The Phantom F4K Variant as operated by the Royal Navy
Seen here with the Double Nose Gear Extention. On the Catapult. HMS Ark Royal 1975.
The first British customer for the Phantom was the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, who ordered it as a replacement for the Sea Vixen in 1964. This version was known as the FG.1 in British service (its US designation was F-4K).
The British Phantoms were quite a bit different in shape and unique in having Rolls-Royce Spey engines. Also the FG.1 version had a considerably longer extending nose wheel leg so that it could operate from British aircraft carriers.
It was originally intended that two operational Naval squadrons should be equipped, one each for HMS Ark Royal and HMS Eagle. However, for political reasons, the refitting of Eagle was cancelled so 892 Sqn was the only operational one formed, and operated these Phantom F4K's from March 1969 to December 1978.
Off the catapult. The nose gear would have to shrink before the gear could be raised.
On disbanding the Fleet Air Arm, which had of a long history of Catapult and Arrester gear deck operations since the days of the Royal Naval Flying Service, these RN Phantoms were handed over to the RAF along with one of the FAA air stations the Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth.
The Royal Navy colour scheme was Extra Dark Sea Grey on the upper surfaces with white undersides. 892 Squadron's badge is prominent on the fin in red, white and black; the black letter "Omega" was chosen for the marking as it is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and at the time it was thought that 892 would be the last fixed-wing Naval Squadron. The white letter "R" is the code for HMS Ark Royal and the white "007" on the nose is the individual aircraft ident. The Squadron's Phantoms carried codes between 001 and 017.
Navy modifications included:
Contribution "nose extention" by Lionel A. Smith. (ex Phantom Engineer)
- Double extention of the nose gear for the catapult launch to ensure correct launch attitude. The nose undercarriage leg was extended 40 inches, and shrunk under normal circumstances, using hydraulic pressure. Pneumatics were involved with the Emergency Shrink in the event of failure in the hydraulic system.
- Twin reheating Rolls Royce Spey engines
- Rapid Reheat. Fitted for immediate engine response in the event of a bolter (missed approach) from the deck. Rapid reheat was selected only on approach to the deck. This was absolutely vital in the unlikely event of a single engine approach. Normal use would have excess wear and tear on the engine and it was therefore not authorised.
- Stick Positioning Device. (SPD). A very simple device that consisted of a wire on a small clutched reel under the instrument panel. The Weight and Balance would be known for that configuration on that day and therefore the required tail plane angle. The pilot would connect the wire by a clip to the control column. and pull back to the required setting, visually checked by the crew chief. The control column would be released and the SPD would remain connected with some slack wire in front. When sitting on the catapult, the stick would be pulled back to a position where the wire was taught. With the pilots right elbow locked in his right hip and the combination of the clutch on the SPD, the Phantom would launch gracefully into flight after the catapult fired, without the tailplane moving. When airborne off the catapult and the aircraft flying away, the clip would be squeezed and released from the control column and the push button on the side of the clutch pressed to spool up the wire.
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View all airframe numbers ever operated by RN.