The F-4 Phantom Graveyard at RAF Wattisham

scrap-f-4-phantom-fighters-wattisham-dump (All images by Alan Allen, reproduced with permission)

To aviation enthusiasts, RAF Wattisham was at the centre of the UK’s F-4 Phantom force until the type’s retirement in 1992. And while the ‘Phantom graveyard’ is now long gone, these images are a lasting reminder of the fleet‘s final days and will resonate with those who witnessed them.

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Shown parked in a neglected corner of the Suffolk air base, fighter aircraft that had been lovingly cared for for over two decades have been struck from the RAF inventory, spares-recovered and unceremoniously towed onto Wattisham’s scrapping area.

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The hardened aircraft shelters that housed the jets for years from the elements and potential Soviet air strikes stand empty nearby.

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Among the F-4s that spent their final weeks on the Wattisham dump was XV404, wearing the most striking paint scheme ever to adorn a UK Phantom. Despite efforts to save the airframe, it too fell foul of Cold War arms treaties and was reduced to scrap a year later – read the full story here.

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Now operated as Wattisham Airfield by the British Army, the former RAF Wattisham’s front line air defense duties ceased in 1992 with the disbandment of 74 Squadron, the last F-4 Phantom unit of the Royal Air Force, operating the FGR.2 and F-4J (UK) variants of the jet.

Read Part Two – visit the mortal remains of these fighter aircraft in the scrapyard

 

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  • Phantom Phixer

    You’ll be pleased to note that the cockpit of XV490 – the one with “R” on the nose gear door in those pictures) survives today, owned by a friend of mine and on display at Newark

  • http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com Tom

    Phantom Phixer, thanks for your feedback and that’s great to hear. Delighted that XV490’s cockpit has been saved. I’m also due a trip to Newark so will look forward to seeing it there.

 
 
 
 
 
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