Death (permanent) of the Phoenix (Oct 15, 2004 entry)
The AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missile has been retired. It protected our fleet for thirty years.
Over 5,000 were built, but the Phoenix never shot down anything in combat. There are unconfirmed reports of Iranian F-14s using Phoenix missiles to down Iraqi aircraft during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. Iran was the only foreign nation to receive the Phoenix, and it was rumored that American technicians disabled Iran’s 285 Phoenix missiles before leaving the country (when Islamic rebels overthrew the monarchy in 1979.) One Phoenix was fired during the 1991 Gulf War, at an Iraqi helicopter. It missed.
I knew that the earlier versions of the F/A-18 Hornet could not fire the Phoenix, but I was hoping that the newer Super Hornets could, since they are replacing the F-14. The AIM-120 AMRAAM has replaced the Phoenix, but its range of around 20 miles is only one-fifth the range of the Phoenix.