'Vark memoirs

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'Vark memoirs

Postby Cybrludite » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:39 pm

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby Rich » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:37 pm

While stationed at Edwards AFB, I had the dubious pleasure of working on a couple of f-111's. As I recall, a F-111A and a F-111D. Why on earth they allowed General Dynamics to install 60-80 lb avionics boxes directly into the instrument panel is beyond me.

I just shook my head and went back to my little A-7D, where sanity ruled (except in the continedl effort to convert British jet engines to US usage).
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby Darrell » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:48 pm

I was driving north on I-25 in northern New Mexico, out in the middle of nowhere, back in '94, I think. I got buzzed by an F111. Never saw or heard him coming, just a sudden incredibly loud roar directly over me. Scared the living daylights outta me. Then I saw the plane out the passenger side window, very low to the ground, heading east fast. I suspect the guys in the plane had fun doing it.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby randy » Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:41 am

I was on the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) team for the EF-111. Sitting in a windowless SAM radar simulator van when one made a near mach low level pass overhead. Scope totally whited out and feeling like a mobile home in tornado alley.

One of my ROTC Field Training flight mates was the WSO when his bird crashed during a training flight out of Cannon. RIP Al.

The 'Vark was my go to AF bird (A-6 for the Navy) when I was a weaponeer and wanted absolutely positively destroy a precision target.

Thanks for the link.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:22 pm

Sadly, the F-111 was lousy at air-to-air.


No shit. It was a medium bomber and the fighter designation was a pretty much blatant lie to make the British communists and Soviet communists cry more.

I and a few of our weapons troops still think we could have loaded SUU-23 gun pods (once the F-4 Cs & Ds retired) on the four inner pylons and made the F-111 into a very fun/scary CAS aircraft.

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby Vonz90 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:29 pm

SoupOrMan wrote:
Sadly, the F-111 was lousy at air-to-air.


No shit. It was a medium bomber and the fighter designation was a pretty much blatant lie to make the British communists and Soviet communists cry more.

I and a few of our weapons troops still think we could have loaded SUU-23 gun pods (once the F-4 Cs & Ds retired) on the four inner pylons and made the F-111 into a very fun/scary CAS aircraft.

I loved working on my Ravens except when I hated working on them.


The fighter concept was for it to just carry a bunch of long range missiles and they would do the work. This was the 60's when they thought dog fighting was passé.

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby Rumpshot » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:51 am

My cousin was a wing safety officer for F-111's at Mountain Home for a while.

Then he was the program manager when they were retired.

He mostly made a career out of them. Started flying them around 1970, retired shortly after they did.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:43 am

Vonz90 wrote:
SoupOrMan wrote:
Sadly, the F-111 was lousy at air-to-air.


No shit. It was a medium bomber and the fighter designation was a pretty much blatant lie to make the British communists and Soviet communists cry more.

I and a few of our weapons troops still think we could have loaded SUU-23 gun pods (once the F-4 Cs & Ds retired) on the four inner pylons and made the F-111 into a very fun/scary CAS aircraft.

I loved working on my Ravens except when I hated working on them.


The fighter concept was for it to just carry a bunch of long range missiles and they would do the work. This was the 60's when they thought dog fighting was passé.


For the Navy, it was supposed to be a long-range standoff interceptor that carried the Phoenix missile. Thankfully Grumman came along with the Tomcat to provide a proper carrier-based fighter platform.

For the Air Force, it was a medium bomber designed to carry nukes at low levels and high speeds and toss them to their targets while getting the hell out of there. Thankfully General Dynamics improved the intakes and with the C and future models. Translating cowls are terrible compared to blow-in doors. An H or J model modified to add an internal 25mm cannon would have been just the thing for a medium bomber with attack aircraft capabilities. It could carry plenty of ordnance, a gun that worked well against light vehicles & APCs would have been icing on the cake. Once the digital flight control systems were added, the aircraft became very reliable for B-shop.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby HTRN » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:59 pm

I wonder how good a medium bomber it would be if repowered with say a pair of f135s? :twisted: ads in some jdam equipped sdbs(with 30k of payload, that means a shitload of them

Doubling the thrust and adding vectoring, combined with modern guidance packages, basically makes "bone Jr" :D
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:50 pm

Well, you wouldn't be able to repurpose the old airframes with those engines. Now that I think about it, you wouldn't want to repurpose those frames considering some of the stress-related cracks. We had a few planes restricted to under Mach 1.1 due to engine nacelle and wing cracks.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby MarkD » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:46 pm

SoupOrMan wrote: (snip) We had a few planes restricted to under Mach 1.1 due to engine nacelle and wing cracks.


Now THAT has to give a pilot a case of the warm-fuzzies.......

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:31 pm

Well, the cracking was found on the EF-111A, which used the oldest airframes. All of said airframes were run through the wringer well before conversion to the EF. This turned the EF-111A into a perimeter/orbiter aircraft and subsonic flight was fine for that. They were supposed to originally be a lead aircraft for strike packages, but I guess the old frames plus the ALQ-99 being less effective if it gets too close to a radar facility took that out of the tactics book.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby Dinochrome One » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:56 am

In 1982, the F-111s from Mountain Home would visit our little bombing range for some high-loft practice. Usually it was A-6s Intruders from Whidbey Island coming to the Naval Weapon System Training Facility at Boardman OR to drop a dozen M-76 practice bombs, but once a month we'd see the 'Varks. For their visit, we'd have to clear the lights and generator off the bullseye and widen the focus on the spotting cameras; for a high-loft, anything inside a thousand-foot circle was a bullseye. Good times.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:20 pm

High-loft was for nukes, so a thousand-foot circle would be good enough.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby randy » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:48 pm

SoupOrMan wrote:High-loft was for nukes, so a thousand-foot circle would be good enough.


Initially. Later it also served to get an LGB into position to acquire a target being designated by another aircraft or a ground source (don't know if it was ever used operationally).

When I got out we were looking at it for getting JDAMs into an attack position while minimizing aircraft exposure.
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:23 pm

I don't know how much they handed off ordnance once the Pave Tack system went operational.
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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby randy » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:45 am

As I said, not sure if it was used operationally, but we did include it in our menu of available delivery options (for multiple airframes, not just the 'Vark). I do know they practiced buddy lasing, switching off delivery and tagging the target between wingmen.

I think one concept was to use it as a delivery from outside denied territory while a snake eater type covertly lased the target from the ground. "Us? Bomb your facility/glorious leader? How could we? We never had any aircraft in the area/our aircraft were miles away in international airspace!"
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".

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Re: 'Vark memoirs

Postby SoupOrMan » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:08 pm

Even after twenty years, I can still remember the whistle of the engines as they taxi to and from EOR. I loved that sound.
Remember, folks, you can't spell "douche" without "Che."

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