These Capabilities Made The F-111F Aardvark So Special
Taking out a tank from 18,000 feet is a tough job. But the F-111 weapons system officer Todd Truax took the challenge. Truax flew with the F-111F. Made in 1970, the F-111F was the most advanced and powerful Aardvark at that time. The F-111F was the last model built, but it was the best too.
The engines of the F-111F were the most powerful of the fleet and each engine produced 25,000 pounds of thrust. An F-111 pilot Craig Brown said,
“I put the F model out there in the front. It’s I think the perfect blend of analog and digital, better and more reliable technology with a lot more power.
Unlike its radar-jamming unarmed counterpart, the belly of this F-111 houses a laser-guided smart weapons system. The cockpit had infrared sights help weapons system officers to guide 500-pound bombs onto small targets such as tanks even at night.
During the Iraq war, Truax was one of the 84 pilots deployed in Iraq. Enemies used to put their tanks in fixed locations. So the F-111s should go out and look for the tanks with their infrared sight. Truax scans the desert for viable targets. Pilots look for temperature differences in the desert to spot tanks with F-111’s IR cameras in pretty high resolution.
When tanks are spotted, Truax marks the Iraqi tanks with laser spots and fires. The bomb’s internal guidance system keeps it on track when falls. Even if the target is on the move, guided bombs follow and correct until they hit the precise target.