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On VX-4’s Bicentennial Phantom.

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They say it was an F-4J, however it  had slatted wings in 1976 when the mod kits were introduced in 1977 and also had the “rhino” protuberance of the F-4B.

Anyone knows the story behind it.

BuNo 153083.

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  • 2 weeks later...

F-4J 153088 was originally a Block 27 flight test airframe at NATC with a long nose boom.


As part of the research into wing slats for the Navy, it was fitted with fixed slats (no underwing actuator fairings fitted) which were retained long after its Bicentennial scheme reverted to a regular NATC orange fin and outer wing panels, with a regular F-4J nose cone without the F-4B undernose fairing.


Interestingly, when it was retired to gate guard status at Baton Rouge, it was repainted in a Marine F-4B scheme but retained an F-4J nose cone. The wing slats and their mounting pylons had been removed by then too 

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Slats on US Navy F-4Ss were different to the type used on land based Phantoms (E/F/G models), having a blunt lip that overhung the leading edge.



Despite having over 30 photos of 153088, the dark blue paint scheme makes it difficult to tell when or even if the slat shape evolved into the F-4S type shown above over the test period.


All F-4E Phantoms delivered to Israel were standard production types, the earlier ones having the original 'hard' wing with leading edge flaps, and the later ones

(from Block 48 71-0237) were manufactured with the slatted wing. A 1973 Technical Order provided for retro-fitting slats to F-4Es built earlier. The Block 48 and onwards had thicker wing skins fitted during manufacture, but earlier Phantoms required having a new heavy external strap added from wing fold to wing fold.


I'm not aware of any IDFAF Phantoms that had fixed wing slats.

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Well, it just goes to show there's always something new to learn about Phantoms!


The dead blog post link can be found here with further info and photos.

Although I am a little surprised that McDonnell engineers went all the way to the Middle East when they had the full might of the St.Louis factory's production, test facilities and research personnel to hand back home.

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