The Ultimate Fighter Jet Shows Us What It Can Do
Pigs really do fly. At least as far as this is concerned they do. Yet our pigs go by another name. This Military Machine is commonly known as F111 fighter jets. Airmen refer to them as pigs because they are durable and stubborn. Even at that though, they served the United States Air Force for a little more than 30 years. They also made a showing with the Royal Australian Air Force for a little more than a decade or so. Why? Keep reading.
Superior Handling Sets the F111 Apart
These military aircraft are artful to say the least. For all of its mass and stubbornness, the F111 handles pretty well. In fact, if you had your choice, you would probably choose to train with it as a pilot rather than something like a Cessna flight training school. There is certainly more to contend with as far as instrumentation, but flying with a joystick beats Cessna controls any day.
Designed and produced by General Dynamics, the F111 Aardvark served as a strategic bomber, electronic water aircraft and recon plane throughout its lifespan. Its sweep wing design is echoed in the F22 Raptors made by Lockheed Martin, and many of its state of the art technological controls form the 60s are now deemed commonplace. (more…)
However, the most fascinating part of the story is why it was developed in the first place. If you were a true child of the sixties you may not remember it, depending on how activ
Creating the F111 Aardvark: Stranger Than Fiction
However, the most fascinating part of the story is why it was developed in the first place. If you were a true child of the sixties you may not remember it, depending on how active you were with Woodstock.
For the rest of the sober population though, there was an incident that occurred in May of 1960. One of our CIA spy planes was shot down over Russia. In fact, is was shot down BY Russia. Needless to say the United States government was outraged and stunned. There is no way we were going to stand for something like this.
Plans went back to the drawing table. Originally there were plans to send a high altitude aircraft into the USSR for recon. The incident was a wake up call. Nothing was out of reach. With a little help from NASA, the F111 Aardvark was created. The development made the US government aware of the fact that variable geometric wings, or swing wings as they are more commonly known, did wonders for an aircraft.
For starters, it let them take off and land on much shorter airstrips. This would be critical for combat situations. The new design also made for much greater maneuverability, aircrafts that could reach higher speeds with greater payload capacity. Now we were on to something! The ironic part of this development is that the US Navy tried to design geometric wings for jet fighters but abandoned the idea in the 50s. The last brain child they came up with was the XF10F Jaguar. It was the direct input and intel received from NASA that made the new design possible. The result was the F111 Aardvark.
Now, we could tear up the skies, flying armed and ready, with not a care in the world. If Russia were to try another hit, it would be their last. General Dynamics teamed up with Grumman for assembly and testing. The turbojet engines were made by aerospace mainstay Pratt & Whitney. Four years after the incident with Russia, the F111 Aardvark made its debut. It rolled off the assembly line complete and ready to go. Also see this list for the largest defense contractors.
The Specs are Impressive
It was designed to be all weather, meaning it could fly in some pretty adverse circumstances. Storms were not a problem, so long as you were not flying into a hurricane or something similar. Another handy feature? The side by side front cockpit. This still made space for a third passenger in the rear cockpit, while providing certain navigational advantages due to the dual seating up front. What, you thought the dual cockpit was a private jet hire thing? Hardly. It was designed to give eyes and ears where they were needed in combat. It also featured three point landing gear and wings with an adjustable sweep pattern.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect? Its payload capacity. The pig featured an internal bay specifically designed for holding weapons. Need to cram in a cannon at the last minute? No problem. While you are at it, stuff it with two 750lb bombs and a few auxiliary fuel tanks. It could also carry an AN-AVQ 26 Pave tack… just in case you need more ammo.
Because of the adjustable wings, undermounting weaponry was tricky. As a result, they built up the shoulders of the plane and gave it the capacity to launch a few air to air missiles, as well as a few more on board goodies. That is why the F111 Aardvark, or Pig, was such a mainstay for so long. If something needed to be modified, it was fairly easy to do. The adjustable wing sweep definitely gave the plane a tactical advantage, while the weapons bay and shoulder rails made it a force to be reckoned with in the skies. So what do you do when all of the fun is over? Check out the post below for the best dump and burn you will ever see.