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

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 17 Jul 1997 18:54:24 -0400

Mark Grant wrote:
> Michael Lorrey ( 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.

People say that 25% accuracy is a crappy result. BS. Considering that
infantry shoots an average of 9000 rounds to kill one enemy soldier,
artillery tosses an average of 50 rounds to nail one tank, etc....a
25-50% success rate is highly surgical by military standards.

> > 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).

I'd like to find out more on this radar. This is the first I've heard of
it. I'd also like to see the cost projections. There is more to combat
than whose got a better plane, but whose got a better, cheaper plane. A
study was done by Northrup showing that 2.5 F-5s could outfly an F-15,
and since 2.5 F-5's were somehting like 60% of the cost of an F-15, they
reasoned that the F-5 was a better buy. THis is why so many developing
nations bought F-5s in the 70s and 80s.

> > 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) ?

Eastern NM was quite flat, but central and northern NM is quite hilly
and mountainous, far in excess of Britain or Germany. Additionally, the
high quantities of private guns was another concern. Many farmers hate
the Ardvaaark because it scares the shit out of their cows and dumps
fuel on their pastures, which poisons the cows, so they tend to shoot at
the F-111 rather frequently. Repairing bullet holes in the belly of the
F-111 was one of the more frequent jobs that the sheetmetal boys had at

What seems like easy rolling hills at higways speeds is really rough
terrain at 450 knots. Also, don't forget that NM terrain is on an
entirely different scale than England. That hill you think is a quarter
mile aways is actually a mountain a couple miles away.

> > That happens to consistently win awards at Red Flag bombing exercises.
> Doesn't matter if it can be shot down before it gets there.

True, thats why the EF-111 was developed. Its great as a mission escort.

> > 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.

I haven't played that game, so I'm not sure if its sophisticated enough
to show that.

			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]}