Skyfire77 last edited by
By the late 1960s, the USAF's existing fleet of EB-66 and electronic warfare aircraft were aging, and they began to make plans to replace the aircraft. An initial plan was studied to make use of US Navy EA-6B Prowlers, but the plan was dropped as the USAF wanted a supersonic EW aircraft that could penetrate enemy airspace. In order to minimize costs, modifying an existing aircraft was desirable, and the General Dynamics F-111 was judged to be the best candidate. In 1975, a contract was awarded to Grumman Aerospace to modify two F-111As into prototype EF-111s.
An employee of Grumman Riverhead Plant, Grumman Aerospace Corporation, rewires the tail section of an F-111 aircraft
During conversion, the majority of the F-111's frame and power-plants were left untouched, aside from a 16' long canoe-shaped fairing added to the former bomb-bay and another football-shaped pod attached to the tip of the vertical stabilizer, both of which contained antennas for the ALQ-99E jamming system, which was developed from the system used on the EA-6B. The F-111s existing AN/APQ-160 radar navigation systems and ALR-62 countermeasures systems were retained. The ALQ system and all the additional avionics weighed close to 6,000lbs. The aircraft's electrical and cooling systems had to be extensively upgraded to support the new equipment, and the cockpit was also rearranged, with all flight and navigation displays relocated to the pilot's side, and flight controls except throttles being removed from the other seat, where the electronic warfare officer's instrumentation and controls were installed. The Ravens were unarmed, and thus were not capable of performing the SEAD role. In 1986 the original F-111A engines were replaced by the TF30-P-9 used on the F-111D, and from 1987 to 1994 the EF-111s underwent an Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), which added a dual AN/ASN-41 ring laser gyroscope INS, AN/APN-218 Doppler radar, and an updated AN/APQ-146 terrain-following radar. Cockpit displays were upgraded with multi-function displays.
General Dynamics F-111A 66-0049 modified by Grumman as the first EF-111A prototype
The first EF-111A, known then as the "Electric Fox", flew on 10 March 1977, followed by the second prototype, then forty additional EF-111As, with the last being delivered in 1985. The first EF-111s were deployed in November 1981 to the 388th Tactical Electronic Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, and the type reached initial operating capability in 1983. The EF-111, which was officially named the Raven, but was also known as the "Electric Fox" and "Spark 'Vark", saw its first combat during Operation EL DORADO CANYON in 1986 against Libya and during Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama in 1989. Ravens were deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation DESERT SHIELD in 1990, and were some of the first aircraft into Iraqi airspace when the Coalition forces attacked on 17 January 1991. A crew flying 66-0016 was credited with an unofficial maneuvering kill against an Iraqi Mirage F1 that night, though later information cast doubt on the event.
EF-111A Raven aircraft prepare to takeoff on a mission during Operation Desert Shield
Ravens remained in the Gulf for Operations PROVIDE COMFORT, SOUTHERN WATCH & NORTHERN WATCH, as well as taking part in NATO operations over Yugoslavia during Operation DELIBERATE FORCE in 1995. In 1998 the USAF began to retire the EF-111, with the last unit at Cannon AFB departing for AMARC on 2 May 1998, ending 31 years of service for the F-111/EF-111.
EF-111s and F-111s in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB
Of the 42 EF-111s converted, 3 were destroyed in accidents, 4 are on display or are undergoing restoration, and the remainder were recycled at AMARC.
66-0016 is on display at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. It was the first EF-111 to fly a combat mission and was unofficially credited with the Mirage F1 kill.
66-0047 is currently being restored at Silver Springs Municipal Airport in Silver Springs, Nevada
66-0049 was the first prototype EF-111 and is on display at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
66-0057 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio
Exage03040 last edited by
It's Taco Tuesday!
I like this jet.