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A Republic of Korea Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jet takes off for a final flight during a retirement ceremony at its home base in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. Yonhap

After 55 years of service, the Republic of Korea Air Force’s fleet of F-4 Phantom fighter jets retired on Friday, marking the end of an era in the nation’s military history.

During the retirement ceremony attended by Minister of National Defense Shin Won-sik, the two F-4E jets took to the sky for their final flight at the 10th Fighter Wing in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, the home base of the fleet.

Commemorative flights by F-16, KF-16, FA-50, RF-16, F-15K and F-35A fighter jets served as the grand finale of the event, marking the handover of the mission to defend the skies to a new generation of aircraft.

Shin reflected on 카지노사이트킹 the Phantom’s illustrious history and described the past 55 years as a testament to South Korea’s triumphs, stating that with the introduction of the Phantom, the nation swiftly gained air superiority over North Korea.

“The noble spirit of the Phantom, dedicated to safeguarding South Korea’s airspace, will forever remain with us,” Shin said.

The retirement ceremony also honored fallen pilots and patriots, commemorating those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

The first batch of the U.S.-made jets arrived in South Korea in 1969, playing a pivotal role in bolstering the nation’s defense capabilities against threats posed by North Korea’s Soviet-made jets.

Some 220 Phantoms have been operated by the Air Force, culminating in a distinguished career that included various missions ranging from reconnaissance to interception, but only around 10 jets were in service recently.

South Korea is currently working to deploy the KF-21, its own domestically developed supersonic fighter, by 2026 to replace its aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets.

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