Aircrafts / Fighters / United States / F-111 Aardvark

Number of Engines 2
Total Thrust (kg) 17 640
Length (m) 22.00
Height (m) 5.13
Wingspan (m) 19.00
Top Speed (km/h) 1 432
Ceiling (m) 18 200
Max. Takeoff Weight (kg) 45 000
Range (km) 5 741
Crew 2
Date Deployed 1967
Unit Cost ($) 75 000 000
Overview Variants Gallery

The F-111A first flew in December 1964. The first operational aircraft was delivered in October 1967 to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. A models were used for tactical bombing in Southeast Asia.

Developed for the U.S. Navy, the F-111B was canceled before its production. F-111C's are flown by the Royal Australian Air Force.

The F-111D has improved avionics with better navigation, air-to-air weapon delivery systems, and newer turbofan engines. The F-111D's were flown by the 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

The F-111E model had modified air intakes to improve the engine's performance at speeds above Mach 2.2. Most F-111Es served with the 20th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England, to support NATO. F-111E's were deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and were used in Operation Desert Storm. In the early morning of Jan. 17, 1991, the F-111 went into combat again in the initial bombing raids of Operation Desert Storm. More than 100 F-111 aircraft of different versions joined the first strikes against Iraq both as bombers and radar jammers.

The F-111F had improved turbofan engines give F-111F models 35 percent more thrust than previous F-111A and E engines. The avionics systems of the F model combine features of the F-111D and E. The last F model was delivered to the Air Force in November 1976. The F models were modified to carry the Pave Tack system in their weapons bays. This system provides an improved capability to acquire, track and designate ground targets at night for delivery of laser, infrared and electro-optically guided weapons. The F-111F was proven in combat over Libya in 1986 and again over Iraq in 1991. Although F-111F's flew primarily at night during Operation Desert Storm, aircrews flew a particularly notable daytime mission using the Guided Bomb Unit (GBU-15) to seal the oil pipeline manifold sabotaged by Iraq, allowing the oil to flow into the Persian Gulf.

As a result of the Air Force decision to retire the F-111 weapon system, the 27th Fighter Wing's 74 F-111E/F aircraft began retiring in late 1995 and were replaced with 54 F-16C/D aircraft. All F-111s in the Air Force inventory have been retired to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. The center, popularly know as the boneyard, was home to all the remaining F-111E and F models by October 1996.

Seventy-six were built as FB-111s and saw service with the Strategic Air Command until 1990 when they were converted to F-111Gs and assigned to Tactical Air Command. The F-111G was assigned to the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base and was used in a training role only. The conversion made minor avionics updates and strengthened the aircraft to allow its use in a more dynamic role as a fighter aircraft.

EF-111A Raven
Development of the EF-111A Raven began in January 1975 when the Air Force contracted with Grumman Aerospace to modify two F-111As to serve as electronic warfare platforms. The F-111”s high speed, long range, substantial payload and reasonable cost made it the ideal candidate to protect allied tactical forces against enemy radar defenses.

When converting the aircraft to its new electronic warfare role, the primary modification was the ALQ-99 jamming system, N/ALQ-137 self-protection system, and an AN/ALR-62 terminal threat warning system. To accommodate the 6,000 pounds of new electronics, Grumman added a narrow, 16-foot long canoe-shaped radome under the fuselage and a din-tip pod mounted on top of the vertical stabilizer.

Grumman’s EF-111A prototypes staged their first flights in 1977. After two years of testing the Air Force gave the contractor the go-ahead to convert 42 F-111As into the EF-111 configuration. The modifications cost approximately $25 million per aircraft, and the total cost of the program was $1.5 billion. The first production EF-111 was delivered to the 388th Tactical Electronic Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, in November 1981 and the aircraft became fully operational in 1983.

The Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) included the installation of 10 new subsystems including a doppler radar and internal navigation system. The modification, installed in all 42 EF-111s, was completed in 1994. Prompted by a series of crashes attributable to the failure of the F-111’s original analog flight control system, the installation of Digital Flight Control System begann in 1990 and was completed in 1997.

The last squadron of EF-111s remaining in service, at Cannon AFB, NM, peformed the Suppression of Enemy Air Defense [SEAD] mission. DOD decided to retire the EF-111A jammer and replace it with a new Air Force system, the high speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) targeting system on the F-16C, and the existing Navy electronic warfare aircraft, the EA-6B. Recognizing that too few EA-6B aircraft may be available to meet both Air Force and Navy needs, DOD retained these 12 EF-111s in the active inventory through 1998, when additional upgraded EA-6Bs became available.

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