The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor aircraft/fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and by the mid-1960’s had become a major part of their respective air wings.
The Phantom can carry more than 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. Later models incorporated an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959, it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.
During the Vietnam War, the F-4 was used extensively; it served as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, and became important in the ground-attack and aerial reconnaissance roles late in the war. The Phantom has the distinction of being the last U.S. fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century. The F-4 continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
The F-4 Phantom II remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. It was also the only aircraft used by both U.S. flight demonstration teams: the SAF Thunderbirds and the US Navy Blue Angels. The F-4 was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations and remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as a target drone in the U.S. Air Force. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5’195 built, making it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft.
- Depth: 42-45 m / 138-145 ft
- Diver Level: Advanced Open Water & Deep Diver certified, Technical Divers
- Crew: 2
- Length: 57 ft 7 in (17.55 m)
- Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.90 m)
- Wingspan: 38 ft 5 in (11.71 m)
- Engines: 2 x RR Spey 203 (F-4K) 2 x RR Spey 202/204 (F-4M)
- Max Speed: Mach 1.9