The HAF has bid farewell to its last “recce” Phantoms.
On May 4, Larissa airbase, Greece, hosted the spotter day for the final flight of the Hellenic Air Force RF-4E, the last “recce” Phantoms in Europe. With the phase out of the last Greek RF-4E, Iran and Japan remain the last operators of the reconnaissance variant of the “Rhino” (how the Phantom is dubbed in the aviation community).
Indeed, the 348 MTA (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron), one of the oldest and most historic Hellenic Air Force squadrons, was disbanded on May 5, after 64 years of operations, with its last three RF-4s finally retired from active service: the example serialled 7499, that sported a brand new special livery; the old special colored 7450, and the 71765, an RF-4E still wearing the Southeast Asia camouflage color scheme.
A static and flying display were arranged to celebrate the event.
The photographs in this article were taken at Larissa by The Aviationist’s contributors Alessandro Fucito and Tony Lovelock on May 4 and 5, 2017.
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.
Wow! How many A-10s and F-16s can you count in these stunning photographs? “Elephant walk” exercises are conducted quite regularly at airbases all around the world to test the squadrons ability to launch large formations […]
As what really happened on Jun. 22, when a Turkish Air Force RF-4E from Erhac was shot down by a Syrian Air Defense battery, after violating the Syrian airspace, remains a mystery, an interesting video […]