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Current Geopolitics / Special Report: Turkish F-4 Phantom Jets, Sensitive Geopolitical Balances Around Syria And The “Threat” Of Cheap Oil…

F-4 Phantom


F-4 Phantom

Syria Shot Down A Turkish F-4 Phantom Jet…

  • Syria shot down a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday andAnkarawarned it would respond decisively to the incident that threatened to open a new international dimension in the 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Syriasaid the Turkish aircraft was flying low, well inside Syrian territorial waters when it was shot down. With the second biggest army in NATO, a force hardened by nearly 30 years of fighting Kurdish rebels,Turkeywould be a formidable foe for the Syrian army which is already struggling to put down a 16-month-old revolt. / F-4 Phantom /
  • But Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s initial comments and subsequent statement on the downing of the F-4 jet were measured in tone. He said Turkish and Syrian forces were working together to search for the two missing crew of the aircraft. “As a result of information obtained from the evaluation of our concerned institutions and from within the joint search and rescue operations with Syria, it is understood that our plane was brought down by Syria,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement. “Turkey will present its final stance after the incident has been fully brought to light and decisively take the necessary steps,” the office said after a two-hour emergency meeting between prime minister, the chief of general staff, the defense, interior and foreign ministers, the head of national intelligence and the commander of the air force. Turkish media had reported earlier that Syriahad apologized for the incident, but Erdogan made no mention of any apology. / F-4 Phantom /
*(Sources of Photos: Turkish Air Force / / /  /  / / F-4 Phantom / )
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Turkish Air Force…

  • One of the most prominent Phantom users is the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force or THK), which operates about 233 F-4s.
  • Under the Peace Diamond I program 40 F-4Es were ordered, with deliveries starting in August 1974, although completion of the order was delayed by an arms embargo following the Turkish invasion ofCyprus. These aircraft equipped 161 Filo (Squadron) at 6 Ana Jet Us (Jet-aircraft air Base, also called JAB). After re-equipping with F-16Cs these Phantoms were sent to 7 JAB for 171 and 172 Filo. Filo 173 at the same base was the Operational Conversion Unit.
  • Peace Diamond III was an additional phase of the plan to reinforce the THK, always striving to keep a balance with the Greek Hellenic Air Force, because even though both are NATO countries,GreeceandTurkeyare historical enemies and there have been air clashes over theAegean Seabetween them. Filo 111, 112, 113, all based on JAB 1,Eskişehir, were the new Phantom units. The 111th and 112th Filo received 32 F-4Es replacing their aging F-100s. The 113 Filo replaced their even older RF-84Fs with eight RF-4Es.

  • With this last batch of F-4s and plans to acquire F-16s, the THK was quickly being modernized. Before these aircraft arrived the THK had operated fighters such as the F-104 Starfighter, F-100 Super Sabre, F-84 Thunderflash and the F-86 Sabre, plus the economical F-5 Freedom Fighter. With 80 Phantoms on order, the strength of the THK was increased to new levels. Other fighters, seen as supplemental to the F-4E, were purchased as well. These included 40 Aeritalia F-104Ss, the improved Starfighter, with the same missiles and engines as used on the Phantoms. These equipped Filo 142 and 172. Compared to the F-4s they were considerably less expensive and were used as interceptors. The Turkish F-4 fleet was enhanced with 15 ex-USAF aircraft delivered in 1981 to Filo 173 and finally, another 15 delivered in 1984 to replace fleet losses. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Peace Diamond IV… / F-4 Phantom

  • Peace Diamond IV was another program to reinforce the THK and was carried out between June and October 1987. Under this program 40 F-4Es were delivered to 131 and 132 Filo, 3 JAB,Konya. Before that, this wing was only a training unit equipped with the last Turkish F-100s. After the conversion it became an operational formation.
  • Turkey assisted in Desert Storm without entering the fighting directly, by opening their airbases to the Coalition air forces and hosted Belgian Mirages, German Alpha Jets and Italian F-104Gs. As a reward for their help another 40 ex-USAF Phantoms were delivered to 112 and 172 Filo, beginning on 25 March 1991. At that time, the USAF was phasing-out large quantities of older aircraft, reducing their strength by over 1,000 F-4C/D/Es. But even if old, these aircraft were desirable to countries like Turkey who already had F-4 fleets.
  • The U.S. did not have enough RF-4s to sell to meet international demands, so when the Luftwaffe phased out their remaining 88 RF-4Es during 1992–93, 32 were delivered to the THK in 1992–94. All of these went to 113 Filo, Eskişehir. Later, when 173 Filo passed their F-4Es to 172 Filo, they equipped with RF-4Es. By the end of that reorganization, Filo 171 became a ground attack unit, 172 interception and 173 reconnaissance. That delivery completed the THK F-4 fleet. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Operational Use…

  • Many of the Turkish Phantoms are used as ground attack aircraft, a role they fit well due to the systems installed, especially the ex-USAF aircraft. The first Phantoms delivered to the THK had Vietnam-colours and TISEO equipment, consisting of one camera with zoom for enemy aircraft visual identification outside of normal optical range. The F-4s acquired from USAF stocks were ex-110 TFS and 141 TFS (Both ANG squadrons) and arrived painted in “Egyptian one” camouflage, an air-superiority paint scheme consisting of two different shades of blue, despite being best-suited for ground attack. The last batch delivered had AVQ-23A Pave Spike laser designation pods. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Upgrades…

  • Buying a more sophisticated supersonic fighter, like the F-15 Eagle or Panavia Tornado, was too expensive and instead, the THK decided to upgrade its Phantom fleet with improvements to avionics and structure, but not to the engines. In August 1995, after a hotly contested competition with DASA (F-4 ICE), IAI was awarded a USD600M contract to upgrade 54 F-4Es to Phantom 2000s. The first 26 aircraft were rebuilt in Israel, and the other 28 inTurkey. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Structure…

  • Small strakes above the air intakes to improve agility, new attachment fittings, engine mountings, stronger wing fold ribs, updated canopy sill bar,12 mi(20 km) of wiring replaced (reducing weight by 1,653 lb/750 kg) as well as most hydraulic and pneumatic lines and hoses, and fuel tank reinforcements. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom: Avionics…

  • New MFD (multifunction display) in the front cockpit plus two in the rear, new Kaiser El-OP 976 wide-angle HUD and HOTAS system, high-performance Elta EL/M-2032 ISAR-capable high-resolution SAR/GMTI (ground moving target indicator) multi-mode fire-control radar (developed for the IAI Lavi), IAIC mission computer, new navigation equipment including GPS/INS connected to mapping mode, dual MIL-STD-553B databus managing avionics package, Astronautics Central Air Data Computer, new UHF and IFF packages, airborne video tape recorder (AVTR), Elta EL/L-8222 active ECM pod and Mikes (Aselsan) AN/ALQ-178V3 passive embedded SPEWS, and RWR.
  • Additionally, they had AGM-142 Popeye/Have Nap integration, Litening-II targeting pods, and the capability to launch AGM-65D/G Maverick, AGM-88 HARM, GBU-8 HOBOS, GBU-10/12 Paveway II LGBs, general purpose and cluster bombs for air-to-ground missions, while retaining the capability to launch AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. It is also possible to install Pave Spike targeting pods and rocket pods of all sizes.
  • These upgraded F-4 Phantoms are referred to as the F-4E-2020 Terminator. They will be in service until at least 2015 and perhaps longer. The first entered service on 27 January 2000 with deliveries to 111 and 171 Filo. / F-4 Phantom /
F-4 Phantom

Units Turkish Air Force… / F-4 Phantom

  • At the end of the 20th century, the following THK units operated Phantoms:
  • Ana Jet Üs (Jet Air Base),Eskişehir: 111 Filo “Panter” (F-4E/2020), 112 Filo “Şeytan” (F-4E), 113 Filo “Işık” (RF-4E)
  • Ana Jet Üs,Konya: 132 Filo “Hançer” (F-4E/2020)
  • Ana Jet Üs, Erhaç-Malatya: 171 Filo “Korsan” (F-4E/2020), 172 Filo “Şahin” (F-4E), 173 Filo “Şafak” (F-4E)
  • 1st Tactical Air Force
  • 111 Filo, 112 Filo, 113 Filo
  • 2nd Tactical Air Force
  • 132 Filo, 171 Filo, 172 Filo, 173 Filo  / F-4 Phantom /

The Turkish Factor… / F-4 Phantom 

  • The incident proves that the geopolitical balance is very sensitive in the Turkish periphery and also that the civil war inSyriagradually obtains a serious regional and international character.
  • Ankara’s reaction is the main point of geopolitical interest as it can triggers a “reaction” from Moscow further escalating the conflict to a peripheral level with unpredictable consequences.
  • Finally, it is obvious that only diplomatic measures and negotiations can provide a viable solution to the bloody situation inSyria, taking in consideration its multidimensional character from peripheral geopolitical relations to current oil prices at low levels (look at China and the U.S. markets) and the threat of global economic stagnation. / F-4 Phantom /

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