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Phantoms at RAF Tengah

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McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom FG.1 - No.74 Squadron, RAF Far East Air Force, 1971


In January 1968, the UK's Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced that all British troops would be withdrawn from major military bases in South East Asia by 1971 and for the RAF this would mean the end of the Far East Air Force. However, the incoming Conservative government of 1970 quickly reversed this decision so as to demonstrate it's political and military commitment to South East Asia as part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. However, to balance the books they not only cancelled the proposed refit of HMS Eagle (necessary to effectively operate the F-4K Phantom) but confirmed their plans to withdraw this fine warship from service.


Following this announcement, a total of 20 F-4K airframes that had originally been ordered for the Fleet Air Arm were diverted to the Royal Air Force. Initially, these aircraft were to be used to bolster the UK's air defences but with the renewed commitment to South East Asia they were diverted to the Far East Air Force to replace the Lightning F.6's of No.74 Squadron based at RAF Tengah where they served until 1976.










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