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F-4E-41 Phantom II (69) RNZAF

- Initial delivery batch of 11 Block 41 F-4E Phantom delivered in 1969 (first batch of a five year 16 aircraft order.)

- Serial # NZ6201 to NZ6211.

- Standard SEA camouflage and USAF stencils of the day.

- Fitted "for but not with ECM" so RWR antenna, wiring and cockpit displays fitted but no computer to make it function.

- Weapons procured includes Mk-80 series slick/ retarded bombs, AIM-9E, AIM-7E, LAU-10/A, and LAU-3/A

First flight off the St. Louis assembly line.

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Early RNZAF Fern Leaf roundels - not popular!

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F-4E-41 Phantom II (72) RNZAF

- Above aircraft after MIDAS4 gun muzzle modification in 1972 and instillation of low-voltage formation lights.

- Decision for follow up purchase of RWR equipment deferred permanently so cockpit RWR displays removed.

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F-4E-41 Phantom II (74) RNZAF

- Above aircraft with maneuvering slats fitted in 1974 via kit-sets procured with the second batch of Phantoms (Block 60) delivered below.

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F-4E-60 Phantom II (74) RNZAF

- Second and final batch of 5 Block 60 F-4E Phantoms delivered in 1974.

- Serial # NZ6212 to NZ6216.

- Standard SEA camouflage and USAF stencils of the day (slightly different to the Block 41 aircraft as five years newer).

- Fitted "for but not with ECM" so RWR antenna and wiring fitted but no computer to make it function. Cockpit RWR displays removed in RNZAF service.

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1979ish, lower 'Camouflage Grey' color replaced with 'Light Gull Grey' as used on the RNZAF's P-3 Orion (this was done in real life on the RNZAF A-4K Skyhawks).

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1984, F-4E fleet repainted in Euro 1 which better suits the New Zealand environment.

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F-4E-ARN Phantom II (84) RNZAF

- 6 attrition replacements purchased and delivered in 1984 from current USAF F-4E fleet in preparation for RNZAF F-4E fleet avionics/ capability upgrade.

- Serial # NZ6251 to NZ6256.

- Standard SEA wraparound camouflage and USAF stencils of the day.

- Full current USAF F-4E fleet RWR/ countermeasure (flare/ chaff) capability.

- Aircraft equipped with TISEO and AN/ARN-101 Digital Avionics Modular System (ARN-101 provides for a CCIP bombing mode).

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F-4E-41/60 'Kahu' Phantom II (88) RNZAF

- Comprehensive $140 million upgrade program: project 'Kahu'. First upgraded aircraft operational in 1988.

- AN/APG-66(NZ) multi-mode radar.

- Modernized cockpit with glass displays, HOTAS and a Ferranti wide-angle HUD.

- ALR-66 RWR

- ALE-40 countermeasure dispensers.

- MIL-STD 1553B databus

- Litton Industries LN-93 inertial navigation system.

- Airframe and engines completely stripped down and given a life extension.

- Aircraft wiring replaced.

- Engine smoke abatement system.

- Modern weapons procured include GBU-10 LGB kits, AIM-9L, AIM-7M, CRV-7, AGM-65B/G.

- F-15 600 gallon HPC tanks as on USAF Phantoms.

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1997 onwards all green camouflage.

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2004, All RNZAF aircraft repainted 'Medium Grey'. Previous 'urgent operational requirement' program adds targeting pod (Litening), GPS navigation,  GBU-12 and JDAM capability for OEF deployment.

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Background (all factual):

 

In mid 1964 Operational Requirement No. 5/Air called for a tactical combat aircraft to replace the Canberra. Specifically a long range aircraft with the primary role of counter-air/interdiction and secondary roles of close air support and air defense.

 

In June 1965 The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Morrison was quoted as wanting 18 F-111 aircraft for the RNZAF at a cost of £1.5 million per aircraft. The public and media supported the idea but the Chief of Defense Staff (who was a Naval Officer) and the acting Prime Minister publicly opposed the purchase.

 

In August 1965 the Chiefs of Staff Committee rejected the idea of acquiring long-range interdiction aircraft and in September agreed that close air support should be the primary role of the new combat aircraft.

 

In December came Air Staff Requirement No. 12 with the following requirements of the new combat aircraft:

 

- Ability to provide effective air support to ground forces.
- Highly reliable and robust
- Self defense capability to evade or counter supersonic interceptors and surface-to-air missiles.
- Long range.
- Ability to operate closely with American and Australian forces.

 

By May 1966 the RNZAF had finished evaluating six candidate aircraft:

 

- F-4C Phantom II
- A-7A Corsair II
- Mirage IIIO
- F-5A Freedom Fighter
- F-104G Starfighter
- A-4E Skyhawk

 

In August 1966 the RNZAF officially asked the government to purchase 16 F-4 Phantoms at a total cost of £19 million.

 

Now remember AVM Morrison making it known he wanted the F-111? He would later go on to admit he never wanted the F-111 he had wanted the F-4 all along but given the cost of the F-4 he wanted to make it look more attractive (cost wise) by putting it next to the F-111.

 

The minister of Defense then announced the final stage of the evaluation had been reached and a decision was a few weeks away. The purchase of the F-4 seemed to be all but done...

 

BUT the Treasury department now intervened and recommended purchasing the F-5! The RNZAF High Command was furious! But ultimately powerless to halt the path to purchasing the A-4 Skyhwak that had just begun.

 

Over the next year the RNZAF, Cabinet Defense Committee, Treasury, the Finance Minister and the Chief of Defense wrangled over purchasing the F-4 or an alternative (F-5 or A-4). Then at the end of 1967 the New Zealand Currency was devalued and a squadron of F-4 Phantoms was now instantly out of New Zealand’s price range. It was either 11 Phantoms or 16 Skyhawks. So the Skyhawk it was.

 

So if the Treasury Department hadn't intervened in the procurement process towards the end of 1966 it seems entirely likely that New Zealand would have placed and order for the F-4 Phantom II at the end of that year. Or once the NZ dollar devalued in 1967 the option of an initial 11 F-4E order followed by another 5 in 5 years was considered, which I have gone for here.

Edited by dtmdragon
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Wow, awesome Dan! A squadron of these bad boys (2 Sqn RNAZF?), 75 Sqn A-4Ks, C-130s and a couple of AAR Boeings for logistic support, plus some UH-1s and NZSAS troopers for laser designation and CSAR, all would have made for a hell of a Kiwi expeditionary air wing back in the 70s thru 90s...  :good:

Edited by KiwiBiggles
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Very nice "what if" entry, the New Zealand air force planes are always a pleasure to see, specially when they wear the Euro1 cammo.

Well done dtmdragon!

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