McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

The most significant Western fighter of the 1960s, the F-4 Phantom equipped not only the US Navy and US Air Force (USAF) but also numerous foreign air arms, including Britain’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It played a prominent part in the Vietnam War, proving equally effective whether operating from aircraft carriers or from land bases. A twin-engine two-seater, the F-4 Phantom was originally designed as a shipboard interceptor to defend the US fleet against enemy intruders. The USAF subsequently adopted it as a solid and versatile fighter and ground-attack aircraft.
The Phantom was initially armed onlv with missiles, but the experience of air combat with North Vietnamese MiGs soon revealed the advisability of carrying a gun. Cannon were fitted in an improvised fashion under the fuselage of many of the fighters before the I USAF’s definitive F- 4E appeared in 1967 with a 20mm cannon beneath its nose.
Although neither light nor agile enough to be an ideal air-to-air combat machine, the F-4 claimed almost 160 enemy fighters shot down in Vietnam. It also performed well in a wide range of other roles, including both reconnaissance and ground attack.
The last Phantom to sec active service was the F- 4G Wild Weasel version, used to knock out Iraqi radar in t he 1991 Gulf War. In total. 5,195 were buill.