As reported by the Associated Press agency, a senior Turkish military commander says Turkey is retiring its RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance planes. The announcement came after two RF-4E’s crashed on February 24th during a night training exercise in the central province of Malatya, killing all four crew members. Combat Air Force Commander Gen. Abidin Unal told reporters on Wednesday that the Turkish Air Force had decided to ground the planes as of March 12th, retiring them several months earlier than scheduled. The two RF-4Es crashed into a mountain in Malatya, central Turkey. Nine days later, another Turkish Phantom also crashed, killing its two pilots and raising questions about the safety of Turkey’s aging fleet. Unal said reconnaissance flights would now be carried out by F-16 jets. The more modern F-16 will take over reconnaissance tasks from the RF-4Es, Abidin Ünal told members of the press on Wednesday.
Photo by ©Emin Fındıklı
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So two pilots fly a phantom into a mountan: retire ALL the phantoms!! Sounds like logical decision to me….
Read it again. Three in nine days.
The Turkish Phantoms were scheduled for retirement in mid-2015. Rather than a needed stand down and investigation with follow up training, the Turks decided to retire the Phantoms a few months early. Makes sense with all considered.