This Outstanding Footage Celebrates Retirement of F-4EJ “Kai” Phantom II 47-8333 “Tora-San” After 44 Years

A very special Japan Air Self Defense Force F-4EJ Phantom.

On Apr. 11, 2018, Japan’s Air Force retired one its F-4EJ “Kai” Phantom II jets: the example serialled 47-8333/”333″ assigned to the 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 7th Air Wing of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force based at Hyakuri Air Base in the Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan.

The aircraft served with the JASDF for 44 years. Originally an F-4EJ, it was upgraded to the “Kai” (“extra”) variant during the mid ’80s, as part of a modernization program that included, among the other things, the installation of a new AN/APG-66J pulse-Doppler radar, a new central computer, a Kaiser HUD (Head Up Display), an AN/APZ-79 IFF system, as well as the ability to carry an AN/ALQ-131 advanced multimode electronic countermeasures pod and to launch the AIM-7E/F Sparrow and the AIM-9L/P Sidewinder AAMs (air-to-air missiles).

According to one of our readers who pointed us to the video below, the aircraft 47-8333, usually called “Triple 3”, was often called “Trouble 3” as a consequence of some issues it suffered. On the very last day of activity before the retirement, the splitter vane of the “333” sported the text “Tora-san, Thank you”: indeed, this aircraft got the name Tora-san, the loveable character of the Japanese movie series “Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It’s tough being a man)”, the world’s longest running film series.

H/T Akihiro Kanai for sending this over to us. Top image: screenshot from 1-300 Youtube video.

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About David Cenciotti 3645 Articles
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.