The F-111 was designed in an attempt to meet Air Force and Navy requirements for a tactical fighter bomber. It was the first production swing-wing aircraft. The Navy eventually lost interest, but the Air Force received over 400 F-lll’s. These aircraft were eventually converted to the-strike bomber role and flew over 3,000 missions in Vietnam. The FB-111 was conceived when the Air Force was looking for a less expensive substitute for the B-1 penetration bomber and a replacement for the B-58 and early model B-52’s. Also, in the early 1960s, while the Air Force wanted to replace the F-105, the Navy was looking for an air defense fighter ( rather than a fighter bomber ). These conflicting requirements contributed to the problems that arose with both versions (fighter, and fighter bomber) of the F-111 aircraft.

By lengthening the air frame, reinforcing the undercarriage, increasing fuel capacity and adding advance avionics, General Dynamics succeeded in producing a very capable bomber at a third of the cost of the B-1. The FB-lll was also the ultimate in pork barrel politics. Production of the aircraft involved sixteen major subcontractors with 6,073 suppliers in 44 states. The aircraft was a very long range and accurate nuclear capable bomber. Its variable sweep wings allowed it to take off in short distances (3000 feet) and yet maintain low level supersonic flight. The crew sits side by side in the cockpit. In the event of an emergency, the entire crew compartment ejects and can be used as a lifefboat or shelter. F-lll’s flying from British bases took part in the raids against Libya.

Additional information about F-111’s are given below:

TYPE Number Built/Converted Remarks

YF-111A (2) RAF-K to USAF as YF then FB

F-ll1A 159 18 pre-prod & 141 prod.

RF-111A 1(cv) Conv.-A; program canceled

F-111B 7 US Navy shortnose version

F-111C 24 RAAF;-A with FB wings

RF-111C 4(cv) Photo-recon -C for RAAF

F-111D 96 Imp. -E model

F-111E 94 Imp. -A model

F-111F 106 Imp. -D model

F-111G 60(cv) Mod. FB-111A

F-l11K 0 RAF version; 50 canceled

FB-111A 76 Fighter-Bomber; Inc. RAF -K

FB-111H 0 Larger FB version; canceled

EF-lllA 42(cv) Raven; ECM aircraft

Notes:

The 11th F-111A s/n 63-9776 became the RF-111A.

The 13th F-111A s/n 63-9778 was transferred to NASA Dryden in 1973.

The 18th pre-production F-11lA s/n 63-9783 became the FB-111A prototype.

4 F-111C’s were converted to RF-111C’s for RAAF.

One FB-111A crashed during acceptance testing and was never delivered to the USAF.

2 US Navy F-111Bs were under construction when its program was canceled.

Two nearly complete RAF F-111Ks were turned over to the USAF as YF-111A and completed as FB-111A s/n 67-149/150.

RAF F-111Ks under construction (besides the first two) of the 50 ordered were completed as FB-111As.

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the museum’s FB-111A has the following history:

The aircraft at the March Field Museum is an A model, serial number 68-245. It was manufactured by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX, and delivered to the Air Force on 21 September 1970. It served in the locations below:

September 1970 - To 340th Bomb Group, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB, TX.

July 1971 - To Sacramento Air Materiel Area CA

December 1971 - To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

May 1972 - To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB, TX.

May 1972 - To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

May 1972 - To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB, TX.

May 1972 - To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

July 1972 - To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

July 1972 - To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY

August 1972 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, NH.

August 1972 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

September 1972 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, NH.

December 1972 - To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

May 1973 - To Sacramento Air Materiel Area CA

July 1973 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, NH.

October 1973 - To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

October 1973 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, NH.

December 1973 - To 308th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

March 1988 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, NH.

September 1988 - To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

Retired from U.S. Air Force service in 1991 with 5,685 flight hours on the airframe.

Dropped from Air Force inventory in 1991: Loss to other organization.

It made its final flight to March Field Museum in 1991. The exterior was restored with a new paint job in 1998. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.
View in Google Earth Categories: Airplanes - Military - Static Display - Bombers
Links: marchairmuseum.com
By: kjfitz
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