The Turkish Air Force’s F-4 Phantom aircraft were engaged in the Poggio Dart 23 exercises at the Istrana Air Base in Italy on December 12, 2023.
Poggio Dart 23 showcased the airpower capabilities of the U.S., Italian and Turkish Air Force, during a weeklong exercise.
Despite their considerable age, Turkey still maintains the legendary Phantoms from the Vietnam War era within its arsenal.
According to The Drive, in the late 1990s, the Turkish Air Force initiated significant upgrades to some of its Phantoms, signing a $632 million agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Out of nearly 200 F-4E aircraft in its fleet, 54 were modernized to the Terminator 2020 configuration. The project, named F-4E-2020, aimed to keep the aircraft flying at least until this year. Roughly half of the 54 were extensively modified by IAI in Israel with new avionics systems, initially intended for the country’s “Kurnass” Phantom program before its cancellation. The remaining aircraft underwent upgrades in Turkey using kits provided by Israel.
The count of active F-4s varies across different estimates, but most analysts suggest that the number of operational aircraft ranges from 30 to 40. Presently, only one Turkish squadron of F-4 remains—the 111 Filo ‘Panterler’, stationed at the Eskisehir Air Base.