|Location:||National Cold War Exhibition|
Built as a two-seat fighter-bomber to replace the Republic F-105 Thunderchief in United States Air Force service, the first F-111A development aircraft was flown in December 1964, and became the first variable-geometry combat aircraft to enter service, seeing extensive service during the Vietnam War. As well as serving with US forces, 24 of the F-111C variant were produced for the Royal Australian Air Force and delivered from 1973.
As the final ‘Aardvark’ production variant, the F-111F featured improved avionics, including navigational and digital computer systems, improved wing structure and landing gear, and more powerful Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 engines; 106 were built from 1972, and saw much service during the first Gulf war in 1991, being the last operational version in US service. Their main offensive load was Paveway laser-guided bombs, with Sidewinder missiles carried for self defence. ‘Dumb’ (non-guided) ordnance such as cluster weapons and runway-cratering munitions could also be carried.