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PICTURE: German air force to bid 'Pharewell' to last F-4Fs

Germany will retire its last operational McDonnell Douglas F-4F Phantom IIs on 29 June, with the veteran type's duties having been assumed by Eurofighter units.

After almost 40 years of service, the final interceptors will be retired during a decommissioning event to be staged at the Luftwaffe's Wittmund air base.

Jamie Hunter 

 Jamie Hunter

The final German examples are operated by the air force's JG 71 "Richthofen" squadron, which was also the first to begin flying the type, in March 1974. Delivered in 1973, its first F-4F, 37+01, received a special livery for the occasion.

A total of 263 Phantoms were acquired by Germany, the air force says, including 88 in the RF-4E reconnaissance configuration, from 1971.

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database shows Germany's retirement of the Phantom will reduce the global frontline fleet of the type to 431 aircraft, operated by the air forces of Egypt, Greece, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. The US Air Force also has more than 150 examples, which have been adapted for use as QF-4 aerial targets.

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