The Warplane That Will Not Die

TIME

Think of it as the return of the Phantom.

Fly boys of a certain age perked up with reports Thursday that F-4 Phantom II’s belonging to the Iranian air force — or what’s left of it — have attacked targets belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in recent days.

The strikes, confirmed by U.S. officials (but denied by Tehran), took place northeast of Baghdad in eastern Iraq. Conveniently, the U.S. military, which is also conducting air strikes against ISIS targets, has been confining its bombing runs to the western part of the country.

If true, the Iranian attacks represent a return to the spotlight for the McDonnell Douglas F-4. The plane was originally designed for the Navy, which flew it first in 1960. It last flew for the U.S. military, specifically for the Air Force, in 1996 (it also was the only aircraft…

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