Sunday, February 21, 2016

F-4 Phantom II Carrying a Phoenix Missile

1 Scan1725b And you thought that only F-14’s carried the Phoenix missile!

Here are photos of an F4H-1 (F-4B-8-MC) BuNo 148412 during weapons trials carrying the Phoenix in a launching pod. This aircraft is the first to fire a Phoenix missile.

I have looked at this photo many times while doing the EROS post; but, didn’t realize what the F-4 was carrying! This F-4B is currently preserved at the Heritage in Flight Museum, Lincoln, IL, falsely marked as USAF 148412. This aircrafts history is here.

Click here to view photos

Clarification: Tommy Thomason points out, rightfully, that the Phoenix missile was probably never actually fired from the above rig. (The missile was probably fired from a conventional station during the launch tests!)

Scott Lowther has this to say about this in his “Unwanted” blog: “In support of their Model 225 fighter design, an entry into the VFX program (eventually to become the F-14), McDonnell built a test rig mounted to an F-4 Phantom II. Their Model 225 carried the Phoenix missiles semi-submerged; missile ejection was carried out by pnematic “ramps” that, at full extension, served as doors to cover the holes left by the missiles. Thus the missiles were carried in an aerodynamically clean configuration, and left an aerodynamically clean surface behind them after they left. To prove out the concept, the centerline tank from an F-4 was modified to carry a single missile and the associated pneumatics and doors and such. Without the radar system used on the F-14, the F-4 would have been a poor carrier for the Phoenix; this was simply a test program to demonstrate the missile ejection system. Sadly all the info I have on this comes from a brief writeup early in the process. I don’t know if any ejection tests were (actually) carried out.”

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