FB-111A Aardvark

Manufacturer: General Dynamics
Designation: FB-111
Version: A
Nickname: Aardvark
Type: Bomber
Specifications
Length: 73' 6" 22.40 M
Height: 17' 5.18 M
Wingspan: 70' 21.33 M
Wingarea: 550.00 Sq Ft 51.09 Sq M
Empty Weight: 47481.0 lbs 21533.0 Kg
Gross Weight: 110646 lbs 50179.0 Kg
Max Weight: 114277lbs 51826.0 Kg
Propulsion
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-7 (A/B 20,350 Lb)
Thrust (each): 10800 4897
Performance
Cruise Speed: 685.00 mph 1102.00 Km/H 596.2 Kt
Max Speed: 1452.00 Mph 2338.00 Km/H 1263.7 Kt
Climb: 23418.0 Ft/min 7137.46 M/min
Ceiling: 57000.0 Ft 17373.0 M

 

Designed as a modification of the legendary General Dynamics
variable–geometry “swing-wing” F-111 fighter-bomber, the FB-111A served in the
United States Air Force Strategic Air Command from 1968 until 1991. Intended as
a replacement for the B-58 Hustler and as an adjunct to the B-52 Stratofortress
until a more advanced nuclear-armed manned bomber could be procured, the FB-111A
supported the third leg of the US Triad Nuclear Deterrent strike-force
consisting of manned bombers, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine
Launched Ballistic Missiles.

In addition to strengthened landing gear, an increased fuel capacity,
lengthened wings and a fuselage over two feet longer than standard F-111 the
FB-111A was equipped with advanced electronics including an improved attack
radar, internal navigation system, digital computers and multi-function displays
to support its role as a nuclear-armed strategic bomber. Its variable wing
design, extending out for slow-speeds and sweeping back for high-speeds, allowed
the aircraft to operate a peak performance in sub-sonic and supersonic flight.

Armed with up to six Boeing AGM-69 SRAM, short-range attack missiles with up
to a 210-kiloton nuclear warhead each or nuclear gravity bombs, the FB-111A had
a total weapons load of 35,500 pounds making it a credible threat to any major
adversary. Unofficially nicknamed the “Dark Vark” due to its distinctive dark
green and grey Strategic Air Command paint scheme, 76 FB-111A’s were delivered
to the USAF before production stopped in 1971.

The museum’s FB-111A serial number 68-245 saw operational service with the
509th and 380th Bomb Wings, Strategic Air Command until retirement in 1991 with
5,685 flight hours. The aircraft is scheduled for restoration to its original
“Dark Vark” livery in the near future.

  - - - - - - -

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's FB-111A has the following history:

The aircraft at the March Field Museum is an A model, serial number 68-245.
It was manufactured by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX, and delivered to the
Air Force on 21 September 1970. It served in the locations below:

September 1970   -  To 340th Bomb Group, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Carswell AFB, TX.

July 1971   -   To Sacramento Air Materiel Area CA

December 1971   -  To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

May 1972   -  To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB,
TX.

May 1972   -  To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh
AFB, NY.

May 1972   -  To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB,
TX.

May 1972   -  To 380th Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Plattsburgh
AFB, NY.

July 1972   -  To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

July 1972   -  To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY

August 1972   -  To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease
AFB, NH.

August 1972   -  To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

September 1972   -  To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease
AFB, NH.

December 1972   -  To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

May 1973  - To Sacramento Air Materiel Area CA

July 1973   -  To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB,
NH.

October 1973   -  To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

October 1973  -   To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease
AFB, NH.

December 1973   -  To 308th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

March 1988   -  To 509th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), Pease
AFB, NH.

September 1988   -  To 380th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command),
Plattsburgh AFB, NY.

Retired from U.S. Air Force service in 1991 with 5,685 flight hours on the
airframe.

Dropped from Air Force inventory in 1991: Loss to other organization.

It made its final flight to March Field Museum in 1991.  The exterior was
restored with a new paint job in 1998. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.