By Tommy H. Thomason

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Was the Navy's F-111 Really That Bad?

It was with some trepidation that I awaited the subject article by Robert Bernier in the September 2018 issue of Air&Space Smithsonian. I thought it likely that it would be yet another ill-informed and derogatory recounting of the shortcomings of the Sea P*g. It turned out to be accurate and even-handed in my opinion. There were a couple of things to quibble with at first reading: an editor couldn't resist a snarky subtitle: "Pentagon leaders insisted that an Air Force fighter-bomber would make a great Navy interceptor: They should have asked the Navy"; and I think it's dubious that the side-by-seating was one of the Navy's "demands". However, Bernier also came up with a couple of complimentary F-111B anecdotes that I hadn't read before from individuals with first-hand experience with the airplane, which more than makes up for them and any others.

Bravo Zulu.


Seal Of Lion said...

What if the USN had used the F-111B's as a replacement for the A-6, EA-6B, KA-6 when the F-14 became the fighter?

Philip Markgraf said...

I've often wondered how the Navy would have fancied the Aardvark had they been in the market for a medium bomber, instead of an interceptor. Acquiring F-111Bs as a better bomb-delivery truck could have been a truly exceptional naval weapons system. Of course, the Navy had just acquired a pretty good bomber on its own. As an alternative, we could all speculate on a world where USAF saved the taxpayers a huge expense and made use of the Intruder for its tasks.

Bill Gilman said...

Thanks for posting this Tommy, as I don't regularly read that magazine. Now I know to go get a copy! I learned so much about the F-111B during my recent conversion of the Hasegawa F-111C kit - I read everything I could find, and I was especially grateful for your monograph and numerous posts on your blogs. I came away with a new respect for the aircraft, and it made me wonder how it would have performed had the production not been cancelled. Granted, she was probably not sexy enough for Tom Cruise, but I think she would have performed her missions well.

Keep up the great work with the blogs - they're among the first pages I look at every day to make sure I catch anything new that you've added. Cheers, Bill

Anonymous said...

we had two F-111s on CVA-59 during a Med cruise in '70 but never launched them, don't know why.

Captain Hook said...

The F14 was HUGE and the F111 was even bigger! How many would fit?