Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


This is coolkbert:

Aadvark - - A strange, odd-looking creature of unusual habits. Put together in a manner so that it resembles no other animal. In a class all by itself.

Almost forty years ago now, another military aircraft also made it's first debut in combat. Was sent to the Southeast Asian theatre to participate in the Rolling Thunder air campaign against North Vietnam.

This was the F-111. Unkindly referred to as the Aardvark! Highly touted. Deployed to test all-weather, day/night combat capability under real wartime conditions.

[deployed just as the monsoon season was beginning in SE Asia. A perfect time to test "all-weather, day/night combat capability".]

Test under combat conditions. Just as is being today, at this very moment, with the V-22 Osprey fielded by the U.S. Marines in Iraq.

I remember all too well the high hopes and expectations that the Air Force had for the F-111. As with the Osprey, the F-111 was steamrolled into production over the objections of many in the military. Was not felt to be a suitable warbird. Had shortcomings that would not allow for superior performance. The F-111 had been designed to be a combat aircraft THAT COULD DO IT ALL!! Was perceived, however, as a military aircraft that WAS NOT ABLE TO DO ALMOST ANYTHING WELL!!

[The F-111 as originally envisioned DID have on paper a formidable capability. All-weather, day/night combat operations were feasible. Had a terrain-following radar that allowed for low-level attack all the way to the target. There was high hopes that the F-111 would outperform all other aircraft in the inventory in a MARKED manner.]

This initial combat deployment of the F-111 was called Combat Lancer.

Combat Lancer was not deemed a success. Rather the opposite. Combat Lancer turned out to be an abject failure. Of the original six deploying aircraft, two almost immediately either crashed or were shot down. After replacements were sent AND YET A THIRD F-111 WAS DOWNED ON A MISSION, Combat Lancer was called to an inglorious halt.

"At month's [March 1968] end, after 55 missions that centered on North Vietnam targets, two aircraft . . . had been lost. Two more aircraft . . . arrived as replacements. The loss of a third Combat Lancer aircraft on April 22 halted F-111 operations."

I hope and pray the Osprey V-22 will function well and show some mettle in Iraq. Without incident, hopefully. Everyone will be watching. Hold your breath and cross your fingers.

[unbeknownst to me, the F-111 did serve honorable duty during the Linebacker air offensive against North Vietnam in 1972. Performed tasks admirably with little loss of aircraft to enemy action.]



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