ROKAF F-4 Phantom farewell

South Korea retires its last F-4 Phantom fighters

Jets began to be received in the late 60s and will be replaced by the F-35 and KF-21

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) held a farewell ceremony for its last F-4 Phantom fighters on June 7.

Developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), the Phantom was a fighter originally intended for the US Navy, but which also operated in the Air Force.

The ROKAF received its first F-4Ds in 1969 and eight years later introduced the more modern and capable F-4Es, which were retired this year.

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The Asian country also flew the RF-4C, for reconnaissance, from 1989, but it was written off in 2014. The F-4D had already left service in 2010.

The plan is for the F-4s to be replaced by around 60 5th generation F-35 fighters and 120 locally developed KF-21 Boramae. The remaining F-5 Tiger IIs will also be retired with the Phantoms.

ROKAF F-4 Phantom farewell (ROKAF)

To mark the farewell to the iconic supersonic jet, ROKAF applied retroactive camouflages and inscriptions marking the historic moment.

South Korea is the last operator of the F-4 Phantom in Asia-Pacific after Japan retired its aircraft in 2020. Before that, Australia even flew the aircraft through leasing, but only until 1973 when the first F-111 were delivered.

The ROKAF operated around 220 F-4s of the three variants, but fewer than 20 aircraft were recently active.

The Phantom, however, continues to fly in Turkey, Greece and possibly Iran, despite US economic sanctions.


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