The End of the GE J-79?

September 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Not to worry — the engine that powered a few different aircraft, including the B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber and F-104 Starfighter supersonic interceptor and, most notably, the F-4 Phantom II supersonic fighters/bombers/recons/Wild Weasels/target drones, continues to power, well, pretty much just a few F-4 Phantoms with air forces of U.S. allies.

It, the engine, was known around the world as a brute force in aerospace propulsion. In its earlier incarnations it was also known for being smoky and for emitting an unforgettable howl. One might argue that for decades that howl had been considered the sound of freedom, unless you were on the receiving end of whatever was being unleashed on you. Then, not so much.

The item here, though, is no more: the aircraft it propelled was RF-4C serial number 68-0599, the last Phantom pulled from the 309th AMARG "Boneyard" on Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, for target duty (there's that "target drone" role mentioned earlier). It served admirably at Tyndall AFB, training the next generation of aerial warfighters but, when the airframe's clock reached the end of its service life, they shot 599 out of the sky and into the Gulf of Mexico. Better than the crusher, I believe.

To commemorate the passing of, at least, this particular powerplant, if not the most famous of the craft it powered, I emphasized the colors and textures of its afterburner section.

RIP 599; sleep well in the deep.


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