In 1995 MiGMan and PC paid a visit to RAAF Base Amberley.
In 1995 MiGMan and PC paid a visit to Amberley, a RAAF base in sunny Queensland, Australia. as guests of No.1 Squadron.
Australia is the only country in the world operating the F-111, the Americans called it the "Aardvark", or "Vark"... the Aussies call it the "Pig". Aardvaark is Afrikaans for "Earth Pig".
Despite flying the most dangerous mission profiles the F-111 boasts an exceptionally low accident rate, Australia having lost only about 8 in 25 years , including only 2 in the last 10 years.
- Very low level (below 200 ft)
- High speed (near Mach 1)
- Bad weather (night and zero visibility
Australia has to defend over distances which are almost inconceivable to Europeans, and the long legs of the F-111 give us a potent first-strike capability in the region.
MiGMan checks out the Radar hood which is cushioned to protect the operator's face from the buffeting received during low level flight.
Australia recently purchased more of the USA's retired F-111 G models. These particular frames were tasked with attacking the Soviet Union over the Arctic Circle. They were fitted with stellar navigation, which has been removed and the avionics will gradually be upgraded in line with the rest of the fleet.
The F-111's would still be in service, except that the US senate would have withheld funding for the F-22 Lightning.
Insignia of No.1 Squadron, RAAF Amberley.
The F-111 can carry sidewinders for self defense, while we were there a squadron pilot told us how he shot down an F-16 in a Red Flag exercise in Nevada. The Falcon had bounced his wingman out in front and didn't see the pig screaming up behind him at Mach One!
LASER designation pod.
Practice bomblet dispenser
Landing with a Harpoon missile underwing.
Part of the regular maintenance is replacing the paint which is ablated during the high-speeed, low altitude flight the pig revels in.
The only limit to speed for the F-111 is the heat limits on the airframe! At certain speeds (they wouldn't tell us exactly how fast) a timer starts and warns the pilot of when he has to slow down or literally risk melting the wings off!
You can easily crawl inside the exhaust outlets... not a good idea though!
In afterburner the F-111 is stil the fastest aircraft in the world at sea level.
Also seen at RAAF Amberley
This Canberra is in immaculate condition as a gate guard.
While it's sister ship basks under the fierce Queensland sun.
Singaporean A-4 Skyhawks
Singaporean F-5 / T-38
F-111's practicing formation takeoff and landings.
RAAF F-111 taking off over the Queensland countryside.
MiGMan and PC thank the folks at No.1 Squadron for their hospitality.