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F-4 Question

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A question for you Navy F-4 guru's.

 

I know that the Navy/Marine Phantoms rarely if ever carried the wing tanks and

I know that the tank pylons were modified to carry weapons.  How often

did they, if at all, mount weapons on the outer pylon stations?

 

Also, if they didn't carry a tank or weapons was the pylon still mounted

or was the outer pylon position left blank?

 

I have several F-4 reference books but can find very few pictures of

any weapons or even the pylon being carried on the outer wing.

 

Thanks dudes.

 

:beer4:

 

Jerry

 

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Outer pylons would often be left off if not loaded with ordnance.  It also depends on the variant and the mission.  Example, the outer pylons on Navy F-4s were commonly used to haul bombs on MERs.  So, if you're building an F-4 that was flying MigCap, chances are good that the outer pylons would be left off, or at the least, empty.  But a Phantom that's on an air-to-mud mission would commonly be loaded up with Rockeyes, Mk. 82's, etc. and would be more likely to have stations 1 and 9 installed and loaded up.  The most common way I have ever seen the outer stations used is with MERs.  Keep in mind that when Duke Cunningham and Willie Driscoll became aces, they were flying an aircraft that carried a centerline tank, a combination of Mk. 20 Rockeyes and Sidewinders(on TERs) on stations 2 and 8, and no pylons on 1 and 9 if I recall right.  You are correct that USN/USMC Phantoms did not often carry wing tanks for combat sorties.

 

Remember too, an awful lot of this depends on the specific aircraft you are modeling.  Some squadrons might use different practices than others.  Of course, the mission matters.  You would also see rocket pods, I believe more commonly on a USMC bird, and Snakeyes too.  I've always seen rocket pods on 2 and 8 when they were loaded.  Then, you also might see a centerline mounted gun pod too, since the early Phantoms(and all Navy birds) had no internal cannon.  Sometimes, on 2 and 8, USMC birds would have TERs installed with a couple canisters of napalm each.

 

If you're building one that was on air-ground mission, you could always use the MER on the outside stations and leave it empty.  That's how it would have looked coming back from a mission anyways.  

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The outer wing pylon wasn't a modified tank pylon, it was a dedicated ordnance pylon. I believe that except for very early wing tanks, the pylon was integral with the tank, so the whole assembly was either on or off. Plenty of pictures around of F-4s during Vietnam carrying loaded and unloaded pylons. Just google search F-4B and F-4J. During combat ops, when one day an aircraft could be flying MiGcap, and the next day flying a bombing run, they probably just left the pylons on to reduce the workload with removing and installing them. During peacetime, they seem to have been rarely used, but it's not impossible.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/F-4J_Phantom_VF-114_in_flight_1972.jpg

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_F-4_Phantom_II#/media/File%3AF-4J_VF-96_Showtime_100_armed_from_below.jpg

 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F-4S_VF-74_Tu95D_1982.jpeg

Edited by Dave Williams

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I know that the Navy/Marine Phantoms rarely if ever carried the wing tanks

Not specific answer to your outer pylon ordnance question, but i just wanted to clarify that USMC F-4s in Vietnam frequently carried wing tanks with air to ground ordnance on centerline and inner pylons. Google (not limited to) VMFA-115, 314, 334 for image examples and many will show the wing tanks mounted.

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Thanks guys.  Much appreciated.  Lots of good information there.  I knew you guys would have the answers.  

 

:beer4:

 

Jerry   :piliot:

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Not specific answer to your outer pylon ordnance question, but i just wanted to clarify that USMC F-4s in Vietnam frequently carried wing tanks with air to ground ordnance on centerline and inner pylons. Google (not limited to) VMFA-115, 314, 334 for image examples and many will show the wing tanks mounted.

I can think of two reasons for this.  First, USMC F-4s were more likely to carry the centerline gun pod than USN jets, which would leave only two options----wing tanks, or a lot more aerial refueling.  Second, the primary job for a Navy F-4 would have been as an air to air interceptor--even if bombs were carried, the Navy F-4s were still loaded for, and expected to tangle with, the MiGs....the primary job of USMC pilots is to provide cover to the Marines on the ground.  Everything else is secondary for the USMC pilots.  Marine pilots flying CAS missions could have to loiter in the target area for a longer period of time.  By comparison, USN Phantoms that flew, for example, MiGcap missions for the strike packages off the carriers, they would fly in, escort the bombers.  Bombers would drop their bombs on their assigned targets and then get outta dodge.  There was no need to loiter, and often no need for the bombers to make multiple passes....drop and go.  If you look at the 4 links Finn posted above, the last one is a USMC bird.  Notice that it carries cluster bombs on the inner stations and bombs on the outer stations....but no Sidewinders at all.  USN birds usually did not fly combat missions without sidewinders on the inner station, above the cluster bombs in that pic.  During the entire Vietnam war, at least 63 USN aircraft were credited with either shooting down or sharing in the credit for shooting down enemy aircraft....by comparison, I found exactly one USMC MiG kill,an F-4 Phantom from VMFA-333 in 1972.

 

Regarding the outside pylons, a search turns up as many photos without them installed as with.  For this one, I would check the specific a/c you're looking to model.  See if you can find one photo from the time period, and go with it.  That's what I would do.  Since the pylon was easily removable, and there are plenty of photos that show F-4s both ways, it's really a toss-up.

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Guest Maxim

Navy F-4's had CG issues with wing tanks full of fuel on the cat shot as the aircraft would violently pitch up after leaving the deck, hence why you very rarely see them with wing tanks except ashore if then. The Marines being shore based most of the time didn't have the same CG issues and could use the outer hard points for wing tanks.

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I suppose this is as good a place as any to note that US Navy outer wing pylons themselves hung vertically from the wing, whether with the integral tanks or whether carrying TERs or MERs.

 

However when carrying weapons, clearance became particularly critical, especially with the bulged main gear doors for the larger wheels of the F-4J/S. The USAF pylons had never been coupled with the narrow wheels of the F-4B/N and so were always angled out at 7.5° from the wing underside.

 

The Navy achieved the 7.5° angle by adding an adapter to the pylon underside.

 

6837766115_153f871c4f_b.jpg

 

y.jpg

 

Tommy Thomason as ever has more to olffer on the subject.

http://tailspintopics.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/f-4-phantom-outboard-pylon-and-mer.html

Edited by Chek

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