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Just how bad was the F-111?

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Skua, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    Inspired by the TRS.2 thread.

    There seems to be some consensus around about the performance of the F-111 as less than desireable. And it's no secret that the aircraft came of to a bad start when first deployed to Vietnam. But when deployed for the second time to Vietnam the F-111 flew 4000 missions for the loss of 8 aircraft, 6 combat losses and 2 operational losses, which has been claimed to make the F-111 the most survivable aircraft of the war. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    Well my first thought is that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. :p

    That stat is kind of meaningless unless you know whether the aircraft were flying the same missions, into the same level of opposition, with the same level of back up.

    That's my two cents since I wouldn't know an F111 if I fell over it.
     
  3. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    True, but it was statistics that made the F-111 look bad in the first place too.

    I'm not sure how dangerous the missions the F-111 flew were compared with other aircraft, but they broke new ground in high speed low level flying using terrain following radar which was a lot more dangerous back then than it is now. Though the F-111s ability to operate at high speed below radar level did, when everything went smoothly, add to the safety of the aircraft, this ability was the main atribute of the aircraft itself and should not be taken into consideration when comparing it to other aircraft.
     
  4. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    Let me find those lies...eh i mean statistics :eek:


    The F-111 has served in a number of combat operations during the past thirty-five years. In that time, there have been 13 losses, only one of which being a confirmed shoot-down. The remainder of the losses were mid-air collisions, flight into terrain, or unknown. There are 13 aircrew who remain missing, presumed killed in action.

    http://www.f-111.net/combat/index.htm

    However, after a prolonged gestation period in which many, many problems had to be identified and fixed, the F-111 turned out to be one of the most effective all-weather interdiction aircraft in the world. Although vilified by some as being an unsafe and dangerous plane, the F-111 series of combat aircraft established the best safety record of any of the aircraft in the Century Series of fighters --- only 77 aircraft being lost in a million flying hours. There is no other aircraft in service with the USAF which can carry out the F-111's mission of precise air strikes over such long ranges in all-weather conditions. It is still in service with the USAF today, and should remain in service at least until the year 2010.

    http://www.f-111.net/JoeBaugher.htm

    However iirc all F-111's of the USAF are already retired (1996?).
     
  5. JCalhoun

    JCalhoun New Member

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    I pretty sure the USAF retired the F-111 from the fighter bomber role. There may still be some in other specialized roles though.
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    From what I have read, once the initial kinks were ironed out it was a damn good aeroplane.
     
  7. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    It was in use until Desert Storm at least.It couldn't have been too bad.
     
  8. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Such negativity...
    This thread should have been titled:
    "How GOOD was the F-111?"

    It was a very complex, first-generation, swing-wing weapons system.
    The F-111 was "de-bugged" in combat over Vietnam, and ultimately performed quite well.
    MiG 23 also utilized a swing-wing concept, and was heavily influenced by the F-111. They (Russians) must have also felt there was value in the complex engineering of the swing-wing concept.
    The MiG was of course much lighter, single-engined, and more a pure fighter than the F-111, but the USA insisted on "fighter-bombers" and night interdiction/all-weather bombing was the mission where the F-111 shined.
    I recall a woman at work telling me--some years back--her son was flying F-111s out of a base in England. She was quite proud of the fact her son was flying those homely "Aardvarks."

    Tim
     
  9. Hubsu

    Hubsu New Member

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    But the time ran over the plane. At the time of GW1, the missions that the F-111s were flying was also flown by planes that could do the same thing for a lot of less money and better. When you do a lot less with a lot more money, the decision was clear: AMARC the F-111s go.
     
  10. Robinson phpbb3

    Robinson phpbb3 New Member

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    I think the F - 111 after alot of money and research matured into a fine machine. You do read alot about it, and its failings atleast these days, are forgotten by many.

    It was the plane that did alot of damage in Libya flying direct from the UK. During Panama and the first Gulf War it flew sound and solid missions. I think as a late 20th century interdictor and in its Raven form could not be matched.

    I think on the modern battlefield for certain mission profiles it is still a capable air craft.

    We still operate F-111 that are modified here in Australia and up until our regional neighbours bought Mig -29 and Su-27s it was a capable fighter bomber and fared well in war games with our neighbours. Now it is out classed.
    Having said that I have read reports that Malaysian Mig 29's have out classed and downed sevral of our Hornetts as well...which is scarey.

    Meanwhile like the F-111 30 years prior the RAAF is waiting for another 'ultimate fighter; in the F-35 which like the F-111 has so many promises and costs so much....it is with some irony that the F-111 is filling the gap for the F-35 much the same way that the loaned F-4's did here and the Bucaneer and F-4s did in the RAF all those years ago. How history repeats.
     

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