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F/RF-4E Phantom II in THE TURKISH AIRFORCE

Issue 98

The needs of the Turkish Air Force Command (TurAF) were mostly met by the United States Military Assistance Program (MAP) under the Marshall Plan, which started in 1948. When Turkey became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952, large amounts of aircraft were acquired with the help of other NATO countries, primarily the United States (USA). By the 1960s, the striking power of the Turkish Air Force was formed by the F-84 Thunderstreak and F-100 Super Saber aircraft, which were acquired through the assistance program. In addition to these, TurAF was also operating a small number of F-5 Freedom Fighter and F-104 Starfighter aircraft. Due to the problems that started in Cyprus in 1960 and the crisis that escalated with Greece after the intervention on the island in 1964, the need for a new multi-role fighter plane emerged in the early 1970s. 

The acquisition of 36 F-4E Phantom II by Greece under the Peace Icarus Project in 1971, highlighted the necessity of meeting the modern and powerful aircraft need of the Turkish Air Force. Contract negotiations with the USA started in February 1972 and were completed in a short time, and the Peace Diamond project was launched within the same year. A total of 40 F-4E Phantom II aircraft were ordered, and the project was financed from the national budget. Within the scope of the order, the necessary supply, spare parts, and facility support needs of the Eskişehir and Erhaç/Malatya Jet Air Bases, as well as the personnel selection and training programs, were also planned.