End of the Phantom era: Japan completes operation of F-4EJ fighters


The legendary Phantoms complete their journey as part of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Military aviation The land of the rising sun goes to fifth-generation fighters, and the F-4EJ becomes history.


2020 will be the last year of operation of the famous F-4EJ aircraft by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces. So, on January 7, 2020, training flights of the last two units took place, which are still armed with the legendary Phantoms F-4. We are talking about the 301st fighter squadron and 501th reconnaissance squadron.

Another unit, the 302nd fighter squadron, made its last flight on the Phantoms on March 19, 2019, after which it was relocated to the Misawa air base, where the squadron personnel will have to service and operate the fifth-generation F-35A aircraft. The 301st Squadron now awaits its turn, which this year will also be transferred to the base in Misawa and transferred to the F-35A.

For a long time, "Phantoms" were a kind of symbol of post-war Japanese aviation. More than fifty years ago, back in 1968, Japan ordered the F-4EJ fighter from McDonnell. The production of the air car was to begin at the factories of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, the first 13 aircraft were built by McDonnell and were only assembled in Japan. In May 1972, the first Japanese-built aircraft took off. In total, Mitsubishi built 127 127 F-4FJ. By the way, it was the 1972st Hikotay fighter squadron that received the first new aircraft in 301.

In addition, from November 1974 to June 1975. McDonnell built and shipped 14 RF-4EJ reconnaissance aircraft to Japan. Unlike the F-4EJ, the serial production of scouts in Japan was not deployed, since the Self-Defense Forces did not need a large number of reconnaissance aircraft and the costs of their serial production were considered inappropriate.

The last modernized version of the Phantom used in Japan was the F-4EJ “Kai” (“extra”). In the mid-1980s new pulsed Doppler radars AN / APG-66J, central computers, IFF AN / APZ-79 systems were installed on aircraft. The aircraft have the opportunity to transfer the advanced multi-mode electronic counter module AN / ALQ-131 and launch the AIM-7E / F Sparrow and AAM-9L / P Sidewinder AAMs (air-to-air missiles).

The RF-4EJ “Kai” is an advanced reconnaissance version of the F-4E, which is almost identical to the RF-4C used in the US Air Force, but does not have several systems, including a set of radar signals and a warning receiver.

By 2007, about 90 Phantoms remained in operation with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Then, the number of aircraft in operation decreased, and when Japan was among the recipient countries of the new fifth-generation F-35A aircraft, it became clear that the era of the use of Phantoms in Japanese military aviation was coming to an end.


In the video shot by Akihiro Kanai, you can see how the pilots of the 301st fighter squadron fly on the gray F-4EJ Kai Phantoms with a unit frog tail emblem. On the F-4EJ and RF-4E / EJ - pilots of the 501st reconnaissance squadron. Its aircraft are marked with a shark and a woodpecker on its tail - the emblem of this aviation unit. Three types of camouflage are used on airplanes: European on F-4EJ and RF-4E, Vietnamese on RF-4E, and blue marine on RF-4E.

The recent flights of Japanese military pilots on the Phantoms will complete the more than forty-year history of the use of these fighters as part of the Air Force of Self-Defense of the Land of the Rising Sun. Now, the personnel of the Japanese military aviation have another task - to master the F-35A and F-35B. In total, Tokyo purchased 105 aircraft of the first type and 42 aircraft of the second type.

But it is possible that this is not the last purchase. Japan is building its military capabilities with the direct patronage of the United States, which today is more than interested in strengthening the armed forces of its allies in the Asia-Pacific region to confront China and Russia.
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  1. thanks 20 January 2020 11: 28 New
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    Time flows inevitably - everything in the world is changing, becoming obsolete and replaced by modern ...
    The F-4 Phantom, for its time, was very good!
    1. bessmertniy 20 January 2020 11: 57 New
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      And so passes the worldly glory of the machines that were once admired. recourse Now we will face a new generation of fighters of the Japanese self-defense forces. repeat
    2. Mavrikiy 20 January 2020 13: 28 New
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      Quote: Mersi
      Time flows inevitably - everything in the world is changing, becoming obsolete and replaced by modern ...
      The F-4 Phantom, for its time, was very good!
      Facts to the studio!
      Vietnamese. Wiki
      Throughout the war, for all reasons, 761 to 895 F-4s were lost, more than any other aircraft.

      Not too much for a good aircraft.
      1. Freeman 20 January 2020 15: 14 New
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        Quote: Mavrikiy
        Quote: Mersi
        Time flows inevitably - everything in the world is changing, becoming obsolete and replaced by modern ...
        The F-4 Phantom, for its time, was very good!
        Facts to the studio!
        Vietnamese. Wiki
        Throughout the war, for all reasons, 761 to 895 F-4s were lost, more than any other aircraft.

        Not too much for a good aircraft.


        Well, and his opponents were worthy.
        No wonder the "folk" song appeared.



        Threat. Clip selected due to documentary photos as footage
  2. rocket757 20 January 2020 11: 31 New
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    Yeah, the car fought.
    However, in some places it remains in service.
    1. Mavrikiy 20 January 2020 13: 50 New
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      Quote: rocket757
      Yeah, the car fought.
      However, in some places it remains in service.

      Republic of Korea, Iran, Greece, Egypt, all. request
      1. rocket757 20 January 2020 13: 53 New
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        Everything is right, someone cannot replace, and who is not in a hurry for one reason or another.
        1. Mavrikiy 20 January 2020 14: 03 New
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          Quote: rocket757
          Everything is right, someone cannot replace, and who is not in a hurry for one reason or another.

          Nonsense, the reason is one, it is the only one - mani-mani. request
          1. rocket757 20 January 2020 14: 10 New
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            Mani, the lack thereof, is the main argument.
      2. TokarevT 20 January 2020 21: 22 New
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        Turkey too.
        1. Mavrikiy 21 January 2020 09: 02 New
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          Quote: TokarevT
          Turkey too.
          You "live" in 2016, in the yard 2020. request VIKI - good, but do not forget to turn on the head.
          1. TokarevT 23 January 2020 12: 06 New
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            Is there too much pathos on such a modest occasion?
            Nowhere else to assert oneself or is it just a symptom of old age?
  3. Vasily Ponomarev 20 January 2020 11: 31 New
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    oh, legend, what else can I say (even if moment 21 was maneuverable)
  4. apro 20 January 2020 11: 39 New
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    Aircraft era. Legend ...
    That time of great accomplishments and accomplishments. Together with MIG-21 they left their mark in history ..
  5. Jack O'Neill 20 January 2020 12: 06 New
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    In the cap is one of the Phantoms of the 302nd tactical fighter squadron. 302nd today - disbanded. (
    There was a second Phantom, which was also painted in honor of the farewell of the 302nd squadron.




    In general, I really like Japanese airplane camokas.
    Here's an example of an F-15J:

    F-15J in livery in honor of the 40th anniversary of the 305th tactical fighter squadron during take-off from Komatsu air base.

    The F-15J Eagle from the 305th Tactical Fighter Squadron from the Hofu Air Base is especially livery to the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Japan Self-Defense Air Force.


    Phantom old man, it’s time to retire, although the machine is noble, it has been flying since the middle of that century. At one time, Phantom II was on the cutting edge in terms of manufacturability!
    They will be replaced by F-35.
  6. Old26 20 January 2020 12: 36 New
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    Yes, a legendary plane, a soldier's plane. In how many wars he participated, like our MIG-21, the French Mirage-3 and the same American A-4 Skyhawk. Year-olds. And at least in 1-2 countries they are still in service.
  7. A5V
    A5V 20 January 2020 12: 54 New
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    Well, F-4s are still being actively exploited in Greece, Turkey, South Korea, and there are some in Iran. So about the "end of an era" in the title overdone a bit :)
    1. Ua3qhp 20 January 2020 15: 15 New
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      He has long moved into the category of MIG-15, Yak-3, etc.
      Models for 50 years. This flying scrap metal is exploited only because there is no war and money is a pity.
  8. Old26 20 January 2020 15: 43 New
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    Quote: Ua3qhp
    Models for 50 years.

    It was produced in 1958. That is already 62 years old.
  9. Ros 56 20 January 2020 16: 27 New
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    What, are they still alive? I thought they left only memories. recourse
  10. il-z 20 January 2020 17: 22 New
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    In total, Mitsubishi built 127 127 F-4FJ

    Please correct on "Total Mitsubishi built 127 F-4FJ," - hurts my eyes))
  11. Razvedka_Boem 20 January 2020 17: 51 New
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    The predatory beauty of this car .. Aesthetically - one of the best old men.
  12. VIT101 20 January 2020 18: 19 New
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    I would like to note the high level of flight organization, good conditions for storing and servicing aircraft, keeping taxiways clean, allowing taxiing in close proximity and good training for pilots.
  13. Dmitry Makarov 21 January 2020 13: 46 New
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    So the Turks will soon buy the Su-35 and the Phantom will sink into oblivion.