The legendary F-4 Phantom II began as a proposal for the US Navy. Developed as an all-weather fleet defense interceptor, they type was soon adapted to fighter and attack bomber roles due to its incredible performance capabilities. It wasn't long before it was adopted by the US Marines and the Air Force for the air superiority role.
Entering service in 1960 the Phantom II was a stellar performer. At one time it held 16 world records including an absolute speed record and an absolute altitude record. These were only eventually bested by its F-15 Eagle replacement. It had a top speed of over Mach 2.2. and it could carry more than 18,000 pounds of ordinance on its external hardpoints.
The F-4 Phantom II was used extensively in the Vietnam Conflict by all branches of the US Military. The airplane was initially designed without an internal cannon but combat experience during the war showed this to be a shortcoming. The F-4E model rectified this oversight by incorporating an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon mounted in an extended nose.
The F-4 Phantom II remained in service with United States armed forces being used in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel roles during the 1991 Gulf War, The last Phantom IIs were retired in 1996.
This artwork depicts an early F-4E airplane as it appeared during its time in Vietnam. This particular aircraft was credited with downing 2 MiG 19 or J-6 aircraft.