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  1. In watching giemme's WIP of a 1/72 F-4C, I've been adding some info on the F-4, at least as I knew it in the 1980s. Sometimes I get carried away and can kill a thread with too much extraneous information, so this topic is to relate some info that giemme's thread has brought to the front of my little brain without dragging his thread way off course. The 6510th Test Wing at Edwards AFB maintained a relatively large fleet of F-4 variants for flight test support: RF-4Es for the USAF Test Pilot School curriculum, an F-4D used a a "Pacer" aircraft for pitot static calibration flights of other test aircraft, and a flight of F-4Es for the Cruise Missile safety chase mission. All of the F-4s were fair game for use as safety or photo chase missions against F-15s, F-16s, B-1s, etc. They were also used as radar targets for F-15s and F-16s, sometimes carrying electronic threat simulator pads such as ALQ-188 variants. Cruise missile chase was a rather unique mission... The Air Force Flight Test Center inherited a flight of early model F-4Es when the Thunderbirds gave up their Phantoms in favor of T-38s because of the 1970s oil "crisis". These aircraft had several modifications that would have to be removed to turn them over to operational units. It was just easier to turn them over to Air Force Systems Command, which was used to operating modified and odd-ball aircraft. The long-range missions would consist of up to six F-4s and a KC-135 tanker. The first chase pair would meet the launch B-52 near the launch point (ALCM) or orbit the submarine launch point (SLCM) in the Pacific. The tanker and other chase aircraft would loiter at points along the intended missile path to the impact or recovery location. The F-4s would follow the missile as it went through its paces, when fuel would become low, they would radio for the next pair to rendezvous and pick up the chase, once the new pair were chasing the missile, the relieved pair would head for the tanker, this tag-team act would continue until the missile crashed, was "terminated", or impacted on the range target. Take-off The upper wing surfaces were painted white to facilitate finding the team chasing the missile waiting to be relieved, since most of the chase was as low-level and the air refueling and loitering was done at around 25,000 ft. Note that the white extended below the wing leading edge. Note '289 sports a small grey deer silhouette on the splitter plate. Denotes a "kill" after hitting a deer on landing at Eglin AFB while on a cross country mission. For a while, the aircraft had the legend "DEER SLAYER" on the cannon fairing in two-inch high black letters. Over the mines near Boron CA Returning from Dugway Final approach in the lead roll-out Sven
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