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Phantoms Phorever, Part 8: Spain & Turkey
By Stefan Kuhn(Spain), Nicholas Tselepidis(Turkey) (artworks by Tom Cooper)
Nov 16, 2003, 17:48

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Spain

Spain operated a relative small number of F-4s, but did this for quite some time.

The first to be purchased were F-4C. 36 aircraft were delivered, all of which were former USAF mounts from the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing RAF Bentwaters. Under the Project Peace Alfa those planes were refurbished by CASA at Getafe and put into serice with Ala 12 at Torrejon. They replaced aging F-86Fs and F-104Gs, and were operated by the 121 Escaudron and 122 Escuadron.



The following planes were delivered:
64-0884,
64-0900,
64-0903,
64-0909,
64-0906,
64-0920,
64-0925,
64-0967,
64-0895,
64-0846,
64-0813,
64-0880,
64-0866,
64-0868,
64-0853,
64-0854,
64-0872,
64-0855,
64-0924,
64-0877,
64-0894,
64-0881,
64-0861,
64-0862,
64-0880,
64-0858,
64-0878,
64-0859,
64-0859,
64-0856,
64-0887,
64-0907,
64-0870,
64-0864.

The Spanish serials were C.12-01 to C12-36.

In 1978 four attrition replacement examples were received. ( 2 ex 35th TFW and 2 ex 58th TTW), including: 64-0820, 64-882, 64-0892, and 64-0896, serialled C.12-37 thru C.12-40 in Spanish service.

Promises of a replacement by 18 F-4Es failed to materialize and the wing finally converted to the E/F-18A. The last F-4C was withdrawn from service in April 1979. Some airframes were still at Torrejon in 2002 or have been moved to the Bardenas Reales shooting range.

The RF-4C however were to last much longer. The first four were delivered with the replacement F-4Cs under the Peace Alfa II contract. Those were RF-4Cs from the 363rd TRW at Shaw Air Force base: they were assigned to a separate escuadrillia (flight) with in Ala 12. In the mid-1980s there were considerations to replace the remaining RF-4Cs with Mirage F-1CRs, but that deal failed to materialize due to a lack of fund, Spain finding a cheaper solution with eight ex-USAF RF-4C Phantoms purchased in 1989. These planes were coming from the 165th TRS/123rd TRW Kentucky ANG, and formed the 123 Escuadron ?Titan? as part of Ala 12. The original four RF-4Cs were withdrawn from use and subsequently cannibalized for spare parts. In November 1995 another six RF-4Cs were added to the fleet. This time the airframes cam from the 192nd RS ?High Rollers? / 152nd TRG Nevada ANG.

The era of Spanish F-4 operations ended in 2002, when the last RF-4C was withdrawn from use. The RF-4Cs were replaced by recce-pod equipped E/F(R)-18A+.

The serial numbers of the spanish RF-4C fleet were:
CR.12-41 - 65-0936
CR.12-42 - 65-0937
CR.12-43 - 65-0938
CR.12-44 - 65-0943
CR.12-45 - 64-1069
CR.12-46 - 64-1070
CR.12-47 - 64-1083
CR.12-48 - 65-0822
CR.12-49 - 65-0835
CR.12.50 - 65-0841
CR.12-51 - 65-0851
CR.12-52 - 65-0873
CR.12-53 - 64-1006
CR.12-54 - 64-1039
CR.12-55 - 65-0823
CR.12-56 - 65-0864
CR.12-57 - 65-0876
CR.12-58 - 65-0897

A well-known shot of three F-4Cs of the Ejercito del Aire. Spain purchased a total of 36 exUSAF F-4Cs, with deliveries commencing in April 1971, and aircraft entering service under the designation C-12 with the Escadrones 121 and 122 of Ala (Wing) No. 12, at Torrejon AB. (Tom Cooper collection)





The team of ACIG.org would wellcome any additional details about Spanish Phantoms, especially if somebody could supply EdA serials that would match the airframes supplied from the USA.




Turkey



This was one of the first THK F-4Es during flying tests in the US in 1974. Note the large roundels. (Photo McDonnel Douglas)



The Turkish Air Force (THK) from its entry to NATO in 1952 was receiving a large number of second hand fighters, namely F-84's and F-100's. With the Kennedy administration in power, the "Whiz kids" were holding key places namely in the Defense and State Departments, and they started to change the way the US shaped and formed its relations with the rest of NATO allies, and also its relations with the US Defense Industry. In that context the F-104 was sold to most NATO allies, including Greece and Turkey.
Along with the F-5A they were the first fighter jets received brand new from both countries. Turkey was also using the F-100 as the backbone of its fleet, after receiving surplus Super Sabres from other NATO countries.


An F-4E of the 1 AJU (Fighter Jet Unit), serialled 1-277 (77-0277), seen during the visit at Bittburg AB, in Germany, in the 1990s. (photo by Stefan Kuhn)



During 1967 tensions with Greece over Cyprus increased, and in November 8th of that year, the Hellenic Air Force's celebration day of St, Michael, a massive number of THK fighters flew over the Aegean, forcing the HAF (PA) to cancel open day celebrations and to scramble its fighters. When after 4 years relations between Greece and the US started to improve and Greece ordered the F-4E Phantom as its main fighter in 1972, Turkey was also offered 40 Phantoms thru FMS with the program named "Peace Diamond". The THK Phantoms were started to being delivered on August 30 1974 and they were late for operating in Cyprus, unlike the Greek Phantoms that were delivered since April 1974. The first unit to receive them was 112 Filo(Squadron), 1st AjU(Main Jet Base) in Eskisehir. After the first batch of 22 Phantoms were delivered, the US Congress imposed an embargo because of the invasion of Cyprus, so the 18 remaining were not delivered until 1979 when they arrived to 111 Filo, thus completeting the Eskisehir strength of 40 Phantoms. When the arms embargo was lifted and the 7:10 ratio in US arms supplies to Greece and Turkey was adopted by the Carter administration later in 1977,a second order for another 40 Phantoms (8 of them RF-4E's) was placed, and these went to 171, 172 Squadrons (Filo) to the 7th Main Jet Base (AjU) at Malatya/Erhac. The RF-4E's went to 113 Filo in 1980 and the unit used them along Thunderflashes, as was done also across the Aegean in 348 Mira.

In 1981 15 ex-USAF F-4E's were transferred to Turkey from AMARC (in SEA scheme) followed by 15 in 1984 (used as attrition replacements) and another 41 from ANG units painted mostly in Europe 1 camouflage in 1987. These aircraft were used in the place of the Super Sabres that were being retired, as fighter bombers and interceptors along with the F-104S'. The first batch (1981) went to 173 Filo in Malatya while the last batch (1984-1987) went to 131 and 132 Filo at Konya.Another 40 ex-ANG Phantoms were given to Turkey starting on the 18th of March 1991, after the involment of Turkey in Desert Shield/Storm and especially the use of the Incirlik base at Adana by coallition aircraft and were operated by 132 Filo.


F-4E 67-0376 seen with the "sharkmouth" artwork on the nose, left behind from the days this aircraft was flown by the US Air National Guards. (photo by Stefan Kuhn)



As was also the case with Greece, the Luftwaffe offered a large number of RF-4Es in 1992. Their number was 46 and these went to 113 and 173 Squadrons, in Eskisehir and Malatya/Erhac respectively. From this number 32 flew while 14 were used as spare parts sources. This brought the total Phantom II airframes delivered to Turkey to the number of 236.

In 2003 the final of the original 54 upgraded "Terminator 2020" Phantoms were delivered. These were optimised for air to ground missions and the upgrade was undertaken by Israeli companies after the Turkish-Israeli defense agreement of 1996.


"73-1053" is one of the upgraded Terminator 2020's now flying with 171 Filo .Together with its leader they show their Hill Grey II based camouflage. (THK Photo)



THK Units flying the Phantom:

112 Filo from August 1974
171 Filo from 1978
172 Filo also from 1978
111 Filo from 1979
113 Filo from 1980
173 Filo from 1981
131 and 132 Filo from 1987
173 Filo from 1994
OCU "Simsek Kitaati" (Lightning Detachment)



Serial numbers of THK Phantoms:


Peace Diamond 1

73-1016 thru 73-1055


Peace Diamond 2

77-0277 thru 77-0308
RF-4E's: 77-0309 thru 77-0316


Peace Diamond 3

Delivered in 1981

66-0293
66-0312
66-0373
66-0374
67-0215
67-0222
67-0227
67-0242
67-0251
67-0259
67-0262
67-0304
67-0336
67-0338
68-0307

Delivered in 1984

66-0305
66-0307
66-0318
67-0208
67-0216
67-0217
67-0221
67-0233
67-0248
67-0258
67-0273
67-0290
67-0316
67-0342
67-0387


"67-0258" was delivered in 1984 as an attrition replacement and is seen here in the Europe 1 camouflage. Those ex USAF Phantoms were repainted in the Turkish version of the SEA scheme when they entered the depot for maintenance. (Photo www.tuaf.org)



Delivered in 1987

66-0297
66-0298
66-0300
66-0301
66-0303
66-0304
66-0309
66-0314
66-0317
66-0320
66-0323
66-0333
66-0336
66-0339
66-0344
66-0345
66-0346
66-0351
66-0354
66-0355
66-0361
66-0370
66-0379
67-0210
67-0226
67-0230
67-0232
67-0268
67-0269
67-0272
67-0274
67-0280
67-0285
67-0299
67-0302
68-0313
68-0319
68-0350
67-0334
67-0344
67-0354




This unidentified F-4E was photographed by Darren Pritchard in the late 1990s, during a visit in the UK. (via Stefan Kuhn)




Peace Diamond 4

Delivered in 1991-2

66-0292
66-0328
66-0334
66-0359
67-0265
67-0298
67-0301
67-0319
67-0331
67-0353
67-0360
67-0372
67-0376
67-0382
67-0391
67-0395
67-0396
67-0398
68-0305
68-0342
68-0346
68-0347
68-0348
68-0351
68-0374
68-0383
68-0400
68-0403
68-0409
68-0427
68-0446
68-0461
68-0473
68-0474
68-0482
68-0497
68-0498
68-0504
68-0528
68-0532
69-7585


Here we see a formation of ex Luftwaffe RF-4E's , with "69-7501" (ex 35+54) in the foreground, received between 1993 and 1995. They are seen in the "Luftwaffe scheme" which is similar but not identical to "Europe 1". (Photo www.tuaf.org)



Ex German RF-4Es

Delivered in 1992-5

69-7448
69-7451 thru 69-7453
69-7455 thru 69-7459
69-7465 thru 69-7469
69-7472,69-7473
69-7475
69-7478 thru 69-7481
69-7483 thru 69-7485
69-7488 thru 69-7490
69-7497
69-7501
69-7503 thru 69-7505
69-7510
69-7512 thru 69-7515
69-7518
69-7520 thru 69-7526
69-7530



THK F-4E 2020 "Terminator", s/n 73-1044, of the 171 Filo "Corsan", as it appeared on RIAT Fairford, in 2003 (Artwork by Tom Cooper)






Special thanks to A.Cagri Acikgoz from www.tuaf.org for his help regarding the serial numbers and THK unit Phantom deliveries.





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