13 Facts About The F-4 Phantom II
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Colors & Markings of the F-4C Phantom II
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This was reflected in the APQA radar, which was smaller and optimized for air-to-ground missions. The avionics were also different, including a ASQ weapons delivery system, capability to drop precision guided munitions and their various designators, and improved electronic countermeasures.
The first F-4D flew in December and entered service in March Reception of the F-4D in Vietnam was mixed.
Though pilots liked the improved gunsight and ground troops appreciated that bomb accuracy was much improved, it was not the dogfighter that USAF pilots wanted—especially Colonel Robin Olds, whose 8th Tactical Fighter Wing received the first F-4Ds in Southeast Asia. It still lacked an internal gun, and mounting a SUU 20mm gunpod on the centerline was only a partial solution.
The loss of full Sidewinder capability in favor of the near-worthless Falcon was thoroughly disliked, which led to a rewiring that gave the F-4D the same Sidewinder capacity of the F-4C. Nonetheless, though not truly designed for air combat, the F-4D was to give a superb accounting for itself, shooting down at least 43 enemy aircraft from to the end of the war, and was flown by not only Olds, but also all three of the USAF aces—Steve Ritchie, Charles deBellevue, and Jeffrey Feinstein.
F-4Ds were also modified to use the Pave Spike and Pave Knife laser designators, which proved highly effective during the Linebacker offensive of