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

Mark Grant (mark@unicorn.com)
Thu, 17 Jul 1997 10:40:40 +0100 (BST)

Michael Lorrey (retroman@tpk.net) wrote:

> 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.

Have you read the latest reports on the success rate of laser-guided bombs
in the Gulf? Doesn't make good reading. Wish I hadn't mislaid the
newspaper article I cut out or I'd give you figures.

> 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.

Maybe the soviets didn't, but Lockheed demonstrated it with the YF12 in
the sixties. They could cruise along at Mach 3 at 70,000 feet and kill
target drones flying at ninety feet. That the Air Force chose not to
continue developing the technology probably has more to do with politics
than engineering (i.e. they're not going to develop technology which
makes the F111 obsolete).

> 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
> malfunctions.

Didn't work very well in England. Presumably it wasn't well tested for
European terrain (from what I remember of my one brief visit New Mexico
was mostly flat with the odd mountain) ?

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

Doesn't matter if it can be shot down before it gets there.

> 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.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if it works in Strike
Commander... could do with some help against those damn Tornados.