This was followed at the end of March by Naval Air Squadron , which was commissioned as the Royal Navy's first operational Phantom unit, intended to embark in Ark Royal once her three-year refit had completed in Two sets of trials were successfully carried out in March and June ; the first comprised approaches and touch-and-go landings ,  while the second set of trials involved full catapult launch and arrested recovery.
In , the planned refit of Eagle was cancelled, and the options for seven additional FG. The remaining 20 aircraft were then allocated to the Royal Air Force. In , Ark Royal embarked NAS as part of her air group for the first time, with a total of 12 aircraft. The Phantom served in the Fleet Air Arm until , when Ark Royal was finally withdrawn from service, leaving no ship in the Royal Navy capable of operating the type.
Following the cancellation of the planned refit of HMS Eagle to allow her to operate the Phantom, a total of 20 airframes that had originally been ordered for the Fleet Air Arm were diverted to the Royal Air Force to serve in the air defence role.
McDonnell Phantom FG Mk1/FGR Mk2 by Roger Chesneau | Book
So a new Phantom squadron was formed at RAF Leuchars ,  the UK's most northerly air defence base at the time, to take advantage of the improvements that the Phantom provided over the Lightning — it could carry more fuel, and could thus fly further for longer; it was fitted with a more powerful radar; and it could carry more missiles up to 8, compared to 2 for the Lightning. At the time, Squadron was stationed there operating the FGR. Both 43 and Squadrons retained the FG.
Following the standing down of the two operational squadrons and the final withdrawal of the type from service, the bulk of the RAF's FG. Phantom FG. Following the cancellation of both the TSR-2 and P. This resulted in the procurement of two aircraft, the General Dynamics FK , intended for the long-range interdiction roles carried out by the Canberra, and the F-4M Phantom, which would be used in the close air support role undertaken by the Hunter. The FK was cancelled within a year of being ordered, but the order for Phantoms went ahead alongside the Phantom order for the Royal Navy; the final 32 units of the RAF order were eventually cancelled.
The aircraft assigned to the two tactical reconnaissance units were fitted with a pod containing four optical cameras, an infrared linescan and a sideways looking radar. During the s, UK and France were developing a new aircraft which could fill the RAF tactical strike and reconnaissance missions: the SEPECAT Jaguar was introduced into service in , and led to a re-think of the Phantom's role as, at the same time, the limitations of the Lightning as an interceptor were becoming more apparent.
When Phantoms were first delivered to interceptor squadrons, they remained in the grey-green camouflage colour scheme more associated with the strike and close air support missions they had undertaken. During the late s, the RAF began experimenting with new colours for its air defence units, with 56 Squadron tasked with trialling proposed new schemes. However, although the roundel remained in low visibility colours, individual squadron markings eventually returned to more observable sizes and colours. These aircraft were operated by 74 Squadron from until , when they were replaced by FGR.
A total of Tornado F. Phantom FGR. After the Falklands War , the UK government began upgrading the defences of the Falkland Islands to guard against any further aggression from Argentina. One of the measures taken was the deployment of an interceptor squadron to the islands, with 23 Squadron forming at RAF Stanley in October The removal of a squadron of Phantoms to the Falkland Islands left a gap in the UK's air defences and nothing immediately available to fill it, given that the Tornado was still some years from service.
As a result, the UK government decided to purchase another squadron of Phantoms. The 15 that were selected were extensively refurbished and brought to a standard almost equivalent to the F-4S, which was the last variant in service with the US Navy, the only differences being the absence of leading-edge slats and a helmet gun sight.
This produced less power than the British engine, but had a faster afterburner light up, giving it better performance at high altitude, at the expense of slightly poorer acceleration at low level. The high-altitude performance was helped by the reduced drag from its smaller air intakes.
1/144 Scale McDonnell F-4K Phantom FG.Mk1 and F-4M Phantom FGR.Mk2
Although the new Phantoms were assigned a British designation as the F. The aircraft remained in service through the transition to the Tornado, which began entering service in A pair of Phantom F. Phantom F. The Phantom FG. The FGR. Although there were minor differences between the two types of Phantom built for the UK, there were many significant ones between the British Phantoms and those built for the United States. The position of the afterburner also meant that the rear of the fuselage had to be made deeper.
The small size of the aircraft carriers Eagle and Ark Royal , from which the Royal Navy's Phantoms were intended to operate, compared to the US Navy carriers of the period, meant that the F-4K version required significant structural changes compared to the F-4J, from which it was descended, and which performed a similar role. As well as the folding nose radome to allow for storage in the smaller hangars of the British ships, it had to have a significantly strengthened undercarriage to account for the higher landing weight British policy was to bring back unused ordnance.
It was also fitted with drooping ailerons , enlarged leading edge flaps and a slotted tailplane , and increased flap and leading edge blowing, all to improve the lift and handling characteristics of operation from the much smaller carriers of the Royal Navy.
F-4M main pilot's instrument panel
F-4K; telescopic nosewheel oleo; hinged nose radome; wider and shorter engine exhausts; bigger air intakes; deeper rear fuselage; RWR installation on tailfin. The RAF operated the Phantom from a number of bases in the UK, Germany and the Falkland Islands during its operational service, while the Royal Navy initially based its Phantom units at its main air station at Yeovilton; following the disbanding of the Fleet Air Arm's dedicated training squadron, its sole operational Phantom squadron was subsequently moved to take up residence at the RAF's base at Leuchars.
Although the Phantom was ordered in , the variants that were eventually constructed were not the first to be offered to the UK. McDonnell Aircraft had been conducting studies into the possibility of the Royal Navy using the Phantom on its carriers since The company concluded that more power was needed than the J79 turbojet could provide to operate from the smaller decks of British carriers.
The company spoke to Rolls-Royce about whether the RB Spey turbofan, then in development for use in the Blackburn Buccaneer , could be fitted to the aircraft. A further proposal came after the order for the F-4M was being finalised, and was a result of the UK's need for an aircraft to perform the tactical reconnaissance role.
For this, McDonnell offered two options: . Although the RF-4M would have had some advantages, it was discounted as the cost would have been greater, with consequently fewer aircraft purchased, while only those that had been modified would have been able to undertake the reconnaissance mission.
Ultimately, the RAF chose the standard F-4M and external pod, which allowed all of its aircraft to perform all designated roles. Another idea that McDonnell proposed was a variation of a carrier-based Phantom, with the goal of improving catapult performance and lowering approach speeds. The F-4 HL would have had a longer fuselage and wingspan, with less sweep , stabilators with increased area and air intakes with auxiliary blow-in doors to increase airflow at low speeds.
This proposal was not taken forward.
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In the early s, the RAF issued an Air Staff Requirement for the development of a new interceptor intended to replace both the Phantom and the Lightning. In , the prototype Hawker Siddeley P.
Sir Sydney Camm , the Chief Designer at Hawker for many years, once said that no British aircraft could be considered a success until it was able to match the capabilities of the Phantom. In turn, when the Phantom was replaced, its major roles required three separate aircraft see table :. The remaining aircraft were either lost in crashes or scrapped following withdrawal.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The small size of this ship, and of the other smaller carriers in the Royal Navy's fleet, meant that only Eagle and Ark Royal were of sufficient size to operate the Phantom successfully. The Phantom had significant advantages over the Lightning as an interceptor in terms of range, avionics and weapons fit. Comparison of Lightning F. Initially delivered to air defence units in green-grey camouflage, the RAF later adopted a pale grey colour scheme for its Phantoms.
Phantom unit locations . RAF Leuchars. RNAS Yeovilton. RAF Wattisham. RAF Coningsby. RAF Laarbruch. RAF Wildenrath. RAF Stanley. RAF Mount Pleasant. Total number of UK Phantoms . McDonnell Douglas proposed a variable geometry version of the Phantom, which was offered as a potential Phantom replacement. The Phantom was replaced in its air defence roles by the Tornado and the Sea Harrier. Preserved UK Phantoms. As a consequence, bridle catchers were fitted to the ends of the ship's new catapults so that the bridles could be reused. Retrieved 12 June Flight International. Retrieved 14 June Hawker Association Newsletter.
Hawker Association: 4—5.
Summer Retrieved 29 May Retrieved 19 June Axford's Abode. Retrieved 2 October Retrieved 1 June Archived from the original on 19 June Iliffe Transport Publications. Vox Clamantis in Deserto. Project Ocean Vision. Warbird Alley. Doublestar Group. Retrieved 28 May Air International. Key Publishing.
UK Serials Resource Centre. Wolverhampton Aviation Group. Retrieved 9 June Retrieved 20 June Seaforth Publishing. Hampshire Airfields. Retrieved 7 July World Aircraft Carriers List. Retrieved 5 July Phabulous Phantom. Retrieved 10 June RAF Museum. Retrieved 29 April Retrieved 27 May Hiffe Transport Publications. Retrieved 25 September IPMS Stockholm. RAF Yearbook. IAT Publishing: The Lightning Association.
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