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RAF Phantom Recce Pod


delticfan
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Does anyone know the history and service timeline of these pods. My only recollection was in the old matchbox kit on a 41: squadron aircraft. I’m fascinated if they saw service life past this to the late 70s or early 80s. Were they ever carried by air defence grey units maybe in the Falklands conflict on Ascension.  How many were they what happened to them etc. They look like really expensive pieces of kit.

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Others may know better but I believe they were retired when the Phantom handed the Ground Attack/Reconnaissance over to the Jaguar in the mid to late 1970's.

 

The Phantom took over the air defence role at that point.  I've never seen it used on an air defence jet and certainly not one in the all greys scheme but never say never.

 

As for how many, I doubt there was ever enough for each aircraft on 2 and 41 Sqn's and I would imagine much of the equipment such as the cameras would have been used elsewhere.

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Thanks for the reply, I thought it might be an interesting modelling topics. You’re right the internal kit was probably reused on other types. I had read the pod contained tech that the TSR2 was going to use hence the need to build one for the Phantoms. It must have had a really short service life. Only reason for asking was I decided to build up my Airfix FGR2 stores yesterday and I like the pod.

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I find these fascinating aswel, only 2 Sqn (from 1970) and 41 Sqn had them, and as said above only up to 1976 when Jaguars took over the role.  

30 Phantoms were configured to use the pod, and I would guess about the same amount of pods built.

 

The pressurised EMI pod featured linescan and sideways looking radar technology as well as the cameras, and sometimes a photoflash pod was carried on the port side pylon.  This was basically a modified fuel tank with flash equipment in the nose and tail.

I have seen it said somewhere that none of the equipment was reused.

 

There is a pod preserved somewhere, I think in the RAF Museum reserve collection at Stafford, and I have seen pictures of a nose section kicking about.

 

I suppose you could do a WIF build, but essentially Phantoms from the late 1970s on were air defence.

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See the link to photos, diagram, description, and use of the EMI pod on Phantom FGR2's, including a very well-known photo of an FGR2 carrying the pod. IIRC, the Fujimi FGR2 kit has this pod, but I seem to recall reading it had some shape issues and was a simplified molding. I believe there is an aftermarket  resin EMI pod in 1/72 and 1/48, but I don't remember the maker.  Do one of the new-tool Airfix Phantoms come with this pod? Hope this is useful information.

Mike

 

https://spyflight.co.uk/recce_pods/#Phantom_Pod

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The Fujimi Phantoms' recce pod is way underscale, one fix is to use the Matchbox pod which is to scale but more simplistic.

 

The Airfix FGR.2 kit comes with the pod.

 

I've not seen an aftermarket pod, but someone (possible AIM?) did do the photo flash / tank unit.

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When I did my trade course at Cosford in 1980, one of the hangers had a lot of EMI pods stored in it, all still with equipment and used for training. Most of the cameras may have been used for spares at a later date.

When I was serving on II(AC) Jags the following year, one of the ex-41 phantom guys told me that before they switched to Jags, the RAF tried to sell the recce pods to either Israel or one of the other middle eastern Phantom users - can't remember which. They performed an energetic air display in front of the visiting dignitaries- with an empty pod, then when the Phantom landed, it taxied behind a hanger where another Phantom - with a fully kitted out pod was waiting. This aircraft was then presented to the potential customers for inspection. 

 

Not sure if this was true but a good story

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Hasegawa did a couple of RF-4EJ with pods, the first one is box KA-104 with a resin TAC pod, second one is box 02075 with plastic TAC pod, LOROP and TACER pods, in the past I remember spotting on some YJ blog some Hasegawa kits sporting resin made LOROP and TACER pods but I didn't save the pages nor took a note of box numbers.

If needed I can provide pictures of them as I own both boxes

 

Resin EMI pod is currently available from a brand of which I always confuse/forget its name

 

Luigi

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15 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Contrary to what it says in there, 2 Sqn operated with the pod until they handed over to the Jag, there is a picture of both types in flight together with pods.  

Also, other sources state that nothing was reused from the Phantom pod and that the Jaguar pod was all new equipment.  I would tend to believe that, as when a contract goes out for new equipment for a new aircraft it tends to be for a complete package.

 

re the resin pod, I think it might be Air Graphics that do a 72nd one.

The AIM L93  flash pod is actually in 48th, I thought there was one in 72nd aswel, but could be mistaken.

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3 hours ago, 71chally said:

Contrary to what it says in there, 2 Sqn operated with the pod until they handed over to the Jag, there is a picture of both types in flight together with pods.  

Also, other sources state that nothing was reused from the Phantom pod and that the Jaguar pod was all new equipment.  I would tend to believe that, as when a contract goes out for new equipment for a new aircraft it tends to be for a complete package.

 

re the resin pod, I think it might be Air Graphics that do a 72nd one.

The AIM L93  flash pod is actually in 48th, I thought there was one in 72nd aswel, but could be mistaken.

Only the F95 camera and the IRLS were new versions for the Jag pod, the F126 and F135 were the same as used on other a/c, so although equipment in the pod was probably new on delivery, replacements could have been older serviceable items. In NI for instance, "second hand" cameras were fitted to the Beavers and Pumas. When spare run down, parts are salvaged from wherever possible, these where very expensive bits of kit, for example, the Agiflite hand held camera ( the white camera with the long lens) you would see Nimrod crew using to take pictures of Russian trawlers cost, I was told, about 30k

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  • 1 year later...

I know of 32 aircraft that carried the pod but - this does not mean all 32 were wired for them.  The EMI reconnaissance pod was developed to be carried under the centre pylon only.  It first flew in 1969, with XV406 at the Hawker Siddley test base at Holme-on-Spalding Moor and also with XV415 in 1971.  It weighted in at 1,702 lbs (772 kg).  The Matchbox 1/72 version was WAY too big, the Fujimi way too thin, the aftermarket Odds and Ordnance seems about right and I have not seen the Aircraft item yet.  Between 18 and around 23 pods were used.

      The pod was introduced into service by No.6 Squadron, with one flight maintaining limited use until the role was taken over by No.41 Squadron. No.54 Squadron was tasked with some service trials, including clearing the firing of the AIM-7 while carrying the pod.  The pod had a short life with the main users, No.2 Squadron at RAF Laarbruch and No.41 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, between December 1970 and March 1977.  When the massive EMI reconnaissance pack was introduced they were finished in overall Gloss Light Aircraft Grey, with a blackish-brown stripe on each side for the Linescan.  In common use with the pod was the flash tank - LS-93A Electronic Night Flash System.  These were modified Sargent Fletcher tanks to accommodate an oblique F.95 camera with a 12 inch (30 cm) lens or an F.126 medium-altitude vertical camera.  The aft tail cone was also replaced with the LS-93A Electronic Night Flash System built by Chicago Aerial Industries.  An intake provided air flow for the flare dispensing system.  Without the fuel content, the converted tank weighed 489 lbs (221.9 kg). A single modified tank could be carried under the port wing.  The ‘flash tanks’ were in standard finish, except the new nose cone was gloss Dark Sea Grey.  Several were noted painted in non-standard configurations.  See the Modeldecal sheet for markings detail.  There are are lot more details in the AirDoc book on the British Phantom Vol.1 by yours truly. 

Patrick Martin

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While not common, one of my favourite photos by Patrick is this one showing a 111 Sqn Phantom in its early FGR2 air defence days carrying the pod and the SF photo flash tank. Rear views are rare and it's interesting to see how tightly it tucks up between the jet pipes. I'd guess it was 1974-5-ish judging by the 'last three' on the DSG panel on the fin, and the three colour underwing roundel, a fashion that didn't last very long. I'm not sure if it's in the AirDoc book (I still haven't fully unpacked after a move) but I saved it from one of Patrick's superlative threads on the Fighter Control website.

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The NIS (Night Illumination System) pod didn't contain any cameras or flares but used high intensity electronic flash units, when night flying at Coningsby they would fire the pod as they flew over the runway on their return and it lit the whole Station up like daylight. On 41(F) all our NIS pods were finished in overall gloss white but on Shiny two at Laarbruch they were painted with the top half dark sea grey. The picture of 406 in 111 markings is more than likely being used by 41 as we often had to borrow recce capable jets from other Sqdns.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/27/2020 at 4:07 AM, Patrick Martin said:

There are are lot more details in the AirDoc book on the British Phantom Vol.1 by yours truly. 

Patrick Martin

 

Thanks for those books Patrick.

They're my first reference concerning the Spey Phantoms.

 

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