General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark and EF-111A Raven
Warpaint’s latest is their standard A4 format, softbound publication that is 88 pages (excluding covers) on the General Dynamics F-111 series. Featuring more than 180 photographs (most in color) along with 34 of Richard J. Caruana’s color profiles, and including the B-Centennial scheme on 68-0028/UH, an F-111E based at Upper Heyford, in June 1976. The color profiles are further enhanced with color scrap illustration of opposite sides of the fuselage as necessary to depict special markings. Nose art and other special markings are also presented enlarged to show off details. For the small scale fans, Richard J. Caruana also includes fold-out 1/72 scale plans.
Charles Stafrace starts out with the development of the F-111, which despite the disastrous interference of Robert S. McNamara, ultimately emerged as an exceptional weapon delivery system. In combat the Aardvark holds one of the safest operational records of any USAF aircraft. The fact that during the Gulf War, that the F-117 stealth fighter and the F-111 were the only two aircraft allowed to attack downtown Baghdad to minimize collateral damage says quite a bit. Charles Stafrace details the introduction to USAF operations and eventually RAAF operations with exceptional clarity as can be seen by the following chapter titles:
The Chapters include:
- Origins of the F-111 – The TFX
- The Advent of Variable Geometry
- Conflicting Requirements?
- TFX Becomes F-111
- The F-111A and F-111B Described
- Engine Problems – The Triple Plow Intakes
- The F-111A Enters US Air Force Service
- Deployment to Vietnam 1968 – A Qualified Failure
- Further F-111A Units
- NASA Test and Demonstration F-111s
- Pave Mover – TAWDS
- The Demise of the Naval F-111B
- The F-111A Comes of Age
- The British F-111K Saga
- US Air Force – Return to Vietnam 1972
- Combat Losses – Linebacker I
- Linebacker II
- End of Southeast Asia Combat Operations
- The F-111E
- Strategic Air Command’s FB-111A
- The FB-111A in Service
- FB-111B and FB-111H
- The FB-111D – ‘D’ Also for Digital
- F-111F – The Ultimate Aardvark
- The F-111F Enters Service
- Upgraded F-111F
- US Air Force F-111G
- EF-111A – The Electronic Raven
- The EF-111A in Service
- The Aardvarks and Ravens at Lakenheath and Upper Heyford
- Operation El Dorado Canyon – Success or Failure for the F-111?
- Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm: F-111E and EF-111A
- The Lakeheath F-111F’s enter Combat Again
- Epilogue to Desert Storm
- The Australian F-111: F-111C, RF-111C, F-111G, and F-111A(C)
- The RF-111C
- The RAAF’s F-111A(C) and F-111G
- RAAF F/RF-111Cs on a War Alert
- The End for the Aussie F-111
- Epilogue to the F-111- A Mistaken Identity?
- General Dynamics F-111 and EF-111A In Detail
- General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark / Raven Scale Plans (1/72)
The Tables include:
- General Dynamics F-111 and EF-111A Bases Used by US Air Force
- General Dynamics F-111 and EF-111A USAF Serials and Production
- General Dynamics F-111 and EF-111A Versions
- US Air Force F-111/FB-111A and EF-111A Squadrons
- F-111F Aardvark Participation in El Dorado Canyon
- General Dynamics F-111 RAAF Serials and Production
- General Dynamics F-111 Specifications – All Built Versions
- General Dynamics F-111 * EF-111A – Kits, Decals, and Accessories
I particularly enjoyed Charles Stafrace’s political essay of the British dalliance with the F-111K as a potential substitute for the cancelled TSR.2 program. The end of the F-111 in USAF service came with the end of Desert Storm, where the Aardvark demonstrated that it was a most effective offensive weapon. Of course the reward was retirement in 1996. The Aardvark was done-in, not by a superior replacement, but by accountants. The EF-111A Raven was retired a few years later, followed by the last flight of an RAAF F-111 in December 2010.
This monograph is really a handy reference for the F-111 Aarvark with plenty of photos and illustrations to help you with your 1/48 Aurora/Monogram, Academy, Hobby Boss kits or even the oft-rumored 1/32 Trumpeter kit. If you have any of the Warpaint series, you know how great a value this book is. Highly recommended!
My thanks to Guideline Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.