What if Top Gun 2 was all about JASDF F-4EJ “Kai” Phantom II and RF-4?
The Japan Air Self Defense Force Phantoms based at Hyakuri have become famous over the last few years as the only remaining F-4s that offer photographers close access to their taxiways and runways for photography. Other air arms around the world still operate the “Rhino”, but those aircraft are harder to gain access to for good photos than Hyakuri’s Samurai Phantoms and, as we commented in the past “no other Phantoms on earth wear the colorful, almost anime-like color schemes that the Hyakuri Phantoms wear. The planes look as though they’ve flown off the pages of a Japanese manga superhero graphic novel.”
With the retirement of the F-4EJ “Kai” Phantom of the 302nd Squadron, that made its last flight with the type on Mar. 19, 2019, before moving to Misawa air base to operate the JASDF F-35A 5th generation aircraft from Mar. 26, 2019, the only remaining F-4 Phantoms left at Hyakuri Base are the 301 Squadron and 501 Reconnaissance Squadron. They will complete their mission in about a year or so.
The video below shows the last F-4EJ and RF-4 flying from “Hyakuriland”. The incredible footage was edited so as to mix the audio of the trailer of “Top Gun: Maverick” movie with plenty of dramatic slow-motion scenes showing the Samurai Phantoms taking off, landing or maneuvering. The outcome is a stunning, sort-of parody trailer for Top Gun sequel.
Cool, isn’t it?
The F-4EJ “Kai” (“extra”) is the latest Japanese variant of the Phantom that has been modernized from the EJ version in the mid-1980s with 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).
Some 15 surplus F-4EJ (seven F-4EJ and eight F-4EJ Kai) were modified to RF-4EJ/RF-4EJ Kai status.