Link F-4D “Phantom II” Simulator

This simulator was built by Link General Precision in 1967 in Binghamton, New York (now Link Simulation & Training in Arlington, Texas). It was used to train both the Pilot and Weapons System Operator (WSO) in a cockpit mounted on a 3 degree of freedom motion platform. All instrumentation was simulated and navigation and attack modes could be practiced by the crews. Special folding seats were mounted to the outside of the cockpit to allow instructors to observe and instruct when needed. This was only done with the motion system off and the canopies in the open position. Only the cockpit portion of the simulator is displayed here; when it was operational the simulator was accompanied by a room full of computers as well as the hardware necessary to provide hydraulic pressure for the motion platform.

The Aircraft

Initially designed for the U.S. Navy, the McDonnell Aircraft Company F-4 ”Phantom II” became the definitive fighter for the U. S. Air Force, Marines and Navy during the 1960s and into the 1970s. Over 5000 “Phantoms” were built, making it one of the most successful jet fighters in history. The F-4D was the second variant in a long line of versions the USAF put into service. Early versions of the “D” model carried only radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles, the prevailing concept being that the aircraft would shoot down attacking Soviet bombers from a distance instead of engaging in close-quarter “dogfighting” as in previous wars. Early on in the Vietnam experience, aircrews and planners alike realized that a gun was still needed in the air-to-air combat environment, and “D” models were fitted with 20MM gun pods and a lead computing gun sight (the next USAF version, the F-4E, carried the 20MM Vulcan cannon in an elongated nose section). After a distinguished career with active Air Force squadrons, F-4Ds served for many years in Reserve or Air Guard units.

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