American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

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A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Fighters For The Missile Era

F-4B, F4H-1F, F4-B, F4-C

Page 2

A series of record-breaking flights advertised the Phantom’s performance, including a zoom climb to 98,556 feet on December 6, 1959, a sustained altitude of 66,443 feet two years later, and a 1,606 mph (Mach 2.57) world’s speed record set by the modified second prototype on November 22, 1961, along with a climb to 49,212 feet in 114 seconds. No armament was fitted for any of these records, of course. On May 10, 1962, a Sparrow III missile fired from an F4H-1 made the first successful head-on ­attack on a Regulus supersonic cruise missile.

The first operational version, flown on March 27, 1961, became the F-4B on September 18, 1962, while the first 47 F4H-1s became the F-4As, after being known as F4H-1F models for a short time. VF-102 was aboard the shakedown cruise of the Enterprise, the first nuclear carrier, from February to April 1962, while in June the first Marine F-4B squadron became VMF (AW)-314. VF-74 became the first full operational F-4B squadron on the Forrestal (CV-59) in August, beginning 24 years of carrier deployments. McDONNELL F-4B

Powered by J79-GE-8s, the F-4B had a slightly raised canopy, APQ-72 radar with an infrared detector underneath the nose, and leading and trailing edge flaps for boundary layer control. Four AIM-7D Sparrows and two 370-gallon drop tanks on the inboard pylons was normal, but a 600-gallon tank or a 2,040-pound Mk 28 nuclear bomb could carried on a center-line pylon. Another option allowed from 12 to 24 500-pound Mk 82 bombs or other stores and four AIM-9B Sidewinders could be added when desired. An inflight refueling probe was provided to replenish JP-4 fuel on long flights.

Two 14-plane Navy F-4B squadrons served each of the large carriers, but five Essex-class carriers still in service retained Vought F-8 Crusaders. Nine Marine F-4B VMF (AW) all-weather fighter squadrons were redesignated VMFA (Fighter Attack) squadrons in 1964. In 1964, VF-213 tested 12 designated F-4Gs with ASW-21 data systems, but all were converted to standard F-4B configurations in 1966. McDONNELL F-4C

By January 27, 1967, 649 F-4Bs were delivered to 22 fleet squadrons. The RF-4B, a photo-reconnaissance version, flew March 12, 1965, and by December 1970, 46 were delivered to three Marine squadrons: VMC-1, -2, and -3. Upgraded electronics kept the RF-4B in service until August 1990.

USAF Phantoms
Air Force intentions to obtain Phantoms were announced January 17, 1962, and 29 F-4Bs were borrowed from the Navy to train instructor pilots. Designated F-110As, the first two arrived at Langley AFB for TAC on January 24. In March, the first production contract was placed for 310 F-4C and 26 RF-4C aircraft, and their first examples were flown on May 27, 1963, and August 20, respectively. McDonnell delivered 583 F-4Cs to 23 TAC squadrons from November 20, 1963, to May 4, 1966.

Essentially, the F-4C was similar to its Navy counterpart except for J79-GE-15 engines, APQ-100 radar, flight controls in the second cockpit, an Air Force boom flight-refueling receptacle, and larger wheels.

An AJB-7 bombing system directed a Mk 28 nuclear store, six to eleven M117 bombs, or other stores. Four AIM-7D Sparrows were standard, and four AIM-9B Sidewinders or AGM-12B Bullpup missiles could be added on wing pylons.

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