HISTORY: F111 (was Re: Zen and the Art of Flying Saucer Maintenance)

Mark Grant (mark@unicorn.com)
Sun, 13 Jul 1997 16:13:42 +0000

On Sat, 12 Jul 1997, Michael M. Butler wrote:

> F-111s were developed _by order_ of Macnamara, who *knew* that the
> life cycle costs of a "joint" vehicle *had* to be less.

And it wasn't suited for the bomber role either; the idea being that it
would survive by using terrain-following radar to fly in under the air
defence radar. Lockheed were pushing for fighter and bomber derivatives of
the SR-71 -- flying at 70,000+ feet and Mach 3+ to simply outrun any
defences -- and conducted tests to prove that the YF-12 (the fighter
derivative prototype) could happily cruise along up there blowing F111s
out of the sky as they crawled along at ninety feet. Not to mention that
something like 50% of the F111 bombers stationed in Britain flew
themselves into the ground in training.

Lousy aircraft, like most political designs. Particularly lousy terrain
following radar.


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