List of General Dynamics F-111 aircraft operated by the Royal Australian Air Force

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Four Australian F-111Cs in 2006

This is a list of the General Dynamics F-111 aircraft operated by the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) between 1973 and 2010. The RAAF's fleet of F-111s included 28 F-111Cs (of which four were converted to RF-111C reconnaissance aircraft) and 15 F-111Gs. Several more F-111s were purchased from the United States and used for ground training and testing purposes, or as a source of spare parts.

Background[edit]

The Australian Government purchased 24 F-111Cs in 1963.[1] These were completed during 1968 and early 1969, and the first of the RAAF's aircraft was handed over to the service on 4 September 1968. However, the entire fleet was grounded in the United States shortly afterwards while serious deficiencies with the F-111's design were corrected. The RAAF finally accepted the 24 aircraft during 1973, and they flew to Australia in four groups between 1 June and 4 December that year.[1][2]

Four of the F-111Cs were modified to RF-111C reconnaissance aircraft. The first, A8-126, received these modifications in the United States between October 1979 and April 1979; the other three were converted in Australia between July and September 1980.[3]

The RAAF purchased four ex-United States Air Force (USAF) F-111As in 1981 as attrition replacements. These aircraft were delivered to the service in 1982 and were subsequently converted to F-111C standard.[1]

In 1992 the Australian Government decided to purchase up to 18 ex-USAF F-111Gs in order to extend the type's service life. 15 F-111Gs were eventually acquired, and they were delivered to the RAAF during late 1993 and early 1994.[1][4] Three more ex-USAF F-111Gs were also held for Australia in the United States, but never delivered.[5]. Other ex-USAF F-111s were also held at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AKA The Boneyard) in Arizona as sources of spare parts for the RAAFs fleet of aircraft.[6]

The Australian Government announced on 7 November 2003 that the RAAF's F-111s would be retired from 2010, and on 16 March 2007 it was announced that the type would be withdrawn by the end of 2010.[7] The F-111Gs were retired before the F-111Cs, with the last leaving service on 3 September 2007.[8] The F-111C fleet was drawn down, and the type was finally retired on 3 December 2010.[9] Eight of the RAAF's F-111s (seven F-111Cs and one F-111G) were destroyed in crashes during the type's service, with ten airmen being killed.[10]

Following the F-111s' retirement, 13 of the surviving aircraft (12 F-111Cs and a single F-111G) were preserved in aviation museums and RAAF air bases. The remaining aircraft were buried at the Swanbank landfill site outside of Ipswich, Queensland, between 21 and 23 November 2011.[11]

Aircraft[edit]

Variant RAAF serial number Delivery/acceptance Fate[12] Comments Image
F-111A N/A January 1995[12] Buried 22 November 2011 Ex-USAF aircraft used as a training aid.
USAF serial 63-9768[12]
F-111A N/A November 1999[13] Tested to destruction by the DSTO, with the teardown of the airframe being completed in late 2003[14] Purchased for airframe testing purposes[13]
USAF serial 67-0106[12]
F-111A N/A N/A ? Stored at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in the US for possible RAAF use from 1981[13]
USAF serial 67-0108[15]
F-111A/C A8-109 13 August 1982[15] Preserved at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society
F-111A/C A8-112 13 August 1982[15] Buried 23 November 2011
Fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley
F-111A/C A8-113 1982[15] Preserved at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre A8-113 at an air show in 2005
F-111A/C A8-114 1982[15] Buried 24 November 2011
Fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley
F-111C A8-125 16 March 1973[2] Preserved at the RAAF Museum First F-111C to arrive in Australia, and final aircraft to land at the type's retirement ceremony[9] A8-125 in 2014
F-111C/RF-111C A8-126 6 September 1968 & 6 April 1973[2] Preserved at the RAAF Amberly Aviation Heritage Centre Accepted in 1968, but grounded while major structural problems with the F-111s were resolved.
Accepted for a second time in 1973.[16]
Prototype RF-111C, converted to this variant between October 1978 and April 1979[17]
A8-126 performing the final F-111C "dump and burn" at an airshow in September 2010
F-111C A8-127 6 April 1973[2] Destroyed in a crash at Guyra, New South Wales on 13 September 1993
Both aircrew killed[10]
A8-127 in July 1993
F-111C A8-128 30 April 1973[2] Destroyed in a crash at Tenterfield, New South Wales on 2 April 1987
Both aircrew killed[10]
F-111C A8-129 18 April 1973[2] Preserved at the Queensland Air Museum A-129 outside the Queensland Air Museum in 2013
F-111C A8-130 27 April 1973[2] Preserved at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor A-130 outside of the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in 2013
F-111C A8-131 ? 1973[2] Buried 23 November 2011
Crew escape module preserved at the Australian National Aviation Museum
A8-131 in flight during 2006
F-111C A8-132 8 May 1973[2] Preserved at RAAF Base Edinburgh
F-111C A8-133 27 July 1973[2] Destroyed in a crash at Evans Head, New South Wales on 29 September 1977
Both aircrew killed[10]
F-111C/RF-111C A8-134 8 June 1973[2] Preserved at the South Australian Aviation Museum
To be transferred to the Australian War Memorial by mid-2019[18]
Converted to RF-111C during 1980[17] A8-134 in 2003
F-111C A8-135 29 June 1973[2] Buried 23 November 2011
Crew escape module preserved at the Caboolture Warplane Museum
A8-135's crew escape module on display in 2013
F-111C A8-136 27 July 1973[2] Destroyed in a crash at Armidale, New South Wales on 28 April 1977
Both aircrew survived[10]
F-111C A8-137 ? 1973[2] Destroyed in a crash at RNZAF Base Ohakea on 24 August 1979
Both aircrew survived[10]
Crew escape module, rudder and fin preserved at the Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre
F-111C A8-138 26 July 1973[2] Gate guardian at RAAF Base Amberley A8-138 in 2010
F-111C A8-139 ? 1973[2] Crashed into the sea and destroyed off Moruya, New South Wales on 28 January 1986
Both aircrew killed[10]
F-111C A8-140 3 August 1973[2] Buried 24 November 2011
Crew escape module preserved at the Aviation Heritage Museum, Fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley
F-111C A8-141 ? 1973[2] Crashed into Auckland Harbour and destroyed on 25 October 1978.
Both aircrew survived[10]
Crew escape module preserved at RAAF Base Amberley A8-141's crew escape capsule in 2007
F-111C A8-142 22 August 1973[2] Preserved at RAAF Base Wagga A8-142 in June 1990
F-111C/RF-111C A8-143 6 September 1973[2] Buried 24 November 2011
Fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley
Modified to RF-111C standard in 1980[17]
Suffered damage in a belly landing at Amberley on 18 July 2006 and never repaired[12]
The nose of A8-143 in 1986
F-111C A8-144 18 September 1973[2] Buried 23 November 2011 Carried special "city of Ipswitch" scheme on tail and forward section A8-144 in March 2009
F-111C A8-145 27 September 1973[2] Buried 23 November 2011 Repair of Fatigue crack in lower wing during 1996. The fatigue crack was a chordwise 48 mm crack in the critical, non-failsafe, port lower wing skin at approximately 2/3 semi span. The crack had reduced the wing's residual strength to below Design Limit Load and the repair was therefore critical.
F-111C/RF-111C A8-146 ? 1973[2] Buried 24 November 2011
Reconnaissance pallet donated to the Australian War Memorial, fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley
Modified to RF-111C standard in 1980[17] A8-146 in 1986
F-111C A8-147 26 October 1973[2] Preserved at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome A8-147 in 1975
F-111C A8-148 ? 1973[2] Preserved at Fighter World near RAAF Base Williamtown A8-148 in 2008
F-111G A8-259 ? Buried 22 November 2011
F-111G A8-264 ? Buried 23 November 2011
F-111G A8-265 ? Buried 21 November 2011
F-111G A8-270 ? Buried 22 November 2011
F-111G A8-271 ? Buried 23 November 2011
F-111G A8-272 ? Preserved at the RAAF Museum Nicknamed "The Boneyard Wangler"[12], as it was revived from a USAF graveyard salvaging parts from various other F-111s. Only Complete F-111G in Australia to be preserved A8-272 in 2005
F-111G A8-274 ? Buried 23 November 2011 A8-274 in 2008
F-111G A8-277 ? Buried 21 November 2011
F-111G A8-278 ? Buried 22 November 2011
F-111G A8-281 ? Buried 22 November 2011
F-111G A8-282 ? Buried 23 November 2011
F-111G A8-291 ? Destroyed in a crash on Pulau Aur, Malaysia on 18 April 1999
Both aircrew killed[10]
F-111G A8-506 ? Buried 22 November 2011
F-111G A8-512 ? Buried 23 November 2011
Fin and rudder preserved at RAAF Base Amberley. Fin on display at entrance to HQJOC.
F-111G A8-514 ? Buried 22 November 2011
FB-111A N/A ? On display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum since November 2014 The forward section only of the ex-USAF FB-111A 68-0246 was acquired by the RAAF as a recruitment aid[19] The forward section of FB-111A 68-0246 in 2015

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b c d "A8 General Dynamics F-111". RAAF Museum. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Lax (2010), p. 111
  3. ^ Lax (2010), pp. 140-141
  4. ^ Lax (2010), p. 205
  5. ^ Lax (2010), p. 203
  6. ^ http://www.adf-serials.com.au/3a8.htm
  7. ^ Lax (2010), pp. 234-235
  8. ^ Lax (2010), p. 204
  9. ^ a b "F-111 flies into history". Australian Aviation. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lax (2010), p. 135
  11. ^ Cuskelly (2014), pp. 26, 29-30
  12. ^ a b c d e f Cuskelly (2014), p. 29
  13. ^ a b c Lax (2010), p. 162
  14. ^ Lax (2010), p. 214
  15. ^ a b c d e Lax (2010), p. 163
  16. ^ "F-111". RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  17. ^ a b c d Lax (2010), p. 141
  18. ^ "Australian War Memorial to add RF-111C to its collection". Australian Aviation. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  19. ^ Crick, Darren; Edwards, Martin. "RAAF A8 General Dynamics F111C/G & RF111C". ADF-Serials. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
Works consulted