AirAsia Pacific

South Korea Conducts Farewell Flight for F-4E Phantom Jets

Four of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) F-4E Phantom jet planes have marked the fleet’s retirement with a farewell flight over South Korea.

The planes, operated by the 10th Fighter Wing’s 153rd Fighter Squadron, conducted a three-hour flight alongside an F-15K chase plane and two KF-21 Boramae fighters, which are set to replace the F-4Es once they are decommissioned.

The flight covered multiple airbases and all major cities outside of Seoul, including the provinces of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, and Gyeongsang.

The official retirement ceremony for the F-4Es is scheduled for June 7, 2024. The remaining 19 Phantoms are expected to operate until their last few days.

A Historical Capability

The F-4 fleet is considered one of the most important capabilities in ROKAF history, with the country’s Ministry of National Defence describing it as a force that transformed the command from a tactical group to a strategic air force.

The first F-4s acquired by the ROKAF were used to counter aggression from the north, with the F-4E making its debut in 1969 after the failed assassination attempt of then-President Park Chung-hee by North Korean commandos.

The F-4E took on multi-role missions throughout its history, including intercepting a Soviet heavy bomber flying over South Korea’s east coast in 1983.

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