This beautiful aircraft was designed initially for the US Navy with the epurpose of defending the fleet. It later was also adopted by the US Air Force and US Marines. Furthermore, it sold to many countries and some of them are still flying in Turkey and Iran. From 1958 to 1979 more than 5,000 F-4s of various variants were produced.
F-4 was used in the US as a fighter interceptor, ground attack, and electronic warfare aircraft. The plane was very successful in achieving 16 various world records, including speed and climb. There are many military airplanes that were controversial during their development and service – F-4 is one of those planes. Critics pointed that this jet depended solely on its huge engines trust with the speed it generated and could not maneuver during the air combat. Furthermore, engines in first production aircraft produced black exhaust smoke which made the aircraft stick out in the sky. Finally, biggest issue pointed out by the critics – it was the lack of the internal cannon. All those issues were addressed during the continuous development of the airframe.
The aircraft was used extensively during the Vietnam conflict in all above described roles.
The aircraft was retired from the US inventory in 1996.
The F-4 was made famous by Bull Meecham (Rober Duvall) in the movie The Great Santini, classic military drama.
Here are links to my other aviation themed posts: Boeing 747-400, Airbus A380-800, SZD-50 Puchacz, Cold War Opponents: MiG-15 and F-86A Sabre (Winter 2013), B-29 “Bockscar”, Polish glider SZD-51 Junior modern military airplane, Cold War and Vietnam Era Planes, WW II aircraft, Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay”, Aichi M6A1,Vought F4-1D Corsair, Horten HO III F, Panoramas of Museum, Restoring the glory, WW II airplanes, Modern Military aircraft.