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The Phantom FGR.5's of RAF Coningsby

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McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.5 - No.6 and No.41 Squadrons, RAF Strike Command, 1976

The cancellation of the Hawker P.1154 in 1964 quickly led to the adoption of the LTV F-8E(RN) Crusader for the Royal Navy to replace the Scimitar and Sea Vixen and the adoption of the McDonnell Douglas Phantom for the RAF to replace the Hunter. However, anxious to improve the UK's trade balance with the US, the UK Government insisted that the RAF's Phantoms would adopt either the Rolls Royce Spey turbofan or the Anglo-French Rolls Royce/SNECMA Sequanna turbofan then under development for the proposed Mirage IVB and advanced Mirage III aircraft. The Sequanna was quickly chosen being lighter and slimmer than the Spey and fitted the F-4 like a glove whilst producing about 1,000lbs more thrust per engine than the stock J79-GE-15 turbojet but with a lower specific fuel consumption.

First flown in 1965 and entering service with the RAF in 1966 the Phantom F.1 supplemented the Lightning interceptors of RAF Fighter Command whilst the Phantom FG.2 re-equipped many Hunter and Canberra squadrons at home and abroad. The FR.3 was a planned version of the RF-4C that failed to materialise as the RAF adopted podded recconnaisance pods but the FGR.4 was the RAF's first true multi-role version of the Phantom taking advantage of the new F-4E airframe and a more powerful Sequanna RB.390 engine developing 19,000lbs with reheat. Only 50 FGR.4's were built before production switched to the FGR.5 with Sequanna RB.392 engines, slatted wings and more advanced avionics. The FGR.5's served at home and abroad, most notably with RAF Strike Command and RAF South East Asia Command before finally being retired in 2003.








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