Japan is one of only a few nations still operating the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter in a combat role. Last month, it retired the Phantoms of 302 Squadron, prior to re-equipping the unit with the F-35 Lightning II stealth strike fighter.
Here’s an outstanding video tribute by 302 Squadron as it bade farewell to an aircraft it had flown since its establishment in 1974, 45 years ago. That’s a long, long time to fly the same combat aircraft, but the F-4 has stood up nobly to its task, with periodic refurbishment and upgrades.
There are two squadrons in the JASDF still equipped with F-4’s. They’ll give up their aircraft next year, ending the fighter’s long and stellar career in that country. At that time, only Greece, Iran, South Korea and Turkey will still operate the aircraft – and probably not for much longer.