by Tommy H. Thomason

Saturday, November 24, 2012

F4H-1 Large and Small Radomes

Thanks to Mark Nankivil and Larry McCarley, I have a little more insight into the difference between the large and small radomes on the F4H. This is an overlay of McDonnell drawings of the forward fuselage:

Note that the radomes are located on the same center line (boresight). However, Larry McCarley (who has access to an F-4 at China Lake) pointed out that the top of the larger radome is slightly flattened at the parting line with the forward fuselage. (Note also that the parting line of the larger radome is not perpendicular to the radome center line like the smaller one is.) The flattening of the top of the radome was probably done to minimize the reduction in over-the-nose visibility with the new nose.

You'll note that the ramp extends farther forward on the F4H with the bigger radome. That is one of the differences in the ramp between the F-4A and the F-4B. The change resulted in a modification to the aft edge of the lowest kick-in step and the lower access panel.

One of these days, I plan to reorganize and combine all the posts that I've done on the early Phantom IIs. In the meantime, I think this is a comprehensive list of them:


  1. TT, this is not radome related, but, it is Phantom related. It would be a very big help if you could highlight the chaff/flare doors on an F-4B spine sometime, if you have a photo of the dispenser itself, that would be cool, too. I don't have a photo of the actual dispenser anywhere, and the doors are just randomly seen in published pictures, without mentioning what they are. I constantly get sidelined by people during a "helpful post", if I slip up and mention the doors, then the rest of what I have said to help someone is instantly discounted. And trust me, every Marine that has been around a Phantom for two minutes or more has heard in very impolite language "don't you walk on my #%@#%$#%@ doors, you _____________". Which brings up an interesting thought,,,,,why do the people that insist there is no ALE in there think the areas are cut out of the walkways? Those would be some interesting answers, I'd bet, haha.

  2. Rex, Thanks for the comment. I've seen a few pictures of the chaff/flare dispenser doors open but don't have any with me and can't find any on the web. I'll keep my eye out for one.

  3. Grat stuff - On my wish list is the prototype Phantom and this is the sort of information I need.
    Do you have any more information on the size, shape and positioning of the RATs on the wing LE.?
    Also was there any change to the engine nozzles between the prototype and the 'B' version?
    John Rieley

  4. John, As near as I can tell, the engine nozzles were the same on the prototype and the Bs. The afterburner petals may have been a little shinier.

    For everything I currently have on the early RAT, see