Why is the US F-4 Phantom Fighter Still Used by Developed Countries Even though it is Obsolete?

Why is the US F-4 Phantom Fighter Still Used by Developed Countries Even though it is Obsolete?
US F-4 Phantom Fighter Still in Service for 60 Years

International Military - The F-4 Phantom is four decades old, but who would have thought this aircraft is still used by developed countries such as South Korea and Turkey. Many countries still vote and are given permission to buy the F-4. In particular, those in important strategic positions such as frontline NATO members Turkey, Greece, Britain, Germany, and Japan.

Quoted from Military Watch Magazine, of the eleven foreign clients of the F-4, four of them continue to operate the aircraft, and the latest is still over 40 years old. However, all clients are expected to replace their Phantoms before 2030.

Japan and Egypt also operate the F-4 until 2021 and 2013 when they are late to retire to be replaced by the F-35 and MiG-29M fighters. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), the official name for the South Korean air force, is currently fielding nine squadrons of Vietnam War-era F-4E and F-5E/F third-generation fighters. The F-4E previously formed the elite of the Korean fleet.

It is also heavier and more expensive to operate than its aircraft other than the F-15K Slam Eagles and the new F-35A Lightning II stealth jet. Only one squadron of 30 F-4E fighters, which have been refurbished and modernized domestically, remains in service. It is hoped that these will be replaced by the F-35A, of which the country will use 60.

Moreover, it also has the original KF-21 stealth fighter expected to enter service late in the decade after the last Phantom retired. The KF-21 is expected to replace many of South Korea's remaining aging fighter classes, most likely including most of its F-5 and F-16 fleet.

South Korea is expected to be the next F-4 operator to drop the class from service possibly by the middle of this decade. Turkey also still operates the F-4 where it and the F-5 form two additional squadrons the first primarily for the ground attack role and the latter for training.

The Turkish Air Force will initially replace the F-4 with the F-35A, which produces more than 900 parts for domestic use and is set to acquire more than 130 units. The country's expulsion from the F-35 program has made replacement of the F-4 highly uncertain. Even so, there is a possibility that the F-4 will be replaced by the F-16.

Quoted from boeing.com, the F-4 Phantom II, with a top speed of more than double the sound, is one of the most versatile fighters ever built. Just 31 months after its first flight, the F-4 is the US Navy's fastest, highest-flying and longest-range fighter aircraft. It first flew 27 May 1958, and entered service in 1961.

The F-4 set 16 speed, altitude and time to climb records. In 1959, the prototype set a world altitude record at 98,556 feet (30,000 meters). In 1961, an F-4 set a world speed record at 1,604 mph (2,581 kph) on a 15-mile circuit.

By the end of production in 1985, McDonnell had built 5,068 Phantom IIs, and Mitsubishi, in Japan, had built 127. Modifications included improvements to weapons, avionics, radar and engines. The RF version is equipped with cameras and surveillance equipment for aerial reconnaissance and armaments range from cannons to missiles.

The F-4 saw combat in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm and served with the air forces of 11 countries other than the United States. The two US military aviation demonstration teams, the Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds, flew the Phantom II from 1969 to 1973.

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