Early retirement Turkish RF-4E recce Phantoms

The Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force) has retired its remaining McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantoms, effective immediately. The announcement was made on Wednesday 11 March, two weeks after  two of the type crashed, killing all four pilots. The F-16 will replace the RF-4E in the recce role.

The RF-4E was planned to retire later this year, but the deadly accident has sped things up. Turkey has just eight RF-4E Phantoms remaining, all flying with 173 Filo at Malatya Erhaç airbase in central Turkey. The crashed Phantoms also belonged to this unit. The cause of the crash seems to have been not a mid air collision, but controlled flight into terrain, according to Turkish investigators.

Close the 50 modernized F-4E 2020 Phantoms will continue flying, even though one of those crashed last week, also killing the crew of two.

The very last Turkish Air Force RF-4E flight will take place on Thursday 12 March, as Turkish Air Force commander Gen. Abidin Ünal flies the last sortie, together with Gen. Akın Öztürk, the commander of the Combatant Air Force and Missile Defense.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Turkish Phantoms. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Oven-like hot day in Izmir, cool camouflage. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
An RF-4E, seen in Izmir, Turkey, in 2011. (Image © Elmer van Hest)