Air Commander AC1012 USAF McDonnell F-4C Phantom II Fighter-Bomber - Robin Olds, "Scat XXVII", 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron "Satan's Angels", 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, 1967 (1:72 Scale)
- Nickame give to the F-4 Phantom II fighter-bombers assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing while involved in the Vietnam War
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 USAF McDonnell F-4C Phantom II fighter-bomber that was piloted by Robin Olds who attached to the 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron "Satan's Angels", 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, then deployed to Ubon Royal Thai Air Base during 1967.
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Historical Account: "Satan's Angels" - Reactivated by Air Defense Command in 1952 as a Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, stationed at Truax Field, Wisconsin and equipped with F-89 Scorpions. Deployed to Eleventh Air Force at Ladd AFB, Alaska, 1954 performing air defense of central and Northern Alaska, responding to GCI directed intercepts of intruding Soviet aircraft. Returned to the Continental United States, being assigned to Minot AFB, North Dakota in 1957. However, no aircraft were assigned to the unit, and January 1958 the 433d FIS was inactivated due to budget restraints.
Was reassigned to Tactical Air Command, being stationed at George AFB, California, assigned to 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. Equipped with F-4C Phantom II tactical fighter-bomber, engaged in training, participated in numerous exercises, operational readiness inspections, deployments.
Was deployed to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in December 1965, becoming part of Pacific Air Forces Thirteenth Air Force. Assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, engaged in combat operations over Southeast Asia, the squadron's mission included bombardment, ground support, air defense, interdiction, and armed reconnaissance.
Beginning in May 1967, the squadron was re-equipped with new F-4D aircraft. This gave the unit the distinction of being the first in Southeast Asia to be operationally equipped with improved Phantom II. In May 1968, employed laser-guided bombs (LGBs) in combat for the first time. During its final years of combat, used F-4Ds for fast-forward air control, interdiction, escort, armed reconnaissance, and other special missions. Continued combat in Vietnam until mid-January 1973, in Laos until February 22nd, 1973, and in Cambodia until August 15th, 1973. Remained in Thailand until July 1974 when the squadron was inactivated.