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Thread: Royal Air Force F111's

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    Default Royal Air Force F111's

    I have heard that the Royal Air Force had decided to purchase the F111 bomber but at the last minute decided not to get them. Why did the RAF not get the F111 in the end. Any information on this and photo's of F111 in RAF colour patterns and insignia's would be great.

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Cost. The price of the F111K kept on going up and up. There were ongoing issues with the reliability of the USAAF's F111A's. And the British Defence budget was stretched.

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    Member Chauncey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiwi View Post
    Cost. The price of the F111K kept on going up and up. There were ongoing issues with the reliability of the USAAF's F111A's. And the British Defence budget was stretched.
    ...and to add my own question to the mix - was this well before or around the same time that the RAF decided to acquire the Tornado?

    Despite their performance differences, they filled bascially the same role didn't they?

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    Senior Member Chiptox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiwi View Post
    Cost. The price of the F111K kept on going up and up. There were ongoing issues with the reliability of the USAAF's F111A's. And the British Defence budget was stretched.
    Yup. It had a "troubled development". Cutting edge technology costs time and money and for the RAF it wasn't worth the price. The course of development discarding the air-to-air role and the F-111 becoming a dedicated strike platform (in spite of it's "F" prefix) had something to do with it too.

    The Aussies stuck it out and got a very good (but expensive) strike aircraft. The US and Iran were the real winners in the deal because they got to benefit from the F-111 in it's more refined air-superiority/interceptor development, the F-14.

    The UK really wanted a land-based proto-F-14 to keep troublemakers away from their islands. Not the F-111.

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    Senior Member Chiptox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey View Post
    ...and to add my own question to the mix - was this well before or around the same time that the RAF decided to acquire the Tornado?

    Despite their performance differences, they filled bascially the same role didn't they?
    No. When it became apparent the F-111 wasn't going to be an interceptor they bailed. The UK then looked first for an interim aircraft for the purpose (the RR-engined F-4) then developed the Tornado variant.

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiptox View Post
    ...

    The UK really wanted a land-based proto-F-14 to keep troublemakers away from their islands. Not the F-111.
    Not sure about that. My understanding was that the F111K was an alternative to the abandoned TSR2 which was a strike aircraft, not a fighter.

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    Senior Member Elbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiwi View Post
    There were ongoing issues with the reliability of the USAAF's F111A's. And the British Defence budget was stretched.
    Which is somewhat ironic since the F-111 ended up being by far one of the safest supersonic jets to ever serve with the US. The FB-111 had the best flight safety record of any nuclear bomber until the B-2 entered combat service.

    To put it into perspective: when it entered service in the late 1960s, it quickly became the safest combat aircraft in the USAF. It could carry more weapons, of a wider variety, and carry them further out and deliver them faster at low level, in any weather, with greater precision than any TAC aircraft in service. It required less maintenance than any other combat jet, had the fastest alert reaction times, had great availability, goodt EW capability, and with Pave Tack, it was an outstanding PGM bomber. Almost twenty years before Tornado entered service, and as a long range hitter only really surpassed by the F-15E.

    The F-111 is one of the most unfairly maligned aircraft ever built. Most of the criticism stems from simple ignorance and common myths. Without a doubt the main culprits of the -111's bad rep are the TF30 engine (paid the price for being the 1st) and Mother****ing McNamara.
    Last edited by Elbs; 02-19-2012 at 02:05 AM.

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    Senior Member Chiptox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiwi View Post
    Not sure about that. My understanding was that the F111K was an alternative to the abandoned TSR2 which was a strike aircraft, not a fighter.
    But the UK already learned that lesson. The TSR2 was cancelled because it cost too much for the limited role. The F-111K expired, however, at just about the same time the F-111B naval interceptor version did. I suspect that it was because the MoD knew there would be no alternative developments of the platform by the US and they would be investing in nothing but a strike aircraft.

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    Senior Member G-AWZT's Avatar
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    It would've been something to have seen RAF F-111K GR1 "Merlin" flying with No 15 and 7th Sqadrons.

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elbs View Post
    Which is somewhat ironic since the F-111 ended up being by far one of the safest supersonic jets to ever serve with the US. The FB-111 had the best flight safety record of any nuclear bomber until the B-2 entered combat service.

    To put it into perspective: when it entered service in the late 1960s, it quickly became the safest combat aircraft in the USAF. It could carry more weapons, of a wider variety, and carry them further out and deliver them faster at low level, in any weather, with greater precision than any TAC aircraft in service. It required less maintenance than any other combat jet, had the fastest alert reaction times, had great availability, goodt EW capability, and with Pave Tack, it was an outstanding PGM bomber. Almost twenty years before Tornado entered service, and as a long range hitter only really surpassed by the F-15E.

    The F-111 is one of the most unfairly maligned aircraft ever built. Most of the criticism stems from simple ignorance and common myths. Without a doubt the main culprits of the -111's bad rep are the TF30 engine (paid the price for being the 1st) and Mother****ing McNamara.
    It did indeed develop into an excellent strike aircraft. However at the time of the British cancellation, it was still resolving the issues it had with various components. The Australian's delayed acceptance of theirs until 1973 to allow the USAF to get all the bugs ironed out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiptox View Post
    But the UK already learned that lesson. The TSR2 was cancelled because it cost too much for the limited role. The F-111K expired, however, at just about the same time the F-111B naval interceptor version did. I suspect that it was because the MoD knew there would be no alternative developments of the platform by the US and they would be investing in nothing but a strike aircraft.
    The British ordered it as a strike aircraft. Air defence of the UK was being taken care of by the Lightnings and the Bloodhound SAM system (and the RN's surplus Phantoms).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiptox View Post
    But the UK already learned that lesson. The TSR2 was cancelled because it cost too much for the limited role. The F-111K expired, however, at just about the same time the F-111B naval interceptor version did. I suspect that it was because the MoD knew there would be no alternative developments of the platform by the US and they would be investing in nothing but a strike aircraft.
    The F-111K was a direct replacement for the cancelled TSR2. Nothing more. There was never any F-111B / air defense mission considered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elbs View Post
    Which is somewhat ironic since the F-111 ended up being by far one of the safest supersonic jets to ever serve with the US. The FB-111 had the best flight safety record of any nuclear bomber until the B-2 entered combat service.

    To put it into perspective: when it entered service in the late 1960s, it quickly became the safest combat aircraft in the USAF. It could carry more weapons, of a wider variety, and carry them further out and deliver them faster at low level, in any weather, with greater precision than any TAC aircraft in service. It required less maintenance than any other combat jet, had the fastest alert reaction times, had great availability, goodt EW capability, and with Pave Tack, it was an outstanding PGM bomber. Almost twenty years before Tornado entered service, and as a long range hitter only really surpassed by the F-15E.

    The F-111 is one of the most unfairly maligned aircraft ever built. Most of the criticism stems from simple ignorance and common myths. Without a doubt the main culprits of the -111's bad rep are the TF30 engine (paid the price for being the 1st) and Mother****ing McNamara.
    The F-111F had the most powerful TF30s of all users at 25k lbs thrust but they'd planned for versions of the TF30 up to 30k. Could have been interesting. I also liked the FB-111H, and thought it would have been an excellent addition to the force, but not as a substitute for the B-1B. (But I REALLY wish Republic had won the TFX competition dammit. )

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    The F-111 was overweight (well who isn't). For a swing wing aircraft, it wasn't a hangar queen compared to its son, the F-14.

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    How's that Hopey Changey thing workin'? C.Puffs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdiver_2000 View Post
    The F-111 was overweight (well who isn't). For a swing wing aircraft, it wasn't a hangar queen compared to its son, the F-14.
    It wasn't overweight for the strike mission, and did just fine.

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    Member Marsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Puffs View Post
    The F-111K was a direct replacement for the cancelled TSR2. Nothing more. There was never any F-111B / air defense mission considered.
    You and TheKiwi are spot on. The UK wanted the F-111 as a cheaper alternative to the TSR2 for strike and recce missions. Absolutely nothing to do with air defence missions. We ended up with Buccaneer and then Tornado.


    Cheers
    Marsh

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