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When people think of the F-4 Phantom, they think of a “flying brick”, “Double Ugly”, and even “Big Iron Sled.”
However, these nicknames doesn’t do justice to what the F-4 is actually capable of. This fighter/bomber jet served in numerous conflicts around the world, with an impressive track record to boot.
The F-4 was designed by McDonnell Douglas to be an all-weather supersonic interceptor, proficient in air-to-air combat as well as ground attack missions. It can also reach speeds of up to Mach 2, with a service ceiling stretching to 60,000 ft.
And while it wasn’t as maneuverable as other contemporary fighter jets, the Phantom was still able to hold its own by having an advantage in acceleration and thrust.
Its bad reputation can be traced back to the Vietnam War, where many pilots found the F-4 difficult to fly because of its high landing speed and poor visibility.
Its lack of an internal cannon also made the F-4 struggle in air-to-air combat than some other fighter jets, but this problem was finally addressed after they internally mounted a 20mm M61A1 Vulcan on the F-4E.