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Royal Navy Phantoms - An earlier start

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McDonnell F-4B(UK) Phantom FG.1 - 700P Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy, 1966


By 1961 it was inescapable that McDonnell's F4H-1 Phantom was fast becoming the standard against which all other fighters would be judged a fact quickly realised by the Royal Navy who were seeking a replacement for the De Havilland Sea Vixen in the fleet defence role. Lord Mountbatten pushed hard for a minimum change version of the F-4B and stone-walled any attempts to force the P.1154 upon the senior service. In March 1962 the UK Government cancelled the P.1154 and announced that 100 McDonnell F-4B's would be purchased for the Royal Navy for delivery during 1965 and 1966 and also announcing extensive refit plans for both HMS Ark Royal and HMS Eagle to keep them in service until 1975.


Despite the desire for a minimum change version some changes were necessary. The short 54 foot decklift length of the Royal Navy's carriers meant that the radar and radome had to be designed to swing round 180o and an extra-extensible nose wheel leg had to be incorporated to increase the nose-up angle to compensate for the less powerful catapults on the British carriers. However, Mountbatten and the Admiralty resisted all calls to adopt the promising Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engine and this undoubtedly helped in McDonnell getting the first F-4B(UK) into the air on June 26th, 1964 with deliveries to the specially formed 700P Naval Air Squadron commencing early in 1965 and eventually equipping four front-line squadrons as the Phantom FG.1. During 1972 and 1973 all surviving Phantom FG.1's were retro-fitted with the Westinghouse AWG-10 pulse-doppler radar and the type remained in service until 1984 seeing service in the 1982 Falklands conflict.











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I like the carrier shots :good:

Edited by ValAstur

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