VX-4 has created some of the most spectacular paintjobs seen on F-4 Phantoms, and as such are prime subjects for scale models. I could of course build such planes with nothing, or only fuel tanks under the wings, I prefer to have a little more variation in loadouts. Given that VX-4 was a test squadron, I would imagine they put some a-typical, and therefore interesting loads under their Phantoms.
Does anyone out there have information on what they tested on their Phantoms? Maybe even some pictures?
No pix but I was XO of VX-4 from Apr '88 till Dec '89. I and the CO flew the F-4S' we had 3 of them. Used for launch of high speed targets or targets for the F-14/18, radar type. No testing still being done for the F-4S.
Hi Rob, What kind of load-outs did VX-4 have for their Phantoms? I can give you some insight for the time frame 1968 to 1972. The only unusual Paint job was the black F-4J that later had the playboy bunny on the vertical stabilizer. It was painted black in response to a Marine request to see if all black would be better at night for CAS missions in South Vietnam. The paint used was a polyurethane and it was hoped it would give a better, longer lasting corrsion protection than the acryllic then used. Black proved to be slightly harder to see at night. Any airplane without lights is hard to see at night and the black was very visable in daylight. In air combat maneuvering tests the black plane always gathered the most bad guys behind it. Like a magnet. The poly paint was much better for anti-corrosion and lasted several times longer than acryllic. But, the downside was, it cost severals times as much and was hazardous to the health of appliers. To my knowledge no other Navy airplane was painted black.
The Navy did not use wing tanks on their F-4's. The normal external tank configuration was the single centerline tank. The reason was that wing tanks made the already cumbersome F-4 even harder to turn. Roll rate was reduced and nose high maneuvers were harder. Normally each F-4 carried 2 Aim-7 missiles in the under fuselage cavities and four Aim-9H or G missiles on under wing pylons. Air-to-ground ordnance was hung in TERs (triple ejector racks) under the wings. MERs (multiple ejector racks) could be carried but normally weren't. VX-4 Phantoms tested all varities of these Aim missiles which all looked the same externally. A very large towed target was also tested. It was towed with an underwing mounted reel. This target wasn't accepted for service use. A M-60 gun pod (SU-23) was tested. This pod was about the size of a centerline fuel tank, fired 20mm bullets and was mainly tested to get some gun data on the M-60 which was then used exclusively by the USAF. The Navy did not choose to use these pgun pods but all internal gun systems in their future airplanes used this M-60 gun. Another pod was carried when testing the ACMR (air combat maneuvering range). This pod trnsmitted airplane dat like speed, altitude, angle of attack, attitude, weapons select and other info needed to reconstruct real time ACM engagements. Another small centerline pod was called a "blivet" and carried crews luggage on cross country flights. This blivet also carried a variety of things, like booze (pre-PC Navy) animal carcasses from hunting trips, etc.
There were more unusual loads on VX-4 Phantoms but these are a few of the more common.
In the Phantom's twilight service, F-4E and F-4G were flown with F-15 tanks on the centerline. No maneuvering restrictions, although I am not sure if they did anything to the rear Sparrow firing problem...
I hate to differ about the Navy never using wing tanks but.... I was the Gunner in VF-74, 171, and 102 at NAS Oceana and aboard the USS Independence and Nimitz during the 1970's. We used the Sargent Fletcher wing tanks when towing targets. They did have a bad habit of leaking.
From an RF-4C stores limitation chart, the USAF used McAir and Royal Jet C/L tanks. McAir and Sargent-Fletcher made the wing tanks. The McAir C/L limits are somewhat higher than the Royal Jet's, but the jettison limits are the same.
Drag appears to be the same as a pair of 370s.
Considering the reliability of AIM-7s after a few cat shots and traps, I imagine it wasn't a big deal. And you could always punch the tank. By 1972 USAFf-4s were normally just carrying a pair of AIM-7s in the aft wells, with jamming or camera pods in the forward wells. and unlike the USAF, the navy had already modified their I/B pylons to carry AIM-9s and other ordnance simulataneously. Cunningham/Driscoll had been carrying Rockeyes on I/B TERs (plus a C/L, 2 AIM-7s and 4 x AIM-9Gs) when they claimed 3 MiGs with AIM-9s on 10 May.
I've got more than a few shots of TERs O/B on navy F-4s in Vietnam, but I've also got a couple showing them carrying MERS (and bombs) there.
ISTR reading that one of the reasons the navy didn't like to carry wing tanks was apparently due to overrotation following the cat shot, probably owing to fuel slosh creating an aft Cg, so a more forward Cg would seem to be a good thing for their purposes.
Heh...I sent a Harrier out with a DLQ pod and he blew up a CHP radar gun once by mistake. Cop's mistake...what should you expect, pointing a radar at a tactical aircraft? Big hammer, no supervision. Yup...life was good...
Yeah - Mugu is a great place to be stationed. I was there as a civvie with the PMTC crowd for a bit...a Hornet baby amongst the Tomcat guys. But it was fun to get a look at the B model Toms - had a brief brush with the AB controls on that engine while I was at GE. Was nice to see it in an airplane.
You didn't happen to flow through VX-5 by any chance? We could have crossed paths there...
Here's what the chart has -- (limits are Carriage KIAS/Mach/Sym. G/Unsym G/Roll Rate/Stick Throw/Jettison limits Min KIAS/Max. KIAS/Mach. Note: "->" means basic airframe limits apply. Jettison limits list 3 values for below 35,000 ft., then 3 values above 35,000 feet. "NE" means "Not established"):
I've read similar comments by other pilotsas to actual procedures.
My source may be in error. I was going by the sample planning problems in the T.O. 1F-4C-34-1-1, which list the same drag, 9.6, for a pair of 370s or a single
600 C/L, but that may be a mistake. OTOH, it does show different weights for the two, 269lb. for the empty C/L vs. 680 lb. for a pair of empty 370s.
You had a different mission (H/K). Judging by photo frequency, strikers and strike escorts were often carrying a pair of ALQ-87s in the forward wells by that time, if they weren't carrying a strike camera in place of one of the jammers. For instance, I've got a shot of Coe and Webb's 34th TFS F-4E waiting to tank P/S after they'd gotten their MiG-21 on 5 Oct. 1972. They were tasked as strike escort, and theyre carrying four AIM-9Es, plus two ALQ-87s forward and a single AIM-7E-2 aft (they got the MiG with the other). Course, they had to sit there and wait for the SAMs and MiGs to a greater extent than you did, plus they turned the pods ON, so I imagine carrying a pair of them was a lot more valuable to them than an extra (and unlikely to be used) AIM-7. The Strike escorts seem to have felt that they were primarily there as Atoll absorbers for the strikers, and comments by COM 7th AF (or maybe it was CINCPACAF, I forget) at the time seem to confirm that was the case.
The 432nd MiGCAP guys seem to have carried a full load of AIM-7s and AIM-9s, but also carried two ALQ-87s or -100s, one on each I/B.
Wing tanks were frowned upon because they got beat up by the deck crew and were twice the problem of a CL w/o any real advantage. As for 'blowing off the CL...no-no-do that a few times and you'll be outta CL tanks. It may have been common in the USAF, with a warehouse full of them but not so on a CV.
Yes, I know, but we're talking about the majority of F-4s, not just your H/K birds. Loads varied depending on the unit and the tasking.
No, from another F-4, probably Coe's wingman. The photo appears in Squadron/Signal's "and kill MiGs" by Lou Drendel, on page 34 of my second edition. The caption reads "F-4E of DickCoe refueling on egress from North vietnam after kill. Note missing AIM-7!"
While I'm normally careful about trusting captions as to details, in the background is a KC-135 along with 3 F-4D strikers, all of which appear to be from the 25 TFS (FA), one of which is on the boom. Coe's a/c, "JJ" 68-0493 is missing an AIM-7E-2 from the aft left well, plus all the tanks, and is presumably waiting his turn on that or another tanker. Oh, and Drendel's source for the photo is Coe himself, so I think in this case we can trust that the date and details are correct;-) Coe himself says he was tasked as the only spare flight lead "for three MiGCAP flights [Sic. Presumably he means escort, as is clearer below] and two flights in support of the Wild Weasels. As soon as I got on the Ground frequency, the leader of the last flight in support of the bombers aborted. He told me to go ahead and take his flight."
We have no disagreement here, Ed. I wasn't referring to duration of time you spent in Indian country, I was referring to the relative freedom to maneuver of the H/K (and MiGCAP) flights compared to strikers, chaffers and escorts. The escorts were tied to the chaffers and strikers, couldn't maneuver freely, and were usually on the edge of the chaff corridor (as you said, outriggers) so the extra jamming power would come in handy. As Coe says, he was tasked as spare flight lead for either strike or WW escort, and his a/c is carrying a pair of pods.
Well, this and other a/c with the same mission have two "bolted on" in that time frame, judging by the photos.
Given that the AIM-7s were your only missiles, far more so.
Given the number of frequencies you guys had to monitor, I'd say that was a reasonable decision. After all, presumably the escort guys needed to have one radio on the strike (or chaffer, if that was a different frequency), monitor Guard, plus be able to talk to Disco/Red Crown. MiGCAPs were free to engage and AFAIK didn't need tobe on the strike frequency, so letting them talk directly to Teaball makes sense.
But it's instructive to look at the 1972 losses to MiGs, and see which taskings took the losses. In Linebacker I strike/chaff escorts suffered exactly half the losses to MiGs, 9/18.
Sure. In particular, the 13th/555th Combat Tree F-4Ds used as flight leads always carried a full bag of AIM-7s, because they were the most likely to be able to take a BVR or at least a head-on shot. My point was that, as flights operating well away from the chaff and mass jamming support of the strike flights, and lacking any ability to suppress/destroy SAM and AAA radars, they _needed_ two pods. They seem to have usually had noise/deception ALQ-101s instead of the pure noise jamming -87s which were usually given to the strike and escort flights, which also makes sense.
Not just off the waist, off any cat with the vanzelm holdback...It was called a 'bridle slap' but it was one of the brass things that was attached to the bridle via rope to prevent the bridle from going over the side. I have about 5-6 of them on Indy and Midway(bow cats only). WAS quite a show, out of A/B, fire out.
I also had a smack of the horseshoe thing that was placed over the cat assembly to allow the bridle to be retracted...By a deck ape, who left it on the cat track, at night. My nose wheel hit it, threw it into the C/L, lots of noise and flame, I blew off everything, 2 and 2 plus CL...VERY exciting.
My CO, Fox Farrell, slamed me for blowing everything off for a 'bridle slap'. I knew it was something else. The Safety Officer, 'Snuffy' Smith did a great investigation and came up with the true cause.
1) It is awesome knowing the guys that actually slung the Phantom around in the air and in the hangars are among us, and that they recall all of the detail with such clarity.
2) I hope you never get to judge one of my F-4 builds. ;-)
Worst I've heard of lately (a bit ago, but more recently) was a Hornet that went down the stroke with the rubber track mat (I don't know what it's called, but it's there to protect the cat when not in use - a weather protector) still in place. Took some of it down one intake...with the obvious results.
Made it back around and back aboard though - but I think the jet ended up a strike.