XV409: Cockpit of Falklands F-4 Phantom Jet Stored Near Port Stanley

cockpit-section-of-phantom-xv409-at-the-falkland-islands-museum (All images courtesy of the Falkland Islands Museum; stored cockpit of Phantom XV409)

The surviving cockpit section of a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom jet, which for years had stood guard at the gate of RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands, is currently stored in a hangar pending restoration. The Phantom FGR2, serial number XV409, was scrapped in 2012 due to corrosion that rendered the airframe unsafe and uneconomical to repair. But its cockpit was saved by the Falkland Islands Museum, which hopes to display XV409 alongside other historic vehicles.

The museum is currently raising money for the construction of a new annex building to compliment its existing collection. Once complete, Phantom XV409 will go on public display once again, alongside a Sea King helicopter, landrovers, fire engines and other artifacts relating to the 1982 Falklands War.


The Falkland Islands Museum also plans to display the bow section of the Charles Cooper, a historic 1,000 ton merchant ship launched at Black Rock, Connecticut in 1856, which carried many emigrants to the New World.

XV409 was one of four McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom fighter jets that made up No. 1435 Flight, tasked with protecting the Falkland Islands from foreign threats in the wake of Argentina’s 1982 invasion, which sparked a 10-week war that claimed more than 900 lives.


The aircraft was retired in June 1992 when RAF Phantoms were withdrawn from service and replaced by the Panavia Tornado F3. The latter has in turn now passed to torch to the Eurofighter Typhoon, which carries on the tradition of 1435 Flight in defending the Malvinas into the 21st century.

Unlike her three sister aircraft – which were reportedly bulldozed into an unmarked grave and entombed somewhere within the perimeter of RAF Mount Pleasant – Phantom XV409 was earmarked for preservation and displayed outside the passenger terminal for two decades.


But as the years passed, unchecked corrosion left the neglected warplane in a state of severe decay. By 2012, the rusting shell of the proud combat jet was deemed to be beyond repair. As has been the fate of many ex-RAF Phantoms over the years, XV409 was scrapped without fanfare.

Thankfully, the cockpit section was placed into the care of the Falkland Islands Museum and has been stored ever since, pending the completion of the new museum building.

cockpit-section-of-phantom-xv409-at-the-falkland-islands-museum-5 (All images courtesy of the Falkland Islands Museum)

1435 Flight was formed during World War Two as a night fighter unit for the defence of Malta. The short-lived unit was revived in November 1988, when four F-4 Phantoms were dispatched to the south Atlantic. The aircraft wore the Maltese Cross on their tail fins and sported the names Faith, Hope and Charity, in homage to three Gloster Gladiators that defended Malta during the war.

Now operating the Eurofighter Typhoon, the fourth jet – Desperation – is appropriately kept in reserve as a spare. Phantom XV409 (pictured below while still on display at RAF Mount Pleasant in 2005) was coded H for Hope. The aircraft’s cockpit canopy still bears the name of Flt Lt M. Castle.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom XV409 while on display at RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falklands (Image: Mark Butler; Phantom XV409 while on display at RAF Mount Pleasant)

Related – 8 Aircraft Wrecks & Crash Sites of the Falkland Islands


About the author: Tom


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