Let's take a look at the F-111B, shall we?
Yes let's. And in so-doing make things a more balanced with facts and figures rather than 'somebody you don't know says so, in an online
The F-111B was already in trouble since it was seriously overweight. Takeoff weight for a fully-equipped aircraft was estimated at nearly 78,000
pounds, well over the upper limit of 55,000 pounds as required by the Navy.
Actually the agreed on recovery weight was 62,000lbs. This 'agreement' was before the N1 package of improvements were approved which themselves
resulted in at least 4,500lbs of weight gain.
The problems with the overweight F-111B were so severe that General Dynamics and Grumman were forced into a Super Weight Improvement Program (SWIP),
most of the changes being incorporated into the fourth and subsequent F-111Bs.
In 1964, 'in full cognizance of the numbers' (cut metal), Navy Secretary Paul Nitze was specifically asked by Congressional committee AND Robert
McNamara whether the N1 package would result in the a satisfactory aircraft. He said it would. AT THAT TIME the jet was a minimum 6-8,000lbs
overweight and it was known that more would be forthcoming with the N1 package. And yet the chief USN objection to the aircraft was that it was too
heavy for carrier ops.
So Nitze was lying, either deliberately or as a function of the worthless data given him by program officials who were as a function of deliberately
skewing the design point by which the jet WOULD be acceptable. Towards a gain in the one area by which that acceptability was challenged to begin
All this having begun via a USN refusal to state critical mission elements in F-111B proposal almost 3 years earlier. A refusal which led to a
civillian generalization of the specs which was exactly what the USN wanted as a 'lead in' justificationi to screw up their half of the TFX effort
with a deliberate letter-of-law spec adherence and a 'down the golden path' set of self-exacerbating engineering solutions to the entirely
predictable pproblems that resulted.
The fourth F-111B (BuNo 151973) was fitted with an escape capsule in place of the individual ejector seats that were fitted to the first three
F-111Bs. However, the fitting of this capsule more than offset the weight reductions achieved by the SWIP, and the F-111B remained grossly
underpowered. Range was also below specifications and could only be increased by adding more fuel, making the aircraft even heavier.
Actually, the pod was a USN insisted feature. As was internal carriage of AIM-54 weapons. The pod had never been an element of 'carrier suitability'
in /any/ previous Navy aircraft. And it never would be again. The existence of the bangseat option in the first three prototypes merely highlights
that there was an existing choice to be made. And the USN refused to do so.
Carrying AIM-54 internally was equally questionable since the Phoenix has much more complex aerodynamics upon release at Mach 2 than the justfication
for B-xx series nuke carriage at low level and Mach .9-1.2 required. Specifically given that the jet would, in any case, never be faster with internal
AIM-54 than the limiting Mach number for the pylon carried versions. More importantly, the F-14 would have a defacto _two missile all external
palletized_ carriage factor which meant that, from 6-8 weapons on the Missileer to 4 weapons on the F-111B to 2 weapons on the Tomcat still favored
the F-111B over it's successor _as a FADF_.
That said options for change were not up for negotiation in the N1 package of 'solutions' for excessive weight growth is impossible to understand,
given the lesser options deemed acceptable in the followon fighter.
Thus the USN deliberately chose the more complex route so as to ensure that the aircraft failed to make OpEval fixed letter-specs.
Nor were these the only deficiencies which were 'overruled' (rewritten specs) because the F-14 was a /Navy Design/. The engine power and stall
margin problems were accompanied by a known deficiency in TSFC that was /never/ fixed and that in turn meant that the Tomcat had effectively 20% less
loiter than a _2hr on station_ spec. When the F-111B was good for 3 out of 3.5. Lower the spec to equivalent 140 minutes on station with 2 AIM-54 and
the F-111B would have made weight with a couple tons to spare.
This became so laughable /in light of F-14 deficiencies/ that eventually the USN ensured the aircraft qualified ('met spec') as a /fighter/ not a
FLEET AIR DEFENSE aircraft with Sparrows and Sidewinder weapons load no better than the F-4s. And 4,200lbs lighter than the F-111B spec (which it DID
meet, at least as a function of safe speeds on take off and landing with six AIM-54).
If the /letter/ of the law had been applied to the F-14 as it was to the F-111, there would be no doubting which jet was actually superior. Nor that
the F-14 would have never been accepted for _it's design mission_ shortcomings.
But only the 'spirit' of pure Naval Dogifghter Hubris was applied. Something which is particularly ironic given the number of MiG-21 and Mirage F-1
kills of Iranian Tomcats. And the fact that either the F-16 or F-18 can **easily** best the 'Superfighters' (14/15) in WVR energy maneuver combat.
i.e. The F-14 sucks as a dogfighter too.
In order to correct the underpower problem and to eliminate compressor stalls (which were also problems for the land-based F-111As), the first of 32
production F-111Bs (BuNos. 152714/152717, 153623/153642, and 156971/156978) which had been ordered was powered by a pair of TF30-P-12 turbofans, each
rated at 12,290 lb.s.t. dry and 20,250 lb.s.t. with afterburning.
Engines which were not demanded earlier because the USN refused to write a spec change to make it happen through the bureaucratic artifice of GFE.
Indeed BOTH the USAF /and/ the USN 'sat at the table' like two little spoiled children, arms across chests, thinking if they pouted long enough,
they would each get their own way.
Until McNamara finally decided to cut-nut and wrote a mission element needs statement for them-
1. The ability to accomodate a 36" radar antenna diameter compatible with the USN system.
2. A maximum length of the USAF version of 73ft.
3. A maximum USAF weight of 60,000lbs with 2,000lbs of internal stores.
4. The ability to carry 10,000lbs of external stores in the conventional mission.
5. The ability to carry 2, 1,000lbs AAM submerged or internally.
6. The ability to withstand carrier ops.
7. The ability of the Navy version to carry six of the above AAMs for 3.5 hours, 150nm from the boat.
8. A takeoff weight limit, on the USN version of 55,000lbs.
Secondary to this he also specified that the USAF would be the controlling program authority. BECAUSE the USN refused to participate.
It was at that point that the USN realized they were dealing with someone from the real world who had the power to make serious changes in the
sheltered little realities they lived by and so decided to preserve their precious turf by distorting (say flat out lying about) the SecDef's
perceptions of where those realities would always lead: a resumption of self serving interests which would never accept the notion of a 'missileer'
mission replacing the 'pure fighter' USAF equivalent.
This process of desired vs. design production distortion and work slowing used tactics exactly similar to those employed by mafia led unions. And were
made worse (say easier) by the fact that the BuWeps as vested weapons design authority in the Pentagon was a couple levels above the civillian
analytical department (the 'whiz kids') that Robert McNamara brought with him to ensure truth and honesty. And so could effectively ORDER those test
agencies to provide false data or none at all when effectively subpoena'd as experts in the realm of aero engineering to proved a word-good
The TFX design eventually emerged as an aircraft in the 20-ton (empty) class with a maximum take-off weight of almost 50 tons.
The A-3 Skywarrior (takeoff 39,400lbs) gained 7% in it's hardened design empty weight to production cycle. The Intruder came in almost 13% above spec
at 25,630lbs and nobody complained. The A-5 Vigilante (which is the only reasonably close comparison for size and mission performance) went from
38,024 to 47,530, gaining 20% in weight from design to deck and nobody complained.
How can one do anything but clap when the F-111B went from 38,804lbs to 43,162lbs in a change of merely 11.3%?
MOST ESPECIALLY WHEN, COMPARITIVELY-
The A-5 took 7 months from proposal to design hardening and grew 1.2 percent in the process (by USN measure).
While the A-6 took six months and grew 8.2 percent.
Yet the F-111B was 'certified' in THREE MONTHS at ZERO weight growth. Why? Because the USN refused to write a MENS (mission element needs statement)
by which they could be held accountable to a range of capabilities that THEY deemed most necessary. From the contractor point of view, this is akin to
asking an artist to carve a sculpture or paint a picture of someone he has never met nor had described to him. If he doesn't like it, how can you say
you gave him what he wanted?
Factor this against gross weights:
F-111B: 78,788-79,212lbs (Grumman/USN numbers)
The key difference (for 'carrier suitability' reasons) is approach and cat speed. Every knot that you add, ups the relative sink rate fps forces on
the structure goes up by a factor of 2. And the accident rate increases as a cube. Thus the the A-6 which comes in at 126 knots is not considered
terribly great nor terribly 'hot' is comparable to the RA-5 which comes in at almost 150 knots and is considered quite a handful. And the A-3 which
comes in at about 135 and is considered so docile as to be dangerous for want of responsiveness (thrust). While the F-111 which weighs more than
either is rated to a _115 knot stabilized approach with a 100 knot stall_ and is thus _safer than either_ on recovery. Despite weighing approximately
66,000lbs thanks almost entirely to USN 'solutions' to a weight problem which they instigated by 'refusing to describe' the aircraft they wanted
as a descending order of priorities by which GD could make some early trades.
Carrier takeoff is more critical in that there were, at that time, carriers from which a larger airframe would simply never launch. Carriers which
operated F-8's instead of F-4s. F/A-18s instead of F-14s.
And nobody complained.
This knifing the program in the back with weight as a SOLE indicator of carrier compatibility is foolish when viewed in context. It is made even more
blatantly so by a 'sudden (and singular) penchant' on the part of the USN to release their own flight test data on early prototype aircraft without
wing or airfoil improvements. Only to hush up ALL Grumman data related to the actual carrier testing by way of comparison.
When added to the obvious sabotage inherent to a process by which they deliberately refused to order improvements (to wing, avionics and engine) this
'weight as a sole variable' problem, the USN was not only traitorous in their 'percolating' of the program problems. They were in a fiscal
condition called 'fraud in the inducement' and 'anti-deficiency act' claimants on their heightened fiduciary trust. i.e. They knew there was a
problem yet did not allocate funds to fix it. Nor did they inform the contractor that the problem would still exist AFTER having issued a series of
change proposals which /did nothing whatsoever/ to address the single fixed measure of program performance.
Because GD never got any hard data, they could only issue a 'range of empty weight estimates' which had a baseline of 38,804lbs. And a maximum of
42,298lbs. The F-111B, after the Weight Improvement Program (-595lbs) and the Super Weight Improvement Program (-4,060lbs) and a separate, inhouse
(USAF SPO), weight initiative (-668lbs) came in at 43,162lbs. Which, again, is pretty damn good for having no working configurational data to start
Data only made available as a _Legally Required_ MENS precondition to initiating detail design leading to a closer tolerance factor from the
statistical baseline estimate by the civillian agency (Robert McNamara) who wrote the spec for them because they (Navy) chose to pout throughout 1960
and into 61. Thus, by 1964 when 'real numbers' (cut metal) started to appear, not only was the USN Monday Morning Quarterbacking, they were
critiquing a civillian agency they allowed to replace them in engendering the ADA breach to begin with.
AND NOBODY COMPLAINED.
With this 'more complete' view, you can only blame the USN for being a lying bunch of stuck up stick jockeys that had a stated mission for a
missileer that really amounted to a desire for another fighter. Less than two years after the F-4 started to enter service.
Their filthy greedy hands being backed by an organizational bureacracy (BuWeps) that didn't like having it's authority taken away from it on a basis
of incompetence (compared to civillian engineering) in maintaining a diverse capability to engage in both conventional and nuclear warfare at a given
Which was nominally McNamara's mission statement and job description /within the Constitutional body of laws/ on administration of the government.
Laws which the Services were sworn to uphold.
And so gaining them (rightfully, if anybody in Federal Government obeyed the Constitution) yet another High Treason for the entire body-politick which
was determined to 'business as usual' undermine their own civillian controls through subterfuge and outright refusal of duty.
Okay, so they are more interested in maintaining their little fiefdom than providing an adequate defense. Such has been SOP for 'warrior
aristocracy' led cultures throughout the ages.
WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?
For you are (consciously or otherwise) acting as a mouthpiece for numbers that are not taken into context with time and true period comparisons for
mission (subsonic missileer is the best FADF. Supersonic missileer is the second best. The supersonic 'dogfighter' is the absolute worst) and
engineering achievements vs. an 'unknown goal'. Thus you are supporting a subornation of public awareness over /someone else'/ self interest that,
philosophically or pragmatically, has nothing to do with you.
Except as criminal conspiracies are always made twice as dangerous for their 'historical precedent' of public acceptance and indeed /belief/ in a
fatally flawed system.
It had been intended to use titanium for large portions of the airframe to save weight, but this proved prohibitively expensive. The TFX was powered
by two afterburning Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 turbofans in the 80 kN class. The shoulder-mounted wings were attached to a pair of giant pivots,
allowing it to take off, land, and loiter with a modest 16° sweep (for maximum lift and minimum landing speed), cruise at high subsonic speeds with a
35° sweep, or sweep back to a 72.5° maximum for fast supersonic dashes at more than Mach 2. Despite its high maximum speed, its modest thrust
fraction (thrust-to-weight ratio) made early versions somewhat underpowered, exacerbated by compressor stalls and other engine problems that forced a
hasty redesign of the engine inlets.
The F-111B was a compromise that attempted to reconcile the Navy's very different needs with an aircraft whose configuration was largely set by the
USAF need for a supersonic strike aircraft, and those compromises were to prove its undoing. The B was shorter than the F-111A, to enable it to fit on
carrier lifts, but had a longer wingspan (70 ft/21.3 m compared to 63 ft/19.2 m) for increased range and cruising endurance. Although the Navy had
wanted a 48 in (122 mm) radar dish for long range, they were forced to accept a 36 in (91.4 mm) dish for compatibility. The Navy had requested a
maximum take-off weight of 50,000 lb (22,686 kg), but Secretary of Defense McNamara forced them to compromise at 55,000 lb (24,955 kg). This proved to
be overly optimistic.
Weight plagued the B throughout its development. Not only were prototypes far over the 55,000 lb limit, efforts to redesign the airframe only made
matters worse. The excessive weight made the aircraft seriously underpowered. Worse, its visibility for carrier approach and landing were abysmal, and
its maneuverability—especially in the crucial medium-altitude regimen—was decidedly inferior to the F-4 Phantom II.
But of course these are all lies put forth to make the F-14 look better right ch? I mean the great ch1466 knows all about everything, and is never
Of course they are all lies. In context.
Given I have already explained the weight issues as simply as I can to you, I won't repeat my arguments except to say you are a THIRD HAND heresay
foolishly repeating Baugher, repeating 'official Navy' propoganda. While Contractor data is lost or suppressed.
OTOH, if you want a 48" diameter radome, you don't encourage an exiting administration to cancel the (A-6 nosed) Missileer concept which is
specifically configured to provide it, cheaply. Nor the Eagles which are the only weapons capable of exploiting it with a range fully 25% greater than
Indeed, both the F-111B -and- the F-14A have the exact same AWG antenna diameter. Why did the USN not return to the 48" dish if they felt it was /the
missileer/ elemend of FAD that was important.
The original TFX (SOR-183) requirment sought a 90-100ft long airframe with a fineness ratio of 11-14:1 for superior supersonic performance. They
didn't get it. Does than mean the F-111 is an inferior low level interdiction platform relative to every other asset on the planet? No. Even today,
even with the F-15E, the only tactical asset which comes close to matching the 111's range:payload factors are in fact cruise missiles.
If this is so, then why do you automatically assume that the F-111B lengthXwingspan issue is similarly 'inadequate' just because some yutz throws
numbers at you?
The fact of the matter is that _for the Missileer mission_ (which is what FADF is about) fineness ratio is of little importance because once you
shoot, supersonics are for running away from any escorts more than penetrating through them and a Mach 1.5 platform with 28,000lbs of fuel (the F-111B
in fact carried 4 AIM-54 to Mach 2) will run a Mach 2 'capable' platform with less than 10Klbs, out of gas. Every damn day of the week.
The only remaining basis of dimensional comparison /specific/ to the F-111B is that of deckspot and elevator factors.
The F-111 is 68'10" long by 31'10"
The F-14 is 62'7" by 33'3"
The A-3 is 72'6" by 47'10"
You cannot presume that an aircraft is 'better or worse' until you know whether it represents and absolute in any given measure and what that
measure is. Since the USN /itself/ uses 'spotting factor' as a relative variable to the smallest aircraft in the fleet /at the time/, it's all
fluff and noise designed to put you to sleep. For the Navy has and continues to have, aircraft bigger and roughly as heavy as the F-111 on deck.
As for my 'knowing all', the fact of the matter is that I do know more than you. On this subject. And that is embarrassing because it means not only
acknowledging my superior contextual awareness. But also that you, like all the other sheep, have taken what 'someone, somewhere' sold you at face
value rather than with true intent to evaluate from a detached analysis of the facts available.
I don't hold your naivete` against you and would infer from your attitude that what is really happening is a psychologic destabilization phenomenon
relative to your unease with the notion that whoever 'they' were you perceived as being nominal experts on the subject /because/ they represented
governmental authority. Which is completely wrong but entirely understandable because your entire life and socialization training has been molded from
about 5 years old towards recognizing and accepting external controls by sources other than direct experience or even parental wisdom.
Unconditionally, and without ever considering that they are wrong just as often as you. Or worse, deliberately lying through their teeth 'in the best
interests of everyone'. Them first.
To which startled bleat, I can only say _be calm_. If your behavior with me is any indication, you would never trust any strange individual beyond the
limits of proof or exigent need. And governments, far from being faceless monoliths of supreme authority (and thus, subconsciously 'supreme
correctness') are composed solely of individuals as apt to a collective subjectivism exploitation factor as you. Stop seeing 'them' as anything but
YOU, once removed, and you will gain a more balanced conservatism of disbelief by which 'they' must prove themselves to YOUR set of 'specs'. Specs
which you write based on your own cognitive ontology rather than 'what someone else said to say'.
Specifically: DO NOT THINK IT'S A BAD THING TO MISTRUST ALL THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT TELLS YOU.
It is indeed perhaps the most important right that the Founding Fathers tried to ensure this country bred into it's individuals. And the thing we are
most rapidly yielding to the fools who think to control us. Like pigs control the quality of pig excrement.
Whether you believe me or not, matters not in (de)certifying the validity of my opinion. I've already formed it, based on Congressional Testimony and
Period Professional Literature quoted directly in _The Illusions Of Choice_. While you have done nothing credible to change my mind by spouting
Baugher. What does matter is that you I have given you an alternative point of reference to a his single page program synopsis whose ultimate
Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1989.
United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.
General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.
Post-World War II Fighters: 1945-1973, Marcelle Size Knaac, Office of Air Force History, 1986.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.
The World Guide to Combat Planes, William Green, Macdonald, 1966.
Modern Air Combat, Bill Gunston and Mike Spick, Crescent Books, 1983.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament, Bill Gunston, Orion, 1988.
F-111 Aardvark--USAF's Ultimate Strike Aircraft, Tony Thornborough, Osprey Aerospace, 1993.
F-111 Aardvark, Hans Halberstadt, Specialty Press, 1992.
E-mail from Douglas Reynolds on crash of 151973.
Is almost entirely based on 'layered repetitions of the official revision' of the real story you have let the U.S. Navy LS&B you with.
[edit on 22-3-2006 by ch1466]