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

Apr 27 2018 - Leave a Comment

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.