General Dynamics F-111
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General Dynamics F-111

The General Dynamics F-111 resulted from the Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) project of 1961, in which an attempt was made to create a swing-wing fighter for several roles for the US Navy and US Air Force. After edging out a Boeing design, General Dynamics teamed up with Grumman so that the latter firm, an experienced builder of carrier-based aircraft, could build the F-111 variant seen as early as 1961 as a replacement for the US Navy F-4 Phantom. The first USAF General Dynamics F-111A flew on 21 December 1964 and the first US Navy Grumman F-111B went aloft on 18 May 1965. Although its variable-geometry configuration was the principal advancement found in the F-111, the swing-wing worked perfectly from the outset. But the F-111B proved too heavy and in other ways unsuited to carrier-deck operations and was cancelled in May 1968 after only nine airframes had been delivered.

In addition to 17 F-111As for development work, 141 went to Tactical Air Command, with first deliveries to the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada beginning in 1968. These were powered by two 8392kg afterburning thrust Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-3 turbofans. In March 1968, six F-111As of the wing's 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron under Colonel Ivan H. Dethman were rushed to Takhli, Thailand, to begin combat operations against North Vietnam. The first three aircraft launched on the first three missions vanished for ever, although the detachment later flew 55 missions successfully. The USAF discovered, as a prisoner of war from this deployment would later confirm, that a tailplane problem caused uncontrollable pitch-up and roll. This failure in the flying control system caused the aircraft to break up in flight without North Vietnamese assistance! A separate fatique problem caused wing spar cracks and, in 1969, resulted in the loss of an F-111A when its wing was torn off. In 1969, the entire fleet of 300 aircraft was grounded while an exhaustive structural review programme remedied these problems.


The Strategic Air Command's FB-111A, operating with two wings, is a very long-range variant powered by two 9230kg afterburning thrust Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-7 turbofans, with modified inlets, long-span wing, and provision for nuclear or thermonuclear weapons or up to 50 340kg HE bombs; 76 FB-111As were built.

The EF-111A, officially named Raven but called 'Electric Fox', is a Grumman conversion of the airframe, resulting in a dedicated tactical jamming system and electronic warfare aircraft. Painted off-white and distinguished by a large fincap radome housing receiver antennae, the EF-111A flew in production form on 28 June 1981 and entered service with a USAF unit in England in 1984.

Twenty-four F-111C 'Aardvarks', the informal nickname for all fighter-bomber variants were delivered to Australia in 1973 after lengthy delays. The F-111C differs from the F-111A model in having a longer-span wing and stronger landing gear. Four F-111Cs have been converted to the reconnaissance role and the remainder, like many USAF 'Aardvarks', are being equipped with Pave Tack pods for laser acquisition of ground targets.

The F-111D, F-111E and F-111F are variants of what has become a highly specialised long-range strike aircraft ideal as a counter to the Soviet Sukhoi Su-24 and as a means of hitting targets in eastern Europe from the British Isles. These variants are located respectively at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Lakenheath, England. Production amounted to 96 F-111D, 94 F-111Es and 106 F-111Fs.

The F-111H was a proposed strategic bomber once perceived as an ideal interim step for the 1980s when it appeared that the Rockwell B-1 had been cancelled. The F-111K was the intended version for the UK's Royal Air Force. Neither was built, and total production amounted to 562 airplanes.

The F-111 crew sits side-by-side, the pilot (aircraft commander) routinely referring to his weapons systems officer as a YOT ('you over there'). Both are enclosed in a capsule which separates from the aircraft in an emergency, a proven escape system which obviates the need for ejection seats. When F-111s returned to North Vietnam in 1972, this two-man, terrain-hugging attack system proved eminently successful, a success repeated during the 1986 raid on Tripoli by F-111Fs flying from RAF Lakenheath. F-111s will remain part of the NATO commitment for years to come, though some will be replaced around 1990 by the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Eagle.

General Dynamics F-111

 ENGINE2 x P+W TF-30-P-3, 82.3kN
    Take-off weight41500 kg91492 lb
    Empty weight20943 kg46172 lb
    Wingspan9.7-19.2 m32 ft 10 in - 63 ft 0 in
    Length22.4 m74 ft 6 in
    Height5.2 m17 ft 1 in
    Max. speed2650 km/h1647 mph
    Ceiling18000 m59050 ft
    Range w/max.fuel5100 km3169 miles

General Dynamics F-111A three-view drawing (1000 x 688)

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100
Mac mcintire, 26.04.2014

79 tiger tiger 81-84 fws det -2 instructor 1985-87 55th 1987-1992. Dessert shield/storm. Miss it and England. Got hurt flying f16

John Furney, 29.03.2014

anyone out there from 474th 1967 to 1971 4527th, 4481st,428th, and 430th, I was a crew chief on several planes, love to hear from you guys. 702-468-9654

James Francisco, 15.01.2014

I was an instrument/autopilot tech on the F111D at Cannon AFB from 71 to 74. I never understood the bad reputation this airplane had. I thought it was and still is an amazing airplane. Its AFCS was very high tech. I don't think that some of the pilots fully understood its capabilities. I was an instructor at Chanute from 74-77 and an FTD instructor at Mountain Home I'd from 77-80.

Al Quattrin, 24.10.2013

was crew chief on 71-0887 f-111f at mountain home 1973-1975 was a great flyer was lucky enough to fly a 3 hour mission in it , will never forget !

william smith, 03.10.2013

I was f 111 general foreman for ppg(Pittsburgh plate glass)in Creighton pa. we developed special glass for windshields and canopies. all new technologies for these parts.cost per panel was $20,000.lots more info available.oct,3,2013

John Furney, 03.10.2013

Crew Chief, Nellis 1968-1971, 4527th Bat Sqd. 428th and the 430th. like to hear from the old crew. NCOIC: Gibson and Reuse.

Jim Connor AKA cookie, 01.09.2013

Worked as a crew chief on F-111 A, E, D models at Cannon AFB from Sept.1969 thru Feb.1973...

Dean Kraus, 04.08.2013

I was with F-111's ~ Nellis ~ Takhli ~ Upper Heyford.
SSGT Dean Kraus ARS AFSC 32672A

john panik, 22.05.2013

my base was mt home 1980-1984 i'm trying to find col.colman our wing comander for the 366tfw i was in the amu 389th trying to get an f111a from the boneyard and brought down to florida....any info would be great.
great bird.

james, 21.04.2013

Our men will always rule the skies

Dave Richardson, 25.03.2013

The RAAF is about to place retired RAAF F-111C A8-109 on display. I'm trying to find out if A8-109 (which originally flew with the USAF as F-111A 67-109) could be the highest time F-111 in the world at 7946 airframe hours. Any USAF F-111 folk able to provide authoritative data which would beat that?

Russell Burge, 15.02.2013

Went to Nellis out of tech school 1969 Was discharged April 1973 Went TDY to Tahkli Sept 72-Mar. 73 Airframe repair shop 474FMS.

Randy Nelson, 09.02.2013

Worked with General Dynamics, Fort Worth Division during entire production of the F111. Responsible for Avionics Systems on the Flight Line, and was "Up Front and Personal" with the aircraft for five years. Only have good things to say about its performance.

James walker, 17.11.2012

I was crew chief of the f-111a tail no. 022 and 024. Both of these aircraft was lost and their crews, four fine men, died in service to their country. It was a sad experience for me and all of us in Combat Lancer and the 428TFS in Takhli, thailand. 1968

Lester Hahn, MSgt. Ret., 01.10.2012

I was assigned to the 474th Field Maintenance Squadron Electric Shop at Nellis AFB. Went to school on the F-111 and then reassigned to the 20th FMS at RAF Upper Heyford, England, with the F-111E Aircraft. Felt proud to have worked on the F-111 Aircraft from 1971 to 1975. I remember a lot of great guys I worked with like Sgt. Sellers, Sgt. Call, Sgt. Thompson, Major Andersen, Sgt. Williams. and many others.

Carl Droste, 18.09.2012

I am preparing a presentation on the F-111 and would like to know the total flight hours for the F-111 over its entire life. Even a wild guess would be a help.

Mark Z, 14.07.2012

I was a Security Policeman at Nellis from July 77-Jan 79. Love watching the 111's fly and was sad when they transferred the squadron to Mt. Home. One of the things I really liked was the main landing gear when parked made a perfect concealed chaise lounge for my occasional naps on those balmy summer nights in Vegas!

Jim Robilotta, 12.07.2012

I am building a 1/48 model of the Vark dressed in 48st TFS 27 TFW, circa 1971 colors. My father was with the 481st as they brought the 111's on line so this model is to represent one of those. I need help in using an accurate tail number. I would appreciate any guidance and/or photos as there are none on the internet. Jim Falls, weren't you one of the young pilots, along with Paul Johnson, in the squadron back then?

Gary Knoll, 05.07.2012

I was stationed at Nellis from Jan 70 to Jan 74. I was a crew chief with the 428th tfs on the bluetail 111's. Went to Takhli in sep 72 and was crew chief on the yellow tails 67072 up thru 67078. I remember major Ward who did not come back the night of the Christmas bombings Dec 18 1972. I also remember you Proffitt, and Eddie Nunn. Send email.

Sean Donahue, 21.06.2012

Electric Fox? We always called the EF the Sparkvark......

F-111F's....492nd TFS, RAF Lakenheath 87-89 BOLARS!!!

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