nov 21, 1983 in midair collision with 74-0634 near George AFB, California. Crew ejected safely. Crew of 75-0634 both killed.

Sources

Andreas Klein, The MDD F-4F Phantom II in German Air Force Service 1973-1982 (2004)

Smoke Trails - From SoCal to the Tularosa Basin – 20th FS, 1st GAF, arrives on June 5, 1992

1975 USAF Serial Numbers

4 Likes

would love to see it as a squadron vehicle or tech tree vehicle

1 Like

Yeah, I like the idea of it being a squad vehicle. Either that or maybe foldered with the F-4F.

2 Likes

+1 Currently germany tech tree missing multirole aircraft rank VII and need it

3 Likes

Yes gib

Tbh, this lesser known aircraft should have been the event vehicle in place of the F-4F, but it’ll do just fine as a tech tree or squadron vehicle. +1

Kurt Hammann - Commander of the German Training Center for training pilots from Germany

1 Like