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On Friday, May 5th, 2017 the Hellenic Air Force retired its RF-4E Phantom II from service. In an
official ceremony, the 348 Mira Taktikis Anagnoriseos (MTA, Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron),
based at Larissa AB, was disbanded. After 39 years of operation, this day marked the end of the
reconnaissance version of the Phantom II in the HAF and in Europe. The Japan Air Self-Defense
Force and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force remain the last RF-4E operators. On May 4th,
the 348 MTA hosted a spotters day to give aviation enthusiasts and photographers a last chance
to see this iconic aircraft in action. 514 spotters joined the event. There were plenty of
opportunities to take photos of the squadron's last three aircraft, two of them with a special
color scheme and one wearing the Southeast Asia, Vietnam-era, camouflage color scheme. That day,
the Phantoms were flying twice in a rarely seen "clean" configuration, which means without any
wing mounted pods or rockets. A highlight was several overflights of a three-ship RF-4E formation.
This formation was then joined by a Mirage 2000 and an F-16. Some air show feeling came up when
a T-6A Texan II and an F-16C performed a display.
Since Larissa AB also is home to the 337 Mira there was some additional F-16C/D Block 52+ flying activity.
2017 / 05