Jump to content

RF-4C Camo Scheme/Loadout

Recommended Posts

I have been asked to build a RF-4C in MS ANG markings for a friend (surprise gift).

Early 80's time frame, so would I build it in a SEA scheme or Euro 1?

What ECM gear would have been carried? Where carried?

Were they capable of carrying sidewinders for self defense?


Edited by Da SWO
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Da,


Here are a couple images I was able to find.  The first shows a MANG RF-4 in Euro camo in 1986 and the second shows MANG RF-4 in SEA wrap around in 1982.


Mississippi ANG RF-4C in Euro-1 by F16CrewChief on DeviantArt


McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II - USA - Air Force | Aviation Photo #1048157 | Airliners.net


As far as loadouts.  Fuel tanks for sure.  I can't tell you if they would have carried ECM pods in training?  I know that late in the life of the RFs the USAF experimented in letting them carry sidewinders.  Don't know if that ever went operational.  I believe RF-4s were nuclear capable.  HTH


Geoff M

Link to post
Share on other sites


Let me look up my WAPJ books on the F-4. I have a few, one is just about ANG Phantoms, so it should have plenty of photos.  Early 80s?  It will most likely be SEA with camo gray bottom, but could also be SEA wrap around.  Green scallops and black "KE" on tail, right?


A quick look on airliners.net & air-britain shows several airframes.


1980 SEA w/ Camo Gray undersides: https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/military-unit/153%20TRSxSx186%20TRGxSxMississippi%20ANG


1982 SEA wrap around: https://www.airliners.net/photo/USA-Air-Force/McDonnell-RF-4C-Phantom-II/1048157/L


1987 Hill Grey: https://www.airliners.net/photo/USA-Air-Force/McDonnell-Douglas-RF-4C-Phantom-II/2477430?qsp=eJwtjUEKwkAQBL8S5qyHoATJTT%2BgBz8wzLZJMLrL7EBcQv7uuHgrqpvulSS%2BDR%2B7lwTqKYNVRtpRYuVXpn6lJ8oSNTiTPvZHadpTZ2NjOngtR7VL8Siw4SyCZAh/f9UA/UXIUhcHf2gdoLfKdOjchymnmesGjKeZtu0L024xPw%3D%3D


1988 Euro One: https://www.airliners.net/photo/USA-Air-Force/McDonnell-RF-4C-Phantom-II/2609568


So take your pick. It is possible that a couple of these schemes could be present on the ramp at any given date.  As to loadout: standard would be two wing tanks; centerline tank not always carried for tactical missions, though it would be for ferry flights.  ECM pods (AN/ALQ-87 or 119) were not usually carried by Guard units. A travel pod on one of the inner stations may be appropriate.




Edited by Dutch
Link to post
Share on other sites

The SEA scheme lasted until ~1979/1980, when the earliest cases of wraparound SEA scheme was noted from what I've seen.


Wraparound SEA was gradually introduced from then until Euro1 came on the scene around 1983ish, and as repaint was done at depots it's common to see nearly all units having a mix of SEA/Wrap-around SEA/Euro1 until mid-80's, by which time the Euro1 had largely taken over. 


Then from 1986/87 the Hill Gray I and II schemes came about. Hill Gray I (FS36118/FS36270/FS36375, similar to the F-16) was mostly seen on F-4C/D's of the ANG, but quickly gave way to the Hill Gray II (FS36118/FS36270) which then became the norm. 

Again, repaint from Euro 1 to Hill Gray II was done at depot level as per normal maintenance cycle. 


The 52(T)FW had Euro 1 and Hill Gray II painted aircraft deployed for Dessert Storm in 1991, and even sent some Euro 1 colored F-4G's to the boneyard when finally giving up the F-4G in 1993.


I a quite sure that with the abundance of likely more knowledgable fighter enthusiast in here there will be corrections to the years I provided, but should non the less give you a fairly correct timeline for the various color shemes. (I had the same question once, hence my interest in the subject 😁 )  


Edit: Just remember a comment in Osprey's Superbase series on Kadena: The RF-4C's where among the earliest to give up the Euro 1, which was unpopular with the crews as they felt that Euro 1 gave better protection when down low on recon missions. 

Edited by Niels
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/15/2022 at 1:53 PM, andyf117 said:

20+ photos here in this Flickr search - both SEA and Euro 1 schemes in the early '80s: https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=RF-4C MIssissippi



Thanks, in the duh! category.  I have flickr and totally forgot about the search function.

Gave me the shots I need.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ElectroSoldier said:

Is that an RF-4C, 10th TRW RAF Alconbury?

Yes flying over the airfield. In fact the HAS in the centre was the one that our Sqn when we were boltholed there from just down the road at RAF Wyton.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Da SWO said:


Thanks, in the duh! category.  I have flickr and totally forgot about the search function.

Gave me the shots I need.

Flickr is always one of my main 'go to' photo sources...


1 hour ago, ElectroSoldier said:

Is that an RF-4C, 10th TRW RAF Alconbury?

The second time I had material published in a magazine was for a feature on the 10th TRW's RF-4Cs when they were leaving Alconbury back in 1987...

....as they were both on the 'large' side, during the 'walkaround' session neither of the two guys who did the photography were allowed up the boarding ladder, so cockpit shots were down to me - I still have a photo of me perched on top of the ladder taking them...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...