RF-4C Phantom II walkaround

   Among the earliest USAF Phantoms, the RF-4C was also one of the last, not bowing out of service until the mid 1990s. The original requirement was for an RF-101 replacement, based on the F-110A/F-4C airframe, which at that time had not yet flown. As was typical with tactical recon aircraft, the RF-4C was to have no self defense armament, with the fitting for AIM-7 and AIM-9 AAMs being dispensed with. Without an air/air mission, the F-4C's radar was not fitted, in favor of the AN/APQ-99 - this set had a smaller antenna, allowing a slimmer radome to be used.

   Just as RF-4Cs were among the last active USAF Phantoms, they will also be among the final F-4s used as Full Scale Aerial Targets. In April 2013, after having been in storage since 1989, RF-4C 68-0599, still wearing the weathered remnants of a "lizard" camouflage paint scheme, was resurrected for conversion to a QRF-4C, marking the end of Phantom drone conversions.

The NMUSAF's RF-4C is a combat veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Shield/Storm, and was retired to Dayton in May 1994, some twenty-nine years after it was first delivered.

 .RF-4C walk around at Dayton - rear view

RF-4C 64-047 tail close up

RF-4C nose showing nose art and sharkmouth, camera ports

RF-4C mission markings

RF-4C Bibliography:

Robert D. Archer   Edwards Air Force Base: Open House at the USAF Flight Test Center 1957-1966  p.172: rear quarter view of an early RF-4C

Randy Walker   More Painted Ladies  Modern Military Nose-Art & Unusual Markings  1994 ISBN: 0-88740-514-2  RF-4Cs 66-0148 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, 65-0939 Lady Di 155th RG, 65-0878 Rambo, 64-0133 Alabama ANG, 64-1062 Free Spirit 155th RG, 68-0551 NoGun Shogun 15th TRS

AirDOC No.01: USAFE Phantoms Part 1 - The MDD F-4 Phantom II over Germany  by Patrick Martin, Christian Gerard
Color profiles include RF-4Cs 72-0152, 68-0557, 68-0570 and 71-0249 / 38th TRS in various camouflage schemes

Robert F. Dorr, Norman E. Taylor  US Air Force Nose Art - Into the '90s  RF-4C 68-0854/Alabama ANG with commemorative markings

Patrick Martin   Tail Code The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings  Schiffer Publishing  1994  ISBN: 0-88740-513-4   Photos: RF-4C  66-0400 4th TRS / 75th TRW  p.87

Del Laughery  Boneyard Almanac then and now  p.73: RF-4C 64-0997 Dickie Bird II ex California ANG

Boneyard Almanac: 20th Century Picture Book  by Del Laughery   p.75: photo of RF-4C 66-0395

Photo: early RF-4C in flight   Aviation Week & Space Technology  February 24, 1964   front cover

Goodyear Aerospace ad, featuring a large color photo of RF-4C 12200   Aviation Week & Space Technology  November 23, 1964  p.56-57

Erwin J. Bulban  "Detachable Recon Pod Developed for F-4"   Aviation Week & Space Technology  February 12, 1973  p.47  Includes a photo of RF-4C 66-419 with B-52Ds in the background.

Photo: AFLC RF-4C 65-0905 in red/white scheme   Air International May 1989  p.245

Bill Spidle  "Photo Phantom Phaseout"  Smoke Trails: Quarterly Journal of the F-4 Phantom Society  Vol.6 No. 2 1991  RF-4Cs in the twilight of their service

"Ron Hilker's Phabulous photo Phantom"   FineScale Modeler  January 2001  The big 1/32 Revell RF-4C as a Desert Storm aircraft.

The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973: An Illustrated Account  Carl Berger, editor  p.88-89: photo sequence showing an RF-4C breaking apart after being hit by an SA-2.

F-4G Wild Weasel walkaround