The F-111 is a
multipurpose tactical fighter bomber capable of supersonic speeds. It can operate
from tree-top level to altitudes above 60,000 feet (18,200 meters).
F-111 has variable-sweep wings that allow the pilot to fly from slow approach
speeds to supersonic velocity at sea level and more than twice the speed of sound
at higher altitudes. Wings angle from 16 degrees (full forward) to 72.5 degrees
(full aft). Full-forward wings give the most surface area and maximum lift for
short takeoff and landing. The F-111 needs no drag chute or reserve thrust to
slow down after landing.
The two crew members sit side-by-side in an air-conditioned,
pressurized cockpit module that serves as an emergency escape vehicle and as a
survival shelter on land or water. In emergencies, both crew members remain in
the cockpit and an explosive cutting cord separates the cockpit module from the
aircraft. The module descends by parachute. The ejected module includes a small
portion of the wing fairing to stabilize it during aircraft separation. Airbags
cushion impact and help keep the module afloat in water. The module can be released
at any speed or altitude, even under water. For underwater escape, the airbags
raise the module to the surface after it has been severed from the plane.
aircraft's wings and much of the fuselage behind the crew module contain fuel
tanks. Using internal fuel only, the plane has a range of more than 2,500 nautical
miles (4,000 kilometers). External fuel tanks can be carried on the pylons under
the wings and jettisoned if necessary.
The F-111 can carry conventional
as well as nuclear weapons. It can carry up to two bombs or additional fuel in
the internal weapons bay. External ordnance includes combinations of bombs, missiles
and fuel tanks. The loads nearest the fuselage on each side pivot as the wings
sweep back, keeping ordnance parallel to the fuselage. Outer pylons do not move
but can be jettisoned for high-speed flight.
The avionics systems include
communications, navigation, terrain following, target acquisition and attack,
and suppression of enemy air defense systems. A radar bombing system is used for
precise delivery of weapons on targets during night or bad weather.
F-111's automatic terrain-following radar system flies the craft at a constant
altitude following the Earth's contours. It allows the aircraft to fly in valleys
and over mountains, day or night, regardless of weather conditions. Should any
of the system's circuits fail, the aircraft automatically initiates a climb.
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 are flown by the 27th Fighter
Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
The E model has modified air intakes to
improve the engine's performance at speeds above Mach 2.2. Most F-111Es serve
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.
The F-111F has 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 have been 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.
F-111G is assigned to the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base and is used
in a training role only. The G model is a converted FB-111A. The conversion made
minor avionics updates and strengthened the aircraft to allow its use in a more
dynamic role as a fighter aircraft.
Function: Multipurpose tactical fighter bomber.
Contractor: General Dynamics
Power Plant: F-111A/E, two Pratt & Whitney TF30-P103 turbofans.
F-111A/E, 18,500 pounds (8,325 kilograms) each with afterburners;
19,600 pounds (8,820 kilograms) with afterburners; F-111F, 25,000 pounds (11,250
kilograms) with afterburners.
Length: 73 feet, 6 inches (22.0 meters).
17 feet, 1 1/2 inches (5.13 meters).
Wingspan: 63 feet (19 meters) full
forward; 31 feet, 11 1/2 inches (11.9 meters) full aft.
Speed: F-111F --
Mach 1.2 at sea level; Mach 2.5 at 60,000 feet.
Ceiling: 60,000-plus feet
Range: 3,565 miles (3,100 nautical miles) with external
Weight: F-111F, empty 47,481 pounds (21,367 kilograms).
Takeoff Weight: F-111F, 100,000 pounds (45,000 kilograms).
to four nuclear bombs on four pivoting wing pylons, and two in internal weapons
bay. Wing pylons carry total external load of 25,000 pounds (11,250 kilograms)
of bombs, rockets, missiles, or fuel tanks.
Unit cost: $18 million.
Two, pilot and weapon systems officer.
Date Deployed: October 1967.
Active force, 225; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0.
Point of Contact
Combat Command; Public Affairs Office; 115 Thompson St, Ste 211; Langley AFB,
VA 23665; DSN 574-5007, (804) 674-7007.
TO: USAF FIGHTERS
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