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Looking for information on F-4D’s with black undersides


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I have a few resources and searched a few websites, but can’t find anything of value as to why, when, and how long the bottoms were black on F-4D’s. Can anyone point me in a direction to read up on it?  How long did it last?  Did it weather up, like the light coloured ones.  Was it an overpaint?  Meaning would it chip to grey, or white?

 

Thanks

Ron

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The bottoms were only black on a few F-4D's based on their mission.  Look up the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. There may have been others, but that is one that used black undersides on the F-4D for night strike missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail. One of their jets was depicted in the F-4D released by Zoukei Mura.  

 

-Ryan

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Didnt they also have the LORAN towel rail antenna on the spine?

I think they were PGM capable.... Something like they could use Pave Knife laser guidance pod, or maybe they were the ones that could drop the GBU-8

Edited by ElectroSoldier
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20 hours ago, BN7149 said:

The bottoms were only black on a few F-4D's based on their mission.  Look up the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. There may have been others, but that is one that used black undersides on the F-4D for night strike missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail. One of their jets was depicted in the F-4D released by Zoukei Mura.  

 

-Ryan


 

Thanks, its the ZM kit that has prompted this search.  I was building the kit, and started on the weapons which are all air to air.  That started the ole thinking station into thinkin’ (which is a shame ‘cause I model to relax the old number cruncher) black bottom, night operations, Vietnam, night, air to air not as likely as some type of low level ground attack with a long loiter time.  So these aircraft more than likely had a specialized air to ground role. And more often than not flew with lots of gas, and lots of 500lbs bombs, rather than a load out 4 sidewinders and 4 sparrows. 
 

17 hours ago, ElectroSoldier said:

Didnt they also have the LORAN towel rail antenna on the spine?

I think they were PGM capable.... Something like they could use Pave Knife laser guidance pod, or maybe they were the ones that could drop the GBU-8


 

That would make for an interesting Vietnam load out. And yes they have the towel rank on top. 

Edited by is it windy yet?
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Hi,

 

Towel rack on top also means that they were able to drop the sonobuoys for the Igloo White program in the desired correct locations.

Black bellies were quite useful for working over the trail at night.

I'm not aware of sonobuoy dispensers in 1/48...that would really be something different.

 

Cheers, Stefan.

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  • The late Doug Remington had some slides (marked with Larsen/Remington on the slides) of black bottom F-4Ds in Thailand. There also was a photo of a laser designator pod. It is smaller than the earlier Pave Knife and fatter and shorter than the later Pave Spike. Kinda looks like a maverick missile without the fins and a movable designator sticking out of the nose. It was attached to a pylon that fitted to the left? forward Sparrow recess. The black bottom F-4D had the FP tail code but he also had a photo of a black bottom one with the OC? tail code. 
  • Finding reference to the unique laser designator pod is very difficult and I think there is a small pic in this book. McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Spirit in the Skies (World Air Power Journal)

Grant

Edited by gmat
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These sensors came from a general family called ADSIDs, (Aerial Delivered Seismic Intrusion Detection), and were a component of the Igloo White system.  High performance aircraft (F-4) used the SUU-42 dispenser to deliver ADSIDS to various target locations.  The SUU-42 was also used to dispense Mk-45 (family) aircraft flares during night interdiction missions.

 

Note: ADSIDs were also used in Kuwait during Desert Shield / Desert Storm.

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So far as I'm aware, only 497 TFS (FP) F-4Ds had (gloss) black bellies. The earliest pic I've seen so painted was in 1969 and they were painted this way through 1972. Aircraft noted painted this way included 66-0279, 66-8713, 66-8738*, 66-8786*, 66-8802, 66-8812* (there may have been more, but NOT all 497th aircraft were painted this way). All of these aircraft were fitted with the PAVE Phantom Towel Rack antenna. 

 

The aircraft above marked with an asterisk (*) are known to have been some of the 11 F-4Ds capable of employing the PAVE Sword pod. From a modeling standpoint, they were a SUU-11 minigun pod fitted with an AIM-9B seeker canted down about 15 deg. The pod provided a laser spot tracker capability, much like the A-10As fitted with the PAVE Penny pod later. Candlestick AC-123 or Blind Bat AC-130s with their starlight scopes could find targets along the Ho Chi Minh trail and designate them with their laser. The PAVE Sword equipped aircraft could detect the laser spot and drop their unguided bombs on it. Although the pod could be mounted to the right inboard pylon, operationally it always seems to have been mounted in the right front missile well using the same adapter used for ECM pods.

 

When Sword pods were carried, it doesn't seem like any ECM pods were used as there wasn't a SAM threat at night over the trail in Laos. Typically, a pair of AIM-7E-2 Dogfight Sparrows were carried in the aft wells. A 600-gal centerline tank or a pair of 270-gal. wing tanks were used, and they were usually painted gloss black. Ordnance seen includes: 1) 4x un-finned BLU-27 Napalm on inboard TER shoulder stations along with 6x Mk 82SE MER-mounted on the centerline (a.k.a. as snake & nape or shake & bake); 2) 6x Mk 82 LDGP loaded on inboard TERs along with 2x parent-mounted Mk 84 LDGP on the outboard pylons (all with M1A1 fuze extenders); 3) 6x Mk 82 LDGP loaded on inboard TERs along with 10x Mk 82 LDGP mounted to outboard MERs (aft bottom stations empty); 4) 4x SUU-41 "Gravel" dispensers mounted on inboard TER shoulder stations and 2x SUU-41s mounted on MER aft shoulder stations.

 

I've seen no photographic evidence that the 497th dropping LGBs--that doesn't mean they couldn't have participated in LGB missions, but all of the PAVE Light & Knife jets with their laser designators were assigned to the 433rd TFS (FG). BTW, jets fitted with Towel Rack antennas couldn't carry the PAVE Knife laser designator.

710900-f4d_66-8738_fp_wilson.jpg

710900-f4d_66-8802_fp_woody_wilson.jpg

710000-f4d_66-8738_fp_via_roth.jpg

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19 hours ago, mrvark said:

So far as I'm aware, only 497 TFS (FP) F-4Ds had (gloss) black bellies. The earliest pic I've seen so painted was in 1969 and they were painted this way through 1972. Aircraft noted painted this way included 66-0279, 66-8713, 66-8738*, 66-8786*, 66-8802, 66-8812* (there may have been more, but NOT all 497th aircraft were painted this way). All of these aircraft were fitted with the PAVE Phantom Towel Rack antenna. 

 

The aircraft above marked with an asterisk (*) are known to have been some of the 11 F-4Ds capable of employing the PAVE Sword pod. From a modeling standpoint, they were a SUU-11 minigun pod fitted with an AIM-9B seeker canted down about 15 deg. The pod provided a laser spot tracker capability, much like the A-10As fitted with the PAVE Penny pod later. Candlestick AC-123 or Blind Bat AC-130s with their starlight scopes could find targets along the Ho Chi Minh trail and designate them with their laser. The PAVE Sword equipped aircraft could detect the laser spot and drop their unguided bombs on it. Although the pod could be mounted to the right inboard pylon, operationally it always seems to have been mounted in the right front missile well using the same adapter used for ECM pods.

 

When Sword pods were carried, it doesn't seem like any ECM pods were used as there wasn't a SAM threat at night over the trail in Laos. Typically, a pair of AIM-7E-2 Dogfight Sparrows were carried in the aft wells. A 600-gal centerline tank or a pair of 270-gal. wing tanks were used, and they were usually painted gloss black. Ordnance seen includes: 1) 4x un-finned BLU-27 Napalm on inboard TER shoulder stations along with 6x Mk 82SE MER-mounted on the centerline (a.k.a. as snake & nape or shake & bake); 2) 6x Mk 82 LDGP loaded on inboard TERs along with 2x parent-mounted Mk 84 LDGP on the outboard pylons (all with M1A1 fuze extenders); 3) 6x Mk 82 LDGP loaded on inboard TERs along with 10x Mk 82 LDGP mounted to outboard MERs (aft bottom stations empty); 4) 4x SUU-41 "Gravel" dispensers mounted on inboard TER shoulder stations and 2x SUU-41s mounted on MER aft shoulder stations.

 

I've seen no photographic evidence that the 497th dropping LGBs--that doesn't mean they couldn't have participated in LGB missions, but all of the PAVE Light & Knife jets with their laser designators were assigned to the 433rd TFS (FG). BTW, jets fitted with Towel Rack antennas couldn't carry the PAVE Knife laser designator.

710900-f4d_66-8738_fp_wilson.jpg

710900-f4d_66-8802_fp_woody_wilson.jpg

710000-f4d_66-8738_fp_via_roth.jpg

 

Further to this

 

The AN/AVQ-11 was used to detact targets designated by O-2A equiped with the AN/AVQ-12 Pave Spot. The targets were then attacked with either LGBs or dumb bombs.

Pave Sword was only used by two aircraft, 66-8738 and 66-8812, which were also fitted with the Pave Phantom ARN-92 LORAN antennas. (that is not to say other aircraft were not modified to be able to use it, there was others but those two where the jets that did use it)

8738 was lost on 5th October 1972.

Pave Sword was developed into the AAS-35 Pave Panny system used on the A-7D and A-10A.

 

The photo above of 738 on the ground in its revetment was taken in September of 1971.

The 497th TFS jets (some not all) got the black under surfaces when they got the night missions.

In addition to the tail codes above I have a photo of66-761 wearing the black under surfaces

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Sparrow (probably an E-2) in the front well as well--that's unusual. Can't tell for sure, but it looks like there may NOT be any aft-mounted Sparrows. Too bad the photographer didn't wait about two more seconds before taking his pic. 🙄

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