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

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 22:16:09 -0400

Mark Grant wrote:
> 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.

Was an excellent tactic to penetrate hilly central and eastern europe to
attack Soviet columns that would be expected in a blitzkreig attack
outnumbering NATO by 20 to 1. The laser bombs carried by the FB were
developed to take out our own bridges, which were precisely surveyed, to
slow and impede a Soviet advance.

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.

As I recall, lookdown shootdown radar was not developed till the 80's,
and the computing power to clean out the gound noise to spot a guy at 90
feet was decades away. The soviets did not have this capability till the
late 80's with their Mig-31.

Also, outside of losses in Vietnam, F-111's lost less than 10% attrition
over 20 years. WHile I was stationed in NM, we lost one plane (out of
over 60), and that was a hydraulic failure, not a TFR failure. The TFR
has a failsafe where it puts the plane into a steep climb out if it

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

That happens to consistently win awards at Red Flag bombing exercises.

The only real things that sucked about it from an air combat point of
view was it size and its damn swing wings. With so little wing area,
proportionately, that there is a high wing loading, and the swing wings,
that are automatically positioned based on the planes kinetic energy
level, its adversary can automatically see which planes are in weak
positions at which points in a dogfight by the position of the
swingwing. This is why when I was working on F-15 Eagles outside of
Tacoma, we consistently beat the hell out of the Navy Top Guns (flying
F-14s) at Miramar in our annual cross service dogfight grudge match.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}