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#FridayFlashback: F-111 Debuted 49 Years Ago

F-16 Fighting Falcons receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Suzanne Day)
F-16 Fighting Falcons receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Suzanne Day)

The F-111 Aardvark made its debut in 1967, nearly a half a century ago. The F-111 became the world’s first variable geometry swing wing aircraft. The Aardvark – not exactly a sexy name for a multi-purpose fighter – came on line just in time to see major action in Vietnam.

According to Wikipedia: The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark was a supersonic, medium-range interdictor and tactical attack aircraft that also filled the roles of strategic bomber, aerial reconnaissance, and electronic-warfare aircraft in its various versions. Developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics, it first entered service in 1967 with the United States Air Force. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also ordered the type and began operating F-111Cs in 1973.

We should be thankful for the F-111 because it was the precursor for the F-14 Tomcat. That’s the plane featured in the Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun.” So, end your Friday by firing up some Kenny Loggins and heading for the danger zone.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.