The F-4 Phantom has flown for U.S. forces for 55 years, serving for the last couple of decades strictly in the Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) drone role. A bittersweet mission that saw the optionally manned jets relegated to flying for a few hundred hours (some much less) before being obliterated during live-fire testing. Now, the Phantom’s Phinal Pharewell is nigh.
As such, the good folks over at Airman Magazine put together this beutiful video capturing the program’s end and briefly introducing its more capable and efficient successor, the QF-16.
The QF-4’s last mission out of Tydnall AFB, Florida occurred late last May, but a gaggle of QF-4s are still flying out of Holloman AFB in New Mexico, albeit their not for long. The remaining three QF-4s that remained at Tyndall were transferred to Holloman where they will fly and die over the White Sands Missile Range until the end of 2016.
Then, the Phantom will finally have disappeared from the Pentagon’s inventory once and for all.
Contact the author at Tyler@Jalopnik.com