Manufactured by McDonnell Douglas
The F-4 Phantom, which began life as a U.S. Navy fleet defense interceptor, made its first flight as the XF4H-1 in May 1958. Both the Navy and Marines quickly realized the potential of their new aircraft and used it to set a flurry of world performance records. After testing in 1961, the U.S. Air Force placed orders for the first Navy fighter ever to serve with the USAF. The Phantom’s unique appearance, combined with use by Air Force, Navy, and Marines, made it one of the most recognized symbols of American air power during the Vietnam War.
The Phantom served in the air forces of eleven different countries in addition to the U.S. It was in production for almost a quarter of a century (the 5000th came off the assembly line in 1978), entering combat in late 1964 and flying missions through the 1991 Gulf War. Built in interceptor, fighter-bomber, “Wild Weasel,” and reconnaissance variants, few aircraft will ever compare to the one known as “Double Ugly.”
- Role/Category: Fighter
- Wingspan: 38 feet, 4.9 inches
- Length: 63 feet
- Height: 16 feet, 5.6 inches
- Weight: 30,328 lbs. empty, Maximum Take-Off Weight – 61,795 lbs.
- Powerplant: two General Electric J79-GE-17 turbojet engines providing 17,900 lbs. of thrust each in afterburner.
- Speed: maximum – Mach 2.2 (1,450 mph) at 36,000 feet; Mach 1.2 (910 mph) with ordnance and fuel at 1,000 feet.
- Ceiling: service – 57,200 feet; maximum – 96,000 feet
- Crew: 2 – pilot and weapons system officer
- Armament: one M61A1 20mm rotary barrel cannon, and up to 16,000 lbs. of ordnance and/or fuel carried on nine mounting points.