In the early 1960s, the USAF recognized the need for more tactical reconnaissance aircraft to reinforce the RF-101s then in service. The Air Force chose a modification of the F-4C fighter. The RF-4C development program began in1962, and the first production aircraft made its initial flight on May 18, 1964. A total of 505 RF-4Cs were built for the USAF.
The RF-4C can carry a variety of cameras in three different stations in its nose section. It can take photos at both high and low altitude, day or night. The three basic reconnaissance systems used on this aircraft are: side-looking radar to record terrain on flight path, infra-red detector to locate enemy forces under cover or at night, and forward and side-looking cameras, including scanning lenses for panoramic models. The RF-4C carries no offensive armament, although during the last few years of its service some were fitted with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for defense.
This RF-4C S/N 67-0452 saw service with the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was last assigned to the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, and is painted in the paint scheme it had on it during its time in the Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance (ATARS) test program.
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corp
Two — General Electric J79-GE-15 Turbojet engines rated at 17,000 lbs of thrust w/afterburner each
Length 62 ft 10 in
Height 16 ft 6 in
Wingspan 38 ft 5 in
Weight 28,276 lbs Empty / 58,000 lbs Max
Speed 1,384 mph Max / 575 mph Cruise
Range 1,632 miles w/tanks
Ceiling 55,200 ft
Armament None. Some later were equipped with — Four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force