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Posted 11/2/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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McDonnell Douglas RF-4C
McDonnell Douglas RF-4C-43-MC (S/N 69-372) of the 22nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw Air Force Base. This photograph was taken at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in 1971. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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In the early 1960s the USAF recognized the need for more tactical reconnaissance aircraft to reinforce the RF-101s then in service. The Air Force chose a modification of the F-4C fighter. The RF-4C development program began in 1962, and the first production aircraft made its initial flight on May 18, 1964. A total of 505 RF-4Cs were ordered by the Air Force.

The RF-4C can carry a variety of cameras in three different stations in its nose section. It can take photos at both high and low altitude, day or night. The RF-4C carries no offensive armament, although during the last few years of its service some were fitted with four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for defense.

The first unit to fly the RF-4C operationally was the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. In October 1965 that unit deployed to Southeast Asia to provide photographic reconnaissance of the growing conflict in South Vietnam. Since then RF-4Cs have been involved in reconnaissance missions around the world, including the Desert Shield/Storm operation in Iraq in 1990-1991.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force has several F-4 variants on display, including the F-4C, the RF-4C, the YF-4E, the F-4G and an F-4 cockpit mockup.

Type Number built/
F-4A 47 USN/USMC; F4H-1F
F-4B 649 USN/USMC; 29 loaned to USAF
RF-4B 46 USMC; F4H-1P
F-4C 583 From F-110A
RF-4C 505 From RF-110A
F-4D 825 Improved F-4C
F-4E 1,370 Improved F-4D
F-4EJ 140 Japanese F-4E
RF-4E 149 Exp. version
RF-4EJ 14 Japanese RF-4E
F-4F 175 Export F-4E for Germany
F-4G 116 (cv) Wild Weasel
F-4K 52 Royal Navy; FG.1
F-4M 118 Royal Air Force; FGR.2
F-4N 238 (cv) USN/USMC; from F-4B
F-4S 248 (cv) USN/USMC; from F-4J
F-4T 0 Export proposal

- F-4A was originally designated F4H-1F (and XF4H-1) by the U.S. Navy 
- Dual-control F-4As redesignated TF-4A 
- F-4B was originally designated F4H-1 by the U.S. Navy 
- RF-4B was originally designated F4H-1P by the U.S. Marine Corps 
- Seven F-4Bs were converted to QF-4B drone aircraft 
- F-4C was originally designated F-110A by USAF 
- The U.S. Navy loaned the USAF 29 F-4Bs for service evaluation (see F-110A
- 12 F-4Gs (Navy designation) were out of service before the USAF F-4G "Wild Weasel" aircraft were converted from F-4Es 
- 138 of 140 F-4EJs were built in Japan 
- 32 F-4Ds were built for the Iranian AF 
- The USAF F-4G was initially designated EF-4E

USAF F-4 numbers: 
- F-4C - 583 [doesn't include 29 F-4Bs (F-110A) on loan from U.S. Navy] 
- RF-4C - 505 
- F-4D - 793 
- F-4E - 993 (116 later converted to F-4G)
(as ordered, some -E models diverted/direct delivered to other nations) 
- TOTAL: 2,874

Armament: None. Some later equipped with 4 sidewinder missiles
Engines: Two General Electric J-79-GE-15s of 17,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburner
Maximum speed: 1,384 mph
Cruising speed: 575 mph
Range: 1,632 miles without aerial refueling
Service ceiling: 55,200 ft.
Span: 38 ft. 5 in.
Length: 62 ft. 10 in.
Height: 16 ft. 6 in.
Crew: Two

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