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Author Topic: F-111  (Read 18668 times)

Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: F-111
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 07:40:16 PM »
I can believe the F-14 maintenance hours. I don't know if it was a Navy thing or what, but whenever we had excercises with the Tomcat guys, those planes were RAGGED. We had a lot of pride in our aircraft to the point where any downtime was spent cleaning and polishing even repainting items as need be. Every Tomcat I've seen up close looked like shit. They were always dirty and grimey and had hydraulic fluid leaks and fuel leaks and brake dust on the rims, etc. I love F-14s but they just looked like they were never cared for that well. Our jets would fly about 3-4 times a week, 3-4 hour sorties, so I'd say our maintenance time was less than 40 hours per flight hour. Our jets were in pretty good shape when retired (most only had about 5500 hrs on them). Remember, Australia bought a couple dozen of our 'G' models and flew them for several more years. They also had an excellent Safety record with one of the lowest loss totals. We had a billion dollar Avionics Modernization Program in the late 80s/early 90s that really improved MTBR (Mean Time Between Repairs).
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Re: F-111
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 05:57:56 PM »
I was thinking about the design and age of the engines, mechanical, electrical stuff. You are right, I forgot about the different operating conditions between the services. For the F-14, deck landings, catapult launches and exposure to salt water spray all the time.

5500 hrs, what was their life expectancy? You mention the G models, they got 15, only 7 were in service at any one time, they were not intended as operational aircraft and served only to reduce the flying hours on the C models, which were planned to soldier on till 2020. Last G model was retired in 2007. Nevertheless, job well done for the G model.

I suppose you also refer to the G model on the satefy record. The Australians lost four F-111Cs earlier before upgrading them under their own Avionics Upgrade Program, similar to the AMP.

With all respect the age of the jets, their amazing capabilities, and the 111 community in Australia, I still think the retirement in favor of the Super Hornet / F-35 is the right decision. And as I said before, especially the Super Hornet interim solution is a good decision, and we can expect much from it as we know from the USN experiences and the Block II improvements. Not only will it do a much better job in today's wars, it also fills the fighter gap until the F-35 arrives. Dr. Carlo Kopp is in love with the F-111 and wants F-22s, can't blame him for that, but it's not happening is it.
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Offline valkyrian

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Re: F-111
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2009, 10:16:44 PM »
I think that the SH vs F-111 is an unfair comparison for both types. No one expects the air to air potential of the F-111 to much that of the F/A-18 E/F and ofcourse, the latter lucks the sub strategic range of the -111.

Sinve Australia is a huge country and all the potential threats are far away, i can't see how the S.H. can handle this.

Anyway, after what F-111 C/C has said, it seems that the -111 was a very potential bomber and a remarkable aircraft. Personally i thought it was another big, unmaneuvrable useless monster but now i changed my mind.


Offline BigsWick

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Re: F-111
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2009, 04:32:46 AM »
I grew up a stone's throw away from NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, about 35 minutes from Langley AFB. The F-14 was the local favorite of all of the aircraft we'd see flying every day and, at least where I was, I believe that contributed to the less than sterling reputation that the F-111 got in certain circles. Since the F-111 was rejected by the Navy and the F-14 was selected, many aviation enthusiasts I knew assumed that the F-111 wasn't "any good." This was backed up by the initial failures of the F-111 in Vietnam.

I can remember when I was younger wondering why the Air Force would want a plane the Navy had no use for. Simple: it was much better suited for different missions. As I got older and did more reading I began to understand why the Air Force could use a smallerish (think B-52 or B-1)) long range strike aircraft that could haul a good sized payload at extremely low altitude and deliver it with great accuracy. Sure, the F-111 had some teething problems, but it became a critical part of the US Air Force's strike capabilities and later an excellent ECM/jamming platform. I was sorry when they were retired, and they certainly earned my respect as great planes. Not too bad to look at either!

Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: F-111
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2009, 07:56:15 PM »
All good points guys! Personally I think the F-15E/B-1B package was a more than capable solution to retireing the F-111. The F-15E assumed the deep Strike/Interdiction role and the B-1B assumed the medium-range bombing role. It just makes me feel old to have worked an aircraft that is now retired! :-[ :-[
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 05:45:55 PM by F-111 C/C »
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Re: F-111
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2010, 02:02:29 PM »
Just thought I'd re-activate this old topic, with a little update.

The last F-111 to undergo Deeper Maintenance (R3 servicing) by Boeing Defence Australia was returned to 6 Squadron on Nov 4th, AFM reports. The F-111C will retire at the end of this year. A total of 19 F-111Cs (incl. 3 RF-111Cs) are on strength since this last one returned, but this will decrease as other aircraft come up for major service. The RAAF retains a good F-111 strike capability up to its retirement.
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Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: F-111
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2010, 04:16:46 PM »
As I mentioned before, the Australians have had a greater love for the F-111 than the U.S. ever did (I mean the U.S. never even gave it an official name initially!). Of course, the people who flew and maintained the -111 have always had a genuine love for the -111 too but the rest of the people outside that community were always more critical. Most sensible people could appreciate it's capabilities, but in the U.S., it was never the 'Golden Child' that it was in Australia. Those Aussies love their 'Pig' and I respect and admire them for that. It will truly be missed.
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Re: F-111
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2010, 04:24:12 PM »
I suppose its troubled start is the reason for that. Plus it became a tactical bomber, a category that never gets much love from outside its own community. You can count almost all "early" multi-rolers to that category as well. It's the same for the Tornado, Mirage F1, Su-17/20/22, Su-24, even the A-6/A-7 hardly got out of the shadow of the F-14. Perhaps is even applies to the Hornet. And the MiG-27's success was hardly recognized until the Indians/Sri Lankans started proudly speaking about it. If you want become popular, be a fighter, and then add some bombs later on.
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Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: F-111
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2010, 08:39:54 PM »
Yeah, "Tactical Bomber" or "Fighter-Bomber" just doesn't have the panache that "Fighter plane" got. It wasn't until much later when they began calling them "Strike" aircraft, that they started getting some respect. Sadly, the F-111, arguably one of the greatest "Deep Interdiction, Strike aircraft" ever, was on it's way out when the term "Strike aircraft" came into vogue. Fighter planes will always be the Hollywood stars but as It says in my posts, "Wars are won by carrying the Heavy Iron downtown". :D :D
Wars are won by carrying the 'heavy iron' downtown!

 



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