In 1968, XV408 was one of the first Phantoms delivered to the RAF. It served briefly with No 228 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Coningsby and in June 1969 was allocated to No 6 Squadron, the first operational Phantom unit, for fighter/ground attack duties. It saw further service with the OCU between 1974 and 1976 at which point, with this aircraft type switching to the air defence role, it was transferred to No 23 Squadron. Moves between several squadrons in both the UK and Germany followed until 1992 when the aircraft was finally retired.
After a year in storage, XV408 became a gate guardian at Cranwell and was later displayed in the open at Halton and Fairford. Faced with being scrapped in 2004, the RAF Museum agreed to take on the aircraft and offer it on permanent loan to Tangmere.
In 2016, the RAF Museum decided to reduce the number of Phantoms in its collection and ownership of XV408 was transferred to the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Trust. The aircraft is now displayed in the markings of No 92 Squadron in the blue colour scheme it wore in 1991 to commemorate the final year of RAF Phantom operations in Germany.
Photos: Pete MacKean and Mike Young