Phantom FG.1

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This page is about the British jet fighter Phantom FG.1. For other versions, see F-4 Phantom II (Family).
GarageImage Phantom FG.1.jpg
Phantom FG.1
Research:350 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:950 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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By the late 1950s, the Fleet Air Arm were looking to replace their roster of ageing de Havilland Sea Vixens. Having dropped the idea of a navalised version of the P.1154 (a supersonic development of the P.1127, which was itself the predecessor of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier), they instead decided to purchase a customised variant of the F-4 Phantom II from the United States. The Phantom FG.1, also known as the F-4K, was created from the F-4J with a number of modifications, including a hingeable nose radome and longer front gear leg to adapt it to the smaller British carriers, as well as the installation of the larger and more powerful Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines. From April 1968, 48 aircraft would be delivered to the Fleet Air Arm; however, issues would soon be encountered, namely in that the heat produced by the afterburning Spey engines would cause the flight deck plating to buckle and melt. Ultimately, only HMS Ark Royal (R09) would be refitted to operate the Phantom FG.1, carrying 28 aircraft, and they would remain in service until the Ark Royal's decommissioning in 1978, after which the aircraft were transferred to RAF service.

Introduced in Update "Starfighters", the Phantom FG.1 is very similar to the Phantom FGR.2, equipping AIM-9Gs, Skyflashes, a pulse-Doppler radar, and the two powerful turbofan engines that differentiate them from other Phantoms. Due to the navalisation, it is marginally heavier than the FGR.2, but does feature a tail hook for carrier landings. The main draws of the Phantom are its good acceleration and high-speed manoeuvrability, as well as the large air-to-air complement which, coupled with the powerful pulse-Doppler radar, allows the FG.1 to be a potent air superiority fighter. Use the aircraft's speed and AIM-9Gs to target unsuspecting opponents from medium ranges, while utilising the Skyflashes in head-on approaches. The 20 mm gunpod can be removed for extra flight performance, or equipped to provide another option in close range engagements.

General info

Flight performance

Arrestor gear
Accelerates braking by grabbing the brake cable on the deck of the aircraft carrier
Air brakes
Allows you to dramatically reduce the flight speed by releasing special flaps
Drogue parachute
Reduces braking distance when landing on any runway
Max speed
at 10 667 m2 268 km/h
Turn time26 s
Max altitude16 000 m
Engine2 х Rolls-Royce Spey 203
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight25 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 10,667 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 2,190 2,160 16000 26.5 26.7 176.2 165.5 850
Upgraded 2,355 2,268 25.5 26.0 246.6 210.0


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear Drogue chute
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
1458 463 N/A 584 463 ~11 ~4
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 810 < 750 < 700 N/A

Engine performance

Engine Aircraft mass
Engine name Number Basic mass Wing loading (full fuel)
Rolls-Royce Spey 203 2 13,705 kg 397 kg/m2
Engine characteristics Mass with fuel (no weapons load) Max Takeoff
Weight (each) Type 10m fuel 20m fuel 30m fuel 33m fuel
1,860 kg Afterburning low-bypass turbofan 15,457 kg 17,177 kg 18,913 kg 19,545 kg 25,400 kg
Maximum engine thrust @ 0 m (RB/SB) Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)
Condition 100% WEP 10m fuel 20m fuel 30m fuel 33m fuel MTOW
Stationary 5,110 kgf 9,014 kgf 1.17 1.05 0.95 0.92 0.71
Optimal 5,110 kgf
(0 km/h)
10,311 kgf
(1,200 km/h)
1.33 1.20 1.09 1.06 0.81

The radiator can be manually controlled for increased time with afterburner without the engines overheating.

Survivability and armour

Aircraft countermeasures to distract IR and radar-guided missiles and also AA radar
Crew2 people
Speed of destruction
Structural1 458 km/h
Gear463 km/h

The Phantom FG.1 has no armour protection, the fuel tanks are self-sealing. The crew members are located towards the front of the fuselage, and all the important modules (engines, fuel tanks) are located in the rear of the fuselage. There are also fuel tanks in the wings. These factors make the pilots well protected from the rear, but vulnerable to the front, whereas all important modules are extremely vulnerable from the rear.

  • No armour protection
  • Self-sealing fuel tanks

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB2 994 → 4 044 Sl icon.png
RB8 848 → 11 953 Sl icon.png
SB9 129 → 12 333 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications297 000 Rp icon.png
459 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost3 000 Ge icon.png
Crew training270 000 Sl icon.png
Experts950 000 Sl icon.png
Aces3 200 Ge icon.png
Research Aces1 210 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
100 / 320 / 600 % Sl icon.png
244 / 244 / 244 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods jet compressor.png
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
350 Ge icon.png
Mods booster.png
New boosters
13 000 Rp icon.png
20 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
19 000 Rp icon.png
29 000 Sl icon.png
560 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
37 000 Sl icon.png
710 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
350 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
13 000 Rp icon.png
20 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
37 000 Sl icon.png
710 Ge icon.png
Mods heli false thermal targets.png
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
350 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
Mk.N1 540lb
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
350 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods air to air missile.png
12 000 Rp icon.png
19 000 Sl icon.png
350 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods ammo.png
13 000 Rp icon.png
20 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
1000 LB
13 000 Rp icon.png
20 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods air to air missile.png
13 000 Rp icon.png
20 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods g suit.png
19 000 Rp icon.png
29 000 Sl icon.png
560 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon block rocket.png
Matra SNEB
19 000 Rp icon.png
29 000 Sl icon.png
560 Ge icon.png
Mods air to air midrange missile.png
19 000 Rp icon.png
29 000 Sl icon.png
560 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
37 000 Sl icon.png
710 Ge icon.png
Mods air to air midrange missile.png
24 000 Rp icon.png
37 000 Sl icon.png
710 Ge icon.png

Flares should be one of your top priorities. The bomb upgrades may also be useful, as give you a fighting chance against your missile-armed opponents, and the bombs provide a relatively reliable source of RP Rp icon.png as you work towards better equipping the aircraft for dogfights later down the line. Missiles should be researched as soon as possible as the FG.1 heavily relies on its missiles to take down enemies. Compressor and Engine provide the single largest addition to performance, far more than any of the other upgrades, and should be prioritised. The Airframe and Cover are not priorities, but New Boosters help immensely with taking on trickier opponents. The Offensive 20 mm and New 20 mm cannon upgrades are not priorities, as a close range dogfight is rare at this BR, meaning the gun is not as important, and it is often effective enough regardless.


Phantom FG.1 pushing into the sound barrier while carrying a 1,000 lb bomb payload
Ballistic Computer
CCIP (Guns) CCIP (Rockets) CCIP (Bombs) CCRP (Bombs)
alt={{{alt}}} alt={{{alt}}} alt={{{alt}}} alt={{{alt}}}

Offensive armament

The Phantom FG.1 is armed with:

  • A choice between two presets:
    • Without offensive armament
    • 90 x countermeasures

Suspended armament

The Phantom FG.1 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Hardpoints Phantom FG.1.png
20 mm GAU-4 cannons (1,200 rpg) 1
540 lb Mk.M2 bombs 2 3 3 3 2
1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 bombs 2 2 3 2 2
1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 No.117 bombs 2 2 3 2 2
SNEB type 23 rockets 36 54 54 54 36
AIM-7E Sparrow missiles 1 1 1 1
AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles 1, 2 1, 2
AIM-9G Sidewinder missiles 2 2
Skyflash missiles 1 1 1 1
600 gal drop tanks 1
Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 1,500 kg
Default weapon presets
  • 1 x 20 mm GAU-4 cannon
  • 1 x 600 gal drop tank
  • 2 x AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles
  • 4 x AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles
  • 4 x AIM-9G Sidewinder missiles
  • 4 x AIM-7E Sparrow missiles
  • 4 x Skyflash missiles
  • 234 x SNEB type 23 rockets
  • 11 x 1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 bombs (11,000 lb total)
  • 11 x 1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 No.117 bombs (11,000 lb total)
  • 13 x 540 lb Mk.M2 bombs (7,020 lb total)

Usage in battles

A Phantom FG.1 of 111 Squadron, or "Treble One", patrolling over the North Atlantic.
An F-4M/FGR.2 (front) and F-4K/FG.1 (back), both in the post-1983 RAF Medium Sea Grey camouflage scheme, flying above a Norwegian Fjord. While outwardly similar, the two Spey Phantoms perform slightly differently.

The Phantom FG.1 is the ultimate energy fighter. Its advantages over other aircraft are sheer power, roll rate, and its ability to climb to high altitudes. It has good speed and thrust-to-weight ratio at lower altitudes. The twin Rolls-Royce Spey 203 engines produce just over 9,000 kgf thrust when stationary- that is to say, on the runway- and over 10,000 kgf at near-supersonic speeds.

Side-climb high- around 8,000-9,000 m will do- and attack those beneath you. The Phantom's fantastic climb rate, as well as the FG.1's faster acceleration to maximum speed than any other F-4, including the FGR.2, gives it an excellent climb advantage over any and all opposition up to around 5,000 m (16,500 ft), and with side-climbing can easily manage to get to 10,000 m (33,000 ft) before anybody else can, save for F-4Es. It must be noted however that the Phantom's high-altitude controllability is not very good, and the aircraft flies like a brick above 7,500 m (24,000 ft).

The Phantom also has an RWR that can also differentiate between simple radar pings and a radar lock, which is invaluable in deciding whether one needs to start evasive manoeuvres to try break the lock or whether it is simply a sign of a distant enemy contact. The RWR is particularly useful when "notching" against an enemy Pulse Doppler radar. Use the UI to bring the radar lock warning line to the side of your aircraft (90 degree off the nose/tail). This will place the Phantom in zero relative velocity to the enemy and the ground clutter thus rendering you "invisible" to their radar.

The Westinghouse AN/APG-59 radar can scan up to 370 km away in a 120 degree arc, but generally you should be using the PDV search mode rather than standard search. The radar also has an Air Combat Mode, or ACM mode, that shortens the radar search to an 11-by-11 degree search pattern with a maximum range of 9.25 km if using standard search, when using PDV search the ACM range is greatly extended. In ACM mode, it will lock on the first target that it manages to detect and will not stop tracking nor switch to another target until the lock is lost, which can be a useful tool for detecting and tracking targets that are not visible due to clouds, distance, or other such factors.

The AIM-9D/Gs do excellently when launched from 1-4 km away. They are superior to the AIM-9E, with 18 Gs of maximum overload as opposed to 10 Gs, but they are still inferior to the R-60/AA-8 Aphid (30G) and the AIM-9J (20G). However, it is of note that the AIM-9D/G's seeker head is able to lock on and maintain a lock at much longer distances than either missile. It is possible to kill aircraft from 5-6 km away given the right conditions and a bit of luck.

Any British Phantom should not be taken close to the beginning furball. All mentioned facts combined give the image of a long-range missile-hauler with a licence to kill from long range given by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself. This is indeed the case. British Phantoms perform admirably in a support role in a furball, killing tailsitting MiGs, Mirages and Phantoms, as well as taking out enemy aircraft who go high to try to attack aircraft with an energy advantage, and enemy aircraft extending away from the furball to make another pass.

Phantom FG.1 over El Alamein

This, however, does not mean that the Phantom FG.1 cannot handle itself in a dogfight. The FG.1 is more than capable of engaging aircraft up close, with a powerful M61 Vulcan. You can easily kill aircraft in a head-on, but that doesn't mean that you should commit and stay there! Always break off if you see enemy tracer, or at the very least when the enemy aircraft is 1 km away, lest you would like your own example of the World's Best Distributor of MiG Parts spread all over the sky. When using the Vulcan, one has two options on how to engage, one of which is more risky than the other, and depends on your aircraft being spaded.

Phantom FG.1 above the North Atlantic.
  • The first method of engagement is a fairly standard low-risk hit-and-run pass. Approach the enemy, shoot, and break off. There's nothing too special about it, and it relies more on the Phantom's blinding speed to get into the target area, the Vulcan's overwhelming Burst Mass to put at least a few rounds on the target, and then get out of the danger zone as soon as possible lest you become the target of unwanted attention. It requires little in the way of skill and little in the way of performance upgrades, as the FG.1 already has considerable engine power. However, it does not allow for sustained time on target and gives you only a small window of opportunity to make the shot.
  • The second method of engagement is much more risky, more rewarding, and requires a fair amount of pilot skill and a fully upgraded plane. In addition, this method is specific to British Phantoms, if not the FG.1 in general, as the FG.1 is the only Phantom which has this type of afterburner performance. Pilots are not recommended to try this in the F-4C, F-4E or F-4EJ. Conversely, this tactic works very effectively against turning non-Spey phantoms. This method should not be used above 5,000 m under any circumstances. This method works best while in cloud and with an ACM lock on the enemy. The Phantom has its best roll performance at 700-950 km/h (380-515 kts) and can use its takeoff flaps below 700 km/h without risking them ripping off. You can use the airbrakes to slow the aircraft to the required speed, and then by tapping the flaps from raised to takeoff position, you can turn a little tighter than usual, and then use your outstanding afterburner performance to rapidly regain speed. You can out-accelerate any phantom in-game below 5,000 m, and even from a slower start you can rapidly close the gap. This manoeuvre can also be attempted at an angle to the horizontal, although speed can become a much greater concern (both flap rip speed and stall speeds). While this tactic may at first seem illogical- speed, after all, is the lifeblood of jet battles- the fast afterburner acceleration of the Spey Phantom can often ensure that you do not end up stalling. This tactic is, however, highly situational and requires a fair bit of situational awareness and pilot skill to pull off. Phantom neophytes shouldn't attempt this until they have at least spaded it and grown comfortable with it.
A Phantom FG.1 breaking away to the left while an FGR.2 presses onwards.

Dodging Missiles: Do's and Don'ts

The Phantom FG.1 is slightly more manoeuvrable than the FGR.2 due to aerodynamic modifications to allow it to perform better at speeds. This means it has a slightly easier time dodging missiles. However, the easiest to avoid missiles is to simply, turn off the afterburner, flare, and turn. This will defeat any IR AAM in game if done right. If the enemy missile was launched at close range, you may need to release multiple flares and turn harder. Another way to evade missiles is to break into the missile.
Breaking into a missile.

Breaking into a missile

This situation assumes that you are in a Phantom FG.1, and have been locked on and launched at by an enemy aircraft from around 1.5-2.4 km with a missile.

  1. A missile is launched from the left of the Phantom, which is turning to the left. The Phantom pilot sees this, and switches off the afterburner in order to reduce heat signature.
  2. The missile is closing rapidly and is around 1 km away. The Phantom turns inwards towards the missile to increase the amount of Gs which the missile must pull, while popping flares in an attempt to decoy off the missile.
  3. The missile cannot pull the necessary Gs, and it misses. The Phantom escapes.

If dodging SAMs at low altitude during Ground Battles matches, try to put terrain features such as trees, buildings and cliffs between you and the missile to force the radar to break a lock, and break towards the missile in order to increase the G-force it needs to pull. While you can do this to some extent in Air RB, there aren't often many terrain features to begin with, and missiles are usually IRMs, which means that they don't require the launcher to continuously maintain line-of-sight with the target they launched at. Another method to dodge missiles is a barrel roll while popping flares, This method can sometimes be more effective than simply turning while releasing flares, however a large amount of speed will be lost, leaving the Phantom open to enemy attacks after the missile has been evaded.

Dodging SARH missiles

SARH missiles such as the AIM-7F and R-27ER are very common at this battle rating. The Phantom FG.1 is fitted with a RWR to alert the player of any incoming radar-guided threats. If the enemy missile is launched from distance (6+ km), the best thing to do it to notch the enemy radar and release chaff. Keep notching the enemy radar until the incoming missile misses.

If the incoming missile is too close to start notching, start by flying to the left or right, when the missile has gotten closer, sharply turn the other way while doing an aileron roll. This can consistently evade enemy missiles but loses a large amount of speed.

If the incoming missile is launched at a very close range (~2 km) simply do a elevator + aileron roll and the missile will almost always be evaded.

Pros and cons


  • Great top speed, one of the fastest aircraft in the game
  • Decent instantaneous manoeuvrability for a plane of its size
  • Excellent engine performance at low altitude
  • Excellent rate of climb
  • Excellent energy retention
  • Adequate selection of secondary ordnance
  • Powerful M61 Vulcan with sufficient ammo can wreak havoc against enemy aircraft
  • Access to pulse-Doppler radar and 4 Skyflash missiles, making it a capable high-altitude fighter
  • Access to AIM-9Gs, great when engaging at about 3 km


  • As with most jets, tends to bleed off energy in sustained turns- less so than the other top tiers but still significant enough to be worth mentioning
  • Disappointing sustained turning performance
  • Large target for cannons
  • Limited payload options compared to American Phantoms
  • Engines lose their edge at higher altitudes compared to US turbojets
  • Control authority suffers drastically above ~8,000 m
  • Possibility of ripping its wings in turns above 1,000 km/h
  • The gunpod produces a noticeable amount of drag



From the late 1950s onwards the British Government began looking to replace a number of its early second-generation jet aircraft. The RAF was looking to replace the English Electric Canberra in the long-range interdictor role, and the Hawker Hunter in the close air support role; meanwhile the Royal Navy was looking to replace their de Havilland Sea Vixens in the fleet air defence role[1]. Two aircraft programs were started to produce suitable replacements; the BAC TSR-2 was to be a highly advanced strike and reconnaissance aircraft to replace the Canberra. Meanwhile the Hunter and the Sea Vixen would be replaced by different versions of the P.1154; a Mach 2 capable VTOL aircraft developed from the P.1127 (the predecessor of famous Harrier Jump Jet). The Navy were not entirely happy with the idea of the navalised P.1154, believing that it did not suit their needs; and in 1964 they dropped out of the programme, deciding to purchase the F-4 Phantom from America instead. In the same year a new government was elected and in 1965 cancelled both the TSR-2 and P.1154 programmes on cost grounds, leaving the RAF without its much needed Canberra and Hunter replacements. The Government announced a plan to purchase the F-111K from America to replace the TSR-2 program (the F-111K would also eventually be cancelled on grounds of cost), while the Hunter would be replaced by F-4 Phantoms from America[2].


Both the Royal Navy and RAF were now set to purchase the F-4 Phantom. The RAF could have operated standard F-4 Phantoms (and to some extent would have preferred to)[2], however the aircraft was going to need modifications in order to be able to operate off of the UK's aircraft carriers, which were smaller than the ones Phantoms usually operated from. In a bid to help the British aviation industry (which had been hurt by a number of cancelled programmes), and make the aircraft suitable for use by the Royal Navy it was agreed that all UK Phantoms would be significantly modified, by British companies, from their US counterparts. The most notable change would be the replacement of the American J79 turbojet engines with larger and more powerful Rolls-Royce Spey turbofans; a modified rear fuselage to accommodate the new engines would also be built by BAC, and the aircraft's radar system would be built under license by Ferranti[1].

It was decided that the UK Phantoms would be based off of the F-4J, which was then the primary version in service with the US Navy at the time[1]. As the RAF and Royal Navy had differing requirements it was decided that two variants of the UK Phantom would be designed: the first variant, for the Royal Navy, would be designated F-4K or Phantom FG.1; while the RAF variant would be developed from the navy variant and be designated F-4M or Phantom FGR.2. Work began on modifying the F-4J to meet the Royal Navy's needs; the nose radome had to be made to hinge 180 degrees, to allow the Phantom fit on the smaller deck elevators of British carriers, and a telescopic nose gear was installed to allow the aircraft to sit pitched nose-up on the flight deck (by up to 11°), reducing take-off distance[1]. The new engines were installed at a slight downwards angle to further increase take-off performance and the rear fuselage to be redesigned to both accommodate the new engines and cope with the increased heat they produced; the air intakes also had to be made larger, and additional intake doors added in the fuselage to provide the Speys with the airflow they required[2]. Many other small changes were also made to UK Phantoms. The first F-4K prototype flew on 27 June 1966, with the first F-4M prototype flying on 17 February 1967.


The first F-4Ks were delivered in April 1968 and were designated Phantom FG.1, early the following year they began test flights from HMS Eagle and the USS Saratoga. During the testing the intense heat produced by the downward-angled Spey engines, while the afterburner was engaged, caused the flight deck plating of the USS Saratoga to buckle[2]. On-board HMS Eagle heavy-duty steel plating had to be welded to the flight deck; and be cooled using water from the ship's fire hoses between flights, in order to stop it from melting[3]. When the HMS Ark Royal was upgraded to operate Phantoms it had to have water-cooled blast deflectors and decking installed to prevent the Phantom's engines from damaging the flight deck [2]. HMS Ark Royal had finished its refit in 1970, by which point the refit of HMS Eagle had been cancelled, along with plans to build two additional aircraft carriers. With the Navy now only having one carrier capable of operating Phantoms it was decided to reduce the Navy's Phantom fleet down to 28 aircraft, with the other 20 FG.1s being transferred to the RAF. The remaining Royal Navy Phantoms would serve on the HMS Ark Royal (R09) until her retirement.

The first F-4Ms entered RAF service in May 1969, filling the role of tactical strike aircraft; they were given the designation Phantom FGR.2 (with FGR standing for Fighter/Ground attack/Reconnaissance). The RAF's Phantom FGR.2 was overall very similar to the Navy's FG.1 variant, but had a number of changes; they used a slightly different version of Spey engines (the FG.1 had faster afterburner engagement to aid with aborted landings on aircraft carriers), and naval features like the telescopic nose gear, slotted tail, and cockpit-controlled wing folding were dropped. The FGR.2 also had different avionics, the radar was slightly different and additional functionality such as an inertial navigation / attack system was added, as well as modification needed to allow the FGR.2 to use a gun pod and reconnaissance pod, among other changes[4]. Both the FGR.2 and FG.1 would later be modified with squared off tails, holding a radar warning receiver.

The Phantom FG.1s were withdrawn from Royal Navy service in 1978, with the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal, and were transferred to the RAF to serve in air defence roles. The Phantom FG.1 was not originally equipped to carry a gun pod while in Royal Navy service, following their transfer to RAF service they were modified in order to carry the SUU-23/A 20 mm gun pod (the same one used by the RAF Phantom FGR.2s). The Phantoms were replaced in Navy service by the Harrier Jump Jet, which was able to operate from the Navy's new Invincible-class aircraft carriers (which were smaller than the HMS Ark Royal).

Following the Falklands War in 1982, the UK deployed a squadron of FGR.2s to defend the Falkland Islands from any future attack; however this left a gap in the air defence of the UK mainland. It was decided to purchase 15 more F-4Js from America to fill this gap. The F4-Js were upgraded to F-4S standard and entered service with the RAF on 19 October 1984 under the designation Phantom F.3 or F-4J(UK)[2]. The Phantom remained the UK's primary air defence aircraft until it was gradually replaced by the Panavia Tornado; the last FG.1s retired on 30 January 1990, the last F.3s retired on 31 January 1991, and the FGR.2 left RAF service on 1 November 1992. The FGR.2 was due to retire earlier however just before retirement it was called back into service to defend RAF Akrotiri, on Cyprus, during the First Gulf War[2].

A total of 48 Phantom FG.1s, 118 Phantom FGR.2s and 15 Phantom F.3s were built[1].

Further development plans

Prior to the Phantom's retirement from RAF service there had been a plan to retrofit them with an upgraded version of the Spey engine. A program was started to design the new engines; they would have various improvements, the most notable of which being new turbine blades, reportedly manufactured from a single metal crystal[5]. These blades would increase the operating life of the engines under normal conditions, but also give the option of operating the engines at higher temperatures, and thus higher thrust (although this would come at the expense of reduced engine life). These engines were known as Spey 205s and had a maximum thrust of 25,000 lb (11,340 kgf)[5], compared to 20,515 lb (9,305 kgf) for the regular Spey engines; although it is unclear if they would be used at this thrust rating while in service. With the Phantom retired the Spey 205 programme was cancelled, and no engines were produced under the Spey 205 name; however 12 Spey 202 engines had been upgraded to Spey 205 standard for testing (and are now generally referred to as Spey 205s, or Spey 202 hybrids)[6]. It is known that after the programme was cancelled two of the Spey 205 prototypes, along with two standard Spey 202s were obtained by the ThrustSSC programme (the world's fastest car)[5], although reports vary on whether the car was fitted with Spey 202s or 205s when it completed its record-breaking run.

Comparison with American Phantoms

The Rolls-Royce Spey engines gave British Phantoms notably different performance to their American counterparts. At low altitude British Phantoms accelerated faster than standard F-4Js and had a higher top speed; it was estimated that they had a 30% shorter take-off distance and a 20% faster climb to altitude[1]. The Spey turbofan engines were also more fuel efficient than the J-79 turbojets, giving British Phantoms a 10 - 15 % increase in range compared to American aircraft[4]. The main drawback of the British design was that the reshaped fuselage produced more drag than the original design, meaning that at high altitude British Phantoms were slower and performed worse than their American counterparts (British Phantoms topped out at about Mach 1.9 at altitude, while American Phantoms could reach Mach 2.1)[2].



See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Wikipedia: McDonnell Douglas Phantom in UK service
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Burke 2016
  3. Searles n.d.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gledhill 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 SSC Programme Ltd 1997
  6. Bourne 1997


  • Bourne, Nigel. (1997). Development of the Rolls-Royce Military Spey Mk202 Engine. Retrieved from ThrustSSC
  • Burke, Damien. (2016). McDonnell-Douglas/BAC F-4K/M Phantom II. Retrieved from Thunder and Lightnings
  • Gledhill, David. (2017). Phantom in the Cold War: RAF Wildenrath 1977 - 1992. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation.
  • Searles, Dick. (n.d.). HMS Eagle Deck Trials 1969. Retrieved from Phantom F4K - Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy
  • SSC Programme Ltd. (1997). The Story of the Rolls-Royce Spey. Retrieved from ThrustSSC
  • Wikipedia. (n.d.). McDonnell Douglas Phantom in UK service. Retrieved from Wikipedia

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  F-15A · F-15C MSIP II
Strike Aircraft  AV-8B Plus
Helicopters  AH-6M
Aircraft  ◄F-4F Early · ◄F-4F · ◄F-4F KWS LV · Phantom FG.1 · Phantom FGR.2 · F-4J(UK) Phantom II · F-4EJ Phantom II · F-4EJ ADTW · Kurnass · Kurnass 2000
  F-15J · F-15J(M) · Baz · Baz Meshupar
  ▄AV-8B Plus
Helicopters  Lahatut
  The McDonnell Aircraft Corporation merged with Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Later it was merged with The Boeing Company in 1997.
See Also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Britain jet aircraft
Blackburn  Buccaneer S.1 · Buccaneer S.2 · Buccaneer S.2B
British Aerospace  Harrier GR.7 · Sea Harrier FRS.1 (e) · Sea Harrier FRS.1 · Sea Harrier FA 2
British Aircraft Corporation  Strikemaster Mk.88
English Electric  Canberra B Mk 2 · Canberra B (I) Mk 6 · Lightning F.6 · Lightning F.53
Gloster  Meteor F Mk 3 · Sea Meteor F Mk 3 · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41F · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41G · Meteor F Mk 8 G.41K · Meteor F Mk.8 Reaper
  Javelin F.(A.W.) Mk.9
de Havilland  Vampire F.B.5 · Venom FB.4 · Sea Venom FAW 20 · Sea Vixen F.A.W. Mk.2
Hawker  Sea Hawk FGA.6 · Hunter F.1 · Hunter F.6 · Hunter FGA.9 · Harrier GR.1 · Harrier GR.3
Panavia  Tornado GR.1 · Tornado F.3 · Tornado F.3 Late
SEPECAT  Jaguar GR.1 · Jaguar GR.1A · Jaguar IS
Supermarine  Attacker FB 1 · Attacker FB.2 · Scimitar F Mk.1 · Swift F.1 · Swift F.7
Foreign  Phantom FG.1 (USA) · Phantom FGR.2 (USA) · F-4J(UK) Phantom II (USA)
South Africa  ▄JAS39C
India  ▄MiG-21 Bison