Japanese Phantom Pharewell

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force phased out their combat-duty F-4EJ Phantoms when the Samurais of Tactical Fighter Squadron Hitokai 301 took off their “Phantoms Phorever” patches last November. Now, the JASDF has retired the type for good when last week– on St. Patrick’s Day– the last three F-4EJs of the country’s Air Development and Test Wing quietly completed their final sortie.

“The pride and spirit of protecting Japan’s sky for about half a century will surely be passed on to the next generation with the dawn of a new era,” notes the JASDF as the force transitions to the F-35A.

The type made it 49 years with Japan but is still flown across the Tsushima Straits in South Korea not to mention by the Hellenic, Turkish and Iranian air forces.

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