The F-4 is one of the most famous fighter aircraft of the post-World War II era, having been used in large numbers by the air forces of many western nations, where it gradually evolved in capability and mission diversity. First flown on 27 May 1958, the Phantom was developed as a private venture by McDonnell and was first ordered by the US Navy as a carrier-based attack aircraft armed with a 20-mm cannon (the F-4B). Soon after its introduction to active service in December 1960, a fly-off competition was conducted between the Phantom and various frontline Air Force fighters. The Phantom excelled in the competition in such a decisive way that the US Air Force ordered a slightly different version of the aircraft (the F-4C) and the Phantom went on to equip over three-quarters of the USAF's fighter wings.
several F-4s still in active service with the Luftwaffe at Holloman AFB. On 1 May 1996, at Holloman AFB the German Air Force Tactical Training Center (TTC) was established in concept with the 20th Fighter Squadron which provided aircrew training in the F-4F Phantom II. The TTC served as the parent command for two German air crew training squadrons. The F-4 Training Squadron oversaw all German F-4 student personal affairs, and provided German instructor pilots to cooperate in the contracted F-4 training program provided by the U.S. Air Force (20th Fighter Squadron). On 20 December 2004 the 20th Fighter Squadron ("Luftwaffe Silver Lobos") was inactivated.