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The F-4J, first flown in 1966, was an improved version of the F-4B for the Navy and the Marines. With enhanced air-to-air and ground attack capability, the huge, powerful Phantoms were at the forefront of carrier enabled power projection.
After a production run of 522, deliveries of the F-4J ended in 1972. The F-4J served the US Navy Blue Angels from 1969 through to 1973; this period was the only time that both the Navy and Air Force demonstration teams would fly similar aircraft.
Beginning in 1977, the F-4J was extensively modernized and designated an F-4S. Changes included smokeless engines, improved hydraulics, electronics, and wiring, as well as modifying the wings to increase maneuverability. In total, 302 aircraft were upgraded.
On 25 March 1986, an F-4S belonging to the VF-151 "Vigilantes," became the last active duty U.S. Navy Phantom to launch from an aircraft carrier, the Midway. On 18 October of the same year, an F-4S from the VF-202 "Superheats", a Naval Reserve fighter squadron, made the last-ever Phantom carrier landing. By 1987, the last of the Naval Reserve-operated F-4S aircraft were replaced by F-14's.