F-111 Aardvark. General Dynamics supersonic, medium-range, multirole combat aircraft.

F-111 Aardvark. General Dynamics supersonic, medium-range, multirole combat aircraft.

The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark is a retired supersonic, medium-range, multirole combat aircraft. Production variants of the F-111 had roles that included ground attack (e.g. interdiction), strategic bombing (including nuclear weapons capabilities), reconnaissance and electronic warfare. Developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics, the F-111 entered service in 1967 with the United States Air Force (USAF). The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also ordered the type and began operating the F-111C variant in 1973.

The F-111 pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight. Its design influenced later variable-sweep wing aircraft, and some of its advanced features have since become commonplace. The F-111 suffered a variety of problems during initial development.
A fighter variant, the F-111B, was not accepted for production. The F-111B was intended to perform aircraft carrier-based roles with the US Navy, including long-range interception.

USAF F-111s were retired during the 1990s with the F-111Fs in 1996 and EF-111s in 1998. The F-111 was replaced in USAF service by the F-15E Strike Eagle for medium-range precision strike missions, while the supersonic bomber role has been assumed by the B-1B Lancer.

The name Aardvark was derived from perceived similarities of the aircraft to the animal of the same name: a long nose and low-level, terrain-following capabilities.
The May 1960 U-2 incident, in which an American CIA U-2 reconnaissance plane was shot down over the USSR, stunned the United States government. Besides greatly damaging US–Soviet relations, the incident showed that the Soviet Union had developed a surface-to-air missile that could reach aircraft above 60,000 feet (18,000 meters).
By 1960, SAC had begun moving to low-level penetration, which greatly reduced radar detection distances. At the time, SAMs were ineffective against low-flying aircraft, and interceptor aircraft had less of a speed advantage at low altitudes. The Air Force’s Tactical Air Command (TAC) was largely concerned with the fighter-bomber and deep strike/interdiction roles. TAC was in the process of receiving its latest design, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, which was designed to deliver nuclear weapons fast and far, but required long runways. A simpler variable geometry wing configuration with the pivot points farther out from the aircraft’s centerline was reported by NASA in 1958, which made swing-wings viable. This led Air Force leaders to encourage its use. In June 1960, the USAF issued specification SOR 183 for a long-range interdiction/strike aircraft able to penetrate Soviet air defenses at very low altitudes and high speeds. The specification also called for the aircraft to operate from short, unprepared airstrips.

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 73 ft 6 in (22.40 m)
Wingspan: 63 ft (19 m)
Swept wingspan: 32 ft (9.8 m) swept
Height: 17 ft 1.5 in (5.220 m)
Wing area: 657.4 sq ft (61.07 m2) spread, 525 sq ft (48.8 m2) swept
Aspect ratio: 7.56 spread
1.95 swept
Airfoil: root: NACA 64-210.68; tip: NACA 64-209.80
Empty weight: 47,200 lb (21,410 kg)
Gross weight: 82,800 lb (37,557 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 100,000 lb (45,359 kg)
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0186
Zero-lift drag coefficient area: 9.36 sq ft (0.87 m2)
Aspect ratio: spread:
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 afterburning turbofan engines, 17,900 lbf (80 kN) thrust each dry, 25,100 lbf (112 kN) with afterburner

Maximum speed: 1,434 kn (1,650 mph, 2,656 km/h) at altitude
795 kn (915 mph; 1,472 km/h) / Mach 1.2 at sea level
Maximum speed: Mach 2.5
Range: 3,210 nmi (3,690 mi, 5,940 km)
Ferry range: 3,210 nmi (3,690 mi, 5,940 km) with external drop tanks
Service ceiling: 66,000 ft (20,000 m)
g limits: +7.33
Rate of climb: 25,890 ft/min (131.5 m/s)
Wing loading: 126 lb/sq ft (620 kg/m2) spread
158 lb/sq ft (771 kg/m2) wings swept
Thrust/weight: 0.61
Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon in weapons bay (seldom fitted)
Hardpoints: 9 in total (8× under-wing, 1× under-fuselage between engines) plus 2 attach points in weapons bay with a capacity of 31,500 lb (14,300 kg), with provisions to carry combinations of:
AGM-69 SRAM thermonuclear air-to-surface missile (FB-111A only)
AGM-130 stand-off bomb
Free-fall general-purpose bombs including Mk 82 (500 lb/227 kg), Mk 83 (1,000 lb/454 kg), Mk 84 (2,000 lb/907 kg), and Mk 117 (750 lb/340 kg)
Cluster bombs
BLU-109 (2,000 lb/907 kg) hardened penetration bomb
Paveway laser-guided bombs, including 2,000 lb (907 kg) GBU-10, 500 lb (227 kg) GBU-12, and 4,800 lb (2,200 kg) GBU-28 penetration bomb
BLU-107 Durandal runway-cratering bomb
GBU-15 electro-optical bomb
B61 or B43 nuclear bombs

#F111 #short #combataircraft


F-111 Aardvark. General Dynamics supersonic, medium-range, multirole combat aircraft.
F-111 Aardvark. General Dynamics supersonic, medium-range, multirole combat aircraft.

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