Hobby Master HA1913 Spanish Air Force McDonnell F-4C Phantom II Fighter-Bomber - "C.12- 40", Torrejon, Spain, 1970s (1:72 Scale)
"Tell the Vietnamese they've got to draw in their horns or we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power - not with ground forces."
- General Curtis LeMay, May 1964
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. Proving highly adaptable, it became a major part of the air wings of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. It was used extensively by all three of these services during the Vietnam War, serving as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, as well as being important in the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles by the close of U.S. involvement in the war.
First entering service in 1960, the Phantom continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon in the U.S. Air Force and the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy. It remained in service in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. The Phantom was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab-Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran-Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force.
Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built. This extensive run makes it the second most-produced Western jet fighter, behind the famous F-86 Sabre at just under 10,000 examples.
The F-4 Phantom was designed as a fleet defense fighter for the U.S. Navy, and first entered service in 1960. By 1963, it had been adopted by the U.S. Air Force for the fighter-bomber role. When production ended in 1981, 5,195 Phantom IIs had been built, making it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft. Until the advent of the F-15 Eagle, the F-4 also held a record for the longest continuous production for a fighter with a run of 24 years. Innovations in the F-4 included an advanced pulse-doppler radar and extensive use of titanium in its airframe.
Despite the imposing dimensions and a maximum takeoff weight of over 60,000 pounds (27,000 kg), the F-4 had a top speed of Mach 2.23 and an initial climb of over 41,000 ft per minute (210 m/s). Shortly after its introduction, the Phantom set 15 world records, including an absolute speed record of 1,606.342 mph (2,585.086 km/h), and an absolute altitude record of 98,557 ft (30,040 m). Although set in 1959-1962, five of the speed records were not broken until 1975 when the F-15 Eagle came into service.
The F-4 could carry up to 18,650 pounds (8,480 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and unguided, guided, and nuclear bombs. Since the F-8 Crusader was to be used for close combat, the F-4 was designed, like other interceptors of the day, without an internal cannon. In a dogfight, the RIO or WSO (commonly called "backseater" or "pitter") assisted in spotting opposing fighters, visually as well as on radar. It became the primary fighter-bomber of both the Navy and Air Force by the end of the Vietnam War.
Due to its distinctive appearance and widespread service with United States military and its allies, the F-4 is one of the best-known icons of the Cold War. It served in the Vietnam War and Arab–Israeli conflicts, with American F-4 crews achieving 277 aerial victories in Southeast Asia and completing countless ground attack sorties.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a McDonnell F-4C Phantom II fighter-bomber that was operated by the Spanish Air Force during the 1970s.
Wingspan: 6.25 inches
Length: 10.5 inches
Release Date: December 2009
Historical Account: "The Reign in Spain" - The present Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire, or EdA) was not formed until October 7th, 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The EdA was a successor to the Nationalist and Republican Air Forces. During World War II, one air section, the "Blue Squadron" (Escuadrilla Azul), operated alongside the Blue Division (Division Azul). The Blue Division was a Spanish volunteer group which fought alongside the Axis Powers on the Eastern Front.
On March 18th, 1946, the first Spanish paratroop unit was created. It participated in the Ifni War during 1957 and 1958.
Links were established in the 1950s with the United States. Spain received its first jets, like the F-86 Sabre and Lockheed T-33 together with training and transport planes like the T-6 Texan, DC-3 and DC-4. This first age of jets was replaced in the 1960s by newer fighters like the F-104 Starfighter, F-4C Phantom and F-5 Freedom Fighter.
The organization and equipment of the Spanish Air Force was again modernized in the 1970s to prepare for Spain's membership of NATO in 1982.
Planes like the Mirage III and Mirage F1 were bought from France and became the backbone of the Air Force during the 1970s and part of the 1980s until the arrival of the American F/A-18 which participated in the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War under NATO command, based in Aviano, Italy.