The Last of the Phantoms


Ian Black

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The Mach 2 F-4 Phantom is probably one of the best known of the RAF’s postwar jet fighter aircraft. The British Government bought the US export model F-4M (RAF designation FGR Mk 2) as the successor to the ageing Hawker Hunter and the first Phantom aircraft were handed over in 1968. Between 1969 and 1992, fourteen RAF squadrons operated the Phantom in the ground-attack and air defense roles, playing vital roles in NATO against potential Soviet and Warsaw Pact aggressors. Nos. 56 and 74 Squadrons relinquished the last aircraft of the type in late 1992, marking the end of the Phantom era. Ian Black flew the Phantom with the RAF in the demanding low-level air defense role during the 1980s, while simultaneously amassing an incredible color photographic record of the aircraft. A selection of his stunning images graces the pages of this book. As both a former Phantom pilot and an accomplished photographer, Ian brings a level of authority to this book that would be difficult to achieve for someone who has not had such ‘hands on’ experience of this brute of an aircraft. Concentrating on the Phantom’s final years of RAF service during the late 1980s and early 1990s, The Last of the Phantoms features the author’s own graphic first hand accounts and anecdotal material drawn from other ex-Phantom aircrew, supported by some truly fantastic color air-to-air photography.