Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, announced that Australia would buy 24 F-111 aircraft. (Source: 15)
Built by General Dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas.
Manufacturer's Serial Number D1-05 *
Block Number FC-5 *
USAF serial number 67-0129
* These numbers were previously transposed. It is believed that this is the correct nomenclature.
First flight 2:15 hours. Flown to 50,000 feet and Mach 2.22 for 12 minutes. (Source: 5)
Crewed by GD Test Pilots Anderson (believed to be Neil Anderson) and Hiett. (Source: 9)
Enquiries with General Dynamics, Fort Worth (in 2018) suggest that the co-pilot was probably Edward E. Heit.
Officially accepted by the RAAF at General Dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas. (Source: 5)
Stored at Carswell AFB, Fort Worth, Texas. (Source: 7)
Delivered to the RAAF. (Source: 5)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 in pairs formation out of McClellan AFB (1.35 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 from McClellan AFB to vicinity of Beale AFB and return. (1.35 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 in pairs formation out of McClellan AFB (1.40 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 on a NAVEX McClellan-Seattle-McClellan to observe performance figures. (3.30 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 from McClellan AFB to Hickam AFB, Hawaii (5.15 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 from Hickam AFB, Hawaii to Pago Pago, American Samoa (5.15 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters flew A8-129 from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Amberley (6.00 hrs). (Source: 17)
Arrived at RAAF Base Amberley on delivery from McClellan AFB California via Honolulu and Pago Pago. Flown by SQNLDR Wally F. Walters and FLGOFF Phil J. McDonald. A8-129 was part of the first delivery in company with A8-125, 126, 127, 128 and 130. (Source: 2) Read the programme for the arrival ceremony.
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on Supersonic Run 2-3 (2.3 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on AEO Special TF1 (Terrain Following Route 1), Bomb Evans Head. (3.00 hrs). This was an F-111 conversion for Air Electronics Officer Jim Graham who had transferred from the F-4E. (Source: 17)
A8-129 was tasked with 9 other F-111s to perform a formation flypast at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, A8-129 went unserviceable and was replaced by A8-142. The formation comprised:
Aircraft: A8-130 | Callsign: Ramrod Red 1 | Pilot: GPCAPT Jake Newham | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: WGCDR Trevor Owen | Remarks: 72° sweep
Aircraft: A8-126 | Callsign: Ramrod Red 2 | Pilot: SQNLDR John Emery | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT Ross Hardcastle | Remarks: 72° sweep
Aircraft: A8-129 142 | Callsign: Ramrod Red 3 | Pilot: SQNLDR Ian Westmore | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT Mick Lucas | Remarks: 72° sweep
Aircraft: A8-138 | Callsign: Ramrod Blue 1 | Pilot: WGCDR Ray Funnell | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: SQNLDR Neil Pollock | Remarks: 54° sweep
Aircraft: A8-133 | Callsign: Ramrod Blue 2 | Pilot: WGCDR Gil Moore | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: SQNLDR Tony Wilkinson | Remarks: 54° sweep
Aircraft: A8-128 | Callsign: Ramrod Blue 1 | Pilot: SQNLDR Wally Walters | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT Pete Salvair | Remarks: 54° sweep
Aircraft: A8-141 | Callsign: Ramrod Black 1 | Pilot: WGCDR Peter Coy | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: SQNLDR Wang Miller | Remarks: 36° sweep
Aircraft: A8-137 | Callsign: Ramrod Black 2 | Pilot: FLTLT Bob Sivyer | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT Pete Growder | Remarks: 36° sweep
Aircraft: A8-125 | Callsign: Ramrod Black 3 | Pilot: FLTLT Dick Kelloway | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT Pete Fairbrother | Remarks: 36° sweep
Aircraft: A8-31 | Callsign: Ramrod Black 4 | Pilot: FLTLT C. Hancock | 2nd Pilot/NavigatorL: FLTLT A. Blyth | Remarks: Airborne spare
Source: Mission card from the collection of Wal Walters.
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on HQ OP Command Famil for WGCDR Whitely (3.00 hrs). (Source: 17)
A8-129 was part of a 6 Sqn deployment to Darwin. Image
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Tindal-Darwin on Exercise Top Flat (4.10 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 on an Air Defence Exercise ex Darwin (3.00 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on TRB9 and TF4 Conversion Course (3.00 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on CS5 and TF9 (3.00 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Rockhampton-Amberley on CS12 and TF12 (2.7 hrs). (Source: 17)
Six F-111s including A8-129 were detached to RAAF East Sale until 13JUN for bombing trials on a nearby range. An open day was held on 01JUN. (Source: 11)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-East Sale (1.5 hrs). (Source: 17)
SQNLDR W.F. Walters (6SQN) flew A8-129 Amberley-Amberley on T6 Conversion for AIRCDRE David Evans (2.8 hrs). This was SQNLDR Walters' last flight in A8-129 for a total of 53.2 hrs. (Source: 17)
At the conclusion of Exercise Kangaroo 2, the participating nations (excluding the USA) put up a formation of 33 aircraft. The formation comprised 17 F-111C (including A8-129), 8 Canberras and 8 RNZAF Skyhawks. The F-111 formation was said to be the largest to date. (Source: 12)
F-111: A8-126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 135, 137, 139, 141, 142, 144, 145, 146, 148, 147
Canberra: A84-232, 233, 234, 240, 241, 242, 244, 245, 248 (232 believed to be a photo aircraft)
Skyhawk: NZ6201, 6202, 6204, 6205, 6206, 6208, 6209, 6210
A8-129 was one of two F-111s which visited the Cocos Islands in late June 1977 on a "Lone Ranger" exercise. FLTLT Martin Chalk was navigator on one of the aircraft. It later emerged that the presence of the two F-111s had temporarily upset the balance of military power in the Indian Ocean! (Source: 1) (pp. 133-4)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-292 (TCTO 1F-111-1162) - Deseal/Reseal of F-111C Fuselage Fuel Tanks. The Mod was issued on 19 Apr 78 and was incorporated onto A8-129 on 15 Mar 79. The reason for the Modification was to correct numerous incidences of fuel leaks. The F-111C integral fuel tanks were chemically de-sealed and then re-sealed using an epoxy barrier and polysulphide sealant fillets. NOTE: The second DS/RS for the F-111 was undertaken as Special Servicing S37, not as a Modification. (Source: 15)
Static display at an air show at RAAF Amberley. (Source: 4)
A8-129 was one of six F-111s that deployed to Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC. Aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne also participated.
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-340 (windscreens) and 341 (canopies) - Installation of alternate design bird impact resistant transparencies (ADBIRT) to windscreens. The Mod was issued on 23 Feb 82 with Mod 340 being incorporated onto A8-129 at 3AD. Mod 341 was incorporated at 482SQN on 14 Nov 80. The reason for the Modification was that the currently fitted Bird Impact Resistant Transparency (BIRT) transparencies were suffering unexpected and rapid deterioration in the form of cracks and crazing. Production of BIRT canopies has ceased and spares were no longer available from USAF. (Source: 15)
The left hand wing pivot fitting of A8-129 failed catastrophically on 29 Aug 82 at 2003 hours local time. At that time, the aircraft was positioned in the cold proof load test facility at McClellan Air Force Base, California. The wing had completed 2309.2 AFHRS. The aircraft was undergoing cold proof load test and at the time of failure a load equivalent to minus 1.5g was being applied. (Source: 15)
Participated in Exercise Pitch Black out of Darwin.
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-353 - Modification of Nose Landing Gear Wheel Well to Allow Install of Chine Water Deflecting Tyres. The Mod was issued on 28 Nov 83 and was incorporated onto A8-129 on 22 Nov 83. The purpose of the Mod was to provide chine water deflector tires on the nose landing gear and to rework the nose wheel well to provide clearance for the chine tires . Failure to accomplish this modification may have resulted in the nose wheel water spray being directed toward the engine. (Source: 15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-351 - Replacement of Main Landing Gear Lateral Beams. The Mod was issued on 22 Nov 1985 and was incorporated onto A8-129 on 10 Dec 86. The lateral beams originally fitted became susceptible to stress corrosion cracking. (Source: 15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-392 - Installation of Increased Fire Resistant Rudder Flight Control Linkages. The Mod was issued on 08 Sep 86 and was incorporated onto A8-129 on 11 May 87. The reason for the Modification was to provide more time for safe ejection in the event of a sustained in-flight fire in the upper equipment bay. The Modification can be recognized by the replacement of the presently fitted aluminium rudder push-pull tubes and the cross-over bell crank tube, with steel tubes. (Source: 15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-400 - Fitment of Pave Tack/Guided Weapons Capability to F-111C Aircraft. The Mod was issued on 19 Mar 86 and was incorporated on A8-129 on 09 Jun 87. The reason for the Modification was to improve the operational effectiveness and weapons delivery capability of F-111C aircraft. It involved major structural and electrical changes, as well as the introduction of new and modified equipment. Major areas of structural rework were:
Right Hand Forward Equipment Bay (including provision of cavity for Signal Data Converter);
Left Hand Forward Equipment Bay; Right Hand Cheek Bay;
Weapons Bay; Main Wheel Well;
Left and Right Wings; A1 and A2 fuel tanks ('C' models only); and Crew Module
The PAVE TACK system provided precision laser designation ranging and tracking of ground targets for attack by conventional ordnance and guided weapons during day, night and adverse weather conditions. The most obvious evidence of this system can be found in the Weapons Bay Cradle and Pod installation and crew module displays and controls. In addition to laser guided weapons, the capability to deliver GBU-15 television guided bombs and AGM-84 Harpoon missiles is incorporated. The GBU-15 capability includes the installation of a Data Link system, evidenced by the provision for carriage of a television transmitter/receiver pod under the aft fuselage and crew module displays and controls. The Harpoon capability is apparent through incorporation of a control and launch system, including crew module displays and controls, and interfaces. (Source: 15)
Photographed at RAAF Base Pearce, WA in camouflage with 1 Sqn gold flash. (Source: 8)
A8-129 was part of a 6 Sqn deployment to Malaysia.
Noted at RAAF Base East Sale in 6 Sqn markings for an air show. (Source: 13)
Displayed on departure from RAAF Base East Sale as "Falcon 64" then returned to Amberley. (Source: 13)
Arrived at Avalon for the Australian International Airshow where it was on static display. (Source: 14)
Departed Avalon. (Source: 14)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-391 - Installation of Finger Tank Access Covers With Bolts In Lieu of Rivets. The Mod was issued on 15 Jun 83 and was incorporated onto A8-129 on 11 Dec 95. The reason for the Modification was to provide easier access to the finger tanks during scheduled maintenance and inspection. (Source: 15)
Photographed on static display at an air show at RANAS Nowra. (Source: 10)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-450 - Avionic Update Program (AUP). The Mod was issued on 10 Nov 99. It was incorporated into A8-129 on 20 Dec 97, which went into AUP on 14 Jul 97 and was completed on 20 Dec 97. The Mod was issued to install upgraded avionics in both the F-1 11C Strike and RF-111C Reconnaissance aircraft. The F/RF-111C Avionics Update Program (AUP) and its integration into the F/RF-11IC aircraft is based on the incorporation, modification and integration of both new and existing subsystems and equipments. The system configuration incorporates new AGFE and CFE equipment as well as both modified and unmodified existing equipment. The basis of the modification primarily consists of the removal of hardware with high failure rates and/or poor maintainability from the aircraft and adds new more reliable equipment to replicate the functions of the deleted equipment. To support the new equipment integration, system operation and functions, existing equipment is retained or modified as necessary. In support of the system hardware upgrades, wiring harnesses are replaced with new harnesses that incorporate dual redundant MILSTD-1553B data buses. Additionally, software modifications are incorporated within the AUP to provide necessary F/RF-111C unique capabilities and support the hardware integration and system OFPs. (Source: 15)
Participated in an air show at RANAS Nowra. (Source: 3)
Arrived at Avalon for the Australian International Airshow. (Source: 14) Photo
Departed Avalon. (Source: 14)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-520 - Build C02A SINU Freeze Annunciation. The Mod was issued on 20 Jul 99 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 01 Nov 99. The incorporation of this Modification allowed detected SINU frozen data conditions to be enunciated to aircrew by both warning lamps and AFLs. This modification alters the aircraft functional baseline. (Source: 15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-442 - Overwing Longeron & Wing Carry Through Box Cold Expansion Modification The Mod was issued on 25 Nov 98 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 29 Feb 00. The modification was raised due to the Durability and Damage Tolerance Assessment (DADTA) studies by Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS), which have shown under RAAF and USAF flight spectrums, three areas of the F-111 D6AC steel primary structure are flaw sensitive and potentially subject to fatigue cracking in the fastener holes. In response to concerns of primary structure durability, a directive was issued to develop a fatigue enhancing modification. Cold Expansion of the fastener holes in the Over Wing Longeron Pn.12B1891, Wing Carry Through Box Pn.12812B7310 and Speed Brake Actuator Support Bracket attachment holes were selected as the preferred process. (Source:15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-425 - Fitment of AN/ALE40 Countermeasures Dispenser Set to F-111C Aircraft. The Mod was issued on 20 Sep 99 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 09 Aug 00. This modification order was incorporated by the contractor, Boeing Australia Limited. The AN/ALE-40 Countermeasures Dispenser System was selected by the Electronic Warfare Project Office as an interim countermeasures dispensing capability prior to the selection and implementation of Project Air 5391 Electronic Warfare Update solution. This choice was prompted by the availability of USAF AN/ALE-40 modification kits (developed in response to ECP 5115 and documented in TO 1F-111E-535). Incorporation of this modification is to take advantage of the aircraft downtime afforded by the avionics upgrade. This modification is unclassified. Features by which the modification may be recognised are the replacement of AN/ALE-28 CMDS with the AN/ALE-40 CMDS. (Source:15) It can be recognised by:
Four dispensers each capable of carrying 30 expendables in both of the speed bumps, Flare/chaff dispense switch in the pilot's throttle quadrant, The lack of a flare/chaff dispense switch in the auxiliary control panel, Navigator flare/chaff dispense switches forward of the RH console, A flare single/double switch forward of the RH console, Replacement of the ALQ-94 control unit with the AN/ALE-40 cockpit control unit, Replacement of the ALE-28 cockpit control unit with the AN/ALE-40 programmer.
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-524 - Installation of Voice And Data Recorder (VADR). The Mod was issued on 04 Oct 01 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 16 Oct 01. Reason for the modification. To aid in accident investigation, the Deputy Chief of Air Force (DCAF) approved a proposal to fit all RAAF aircraft with data recorders. The Smiths Industries Voice and Data Recorder (VADR) System has been selected for fitment to the F- 111C aircraft. The VADR system contains a Voice and Data Recorder which records audio and data signals. The Pre-Amplifier, located in the LH Cheek Bay, amplifies ambient audio signals from the Area Microphone which is located within the Crew Module. (Source: 15)
Sighted at RAAF Edinburgh, SA. Call sign "Buckshot 08". (Source: SAAJ V.32 N.1)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-530 - Installation of ECM Pod Capability (EL/L-8222). The Mod was issued on 05 Feb 04 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 25 May 04. The ELTA EL/L-8222 Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) Pod system has been selected by the F-111 Interim Electronic Warfare Project Office to enhance F/RF-111C Electronic Warfare Self Protection (EWSP) against Radio Frequency (RF) threats. Corresponding system interface provisions (Group A) have to be installed in the F/RF-111C aircraft. (Source: 15)
Static display at the Amberley air show while undergoing an engine change demonstration . (Source: 3 & 15)
Photographed at RAAF Amberley in overall grey with 6 Sqn blue flash. (Source: 8)
QAM first expressed interest in obtaining an F-111 from the Australian Government.
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-536 - DFCS OFP Update to the F/RF-111C Aircraft. The Mod was issued on 05 Feb 04 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 25 May 05. This modification was required to incorporate the DFCS OFP Update into the F/RF-111C aircraft and was prioritised as Urgent. (Source: 15)
Photographed on static display at an air show at RAAF Richmond carrying an AGM-142 Popeye missile and associated data-link pod. (Source: 16)
Participated in Red Flag 07 at Nellis AFB, Nevada. (Source: 3) Photo
Photographed at Amberley performing a dump and burn in practice for the Australian International Airshow at Avalon. However it did not attend the airshow. (Source: 8)
Flown by No 6 Sqn in support of the INDY 300 on the Gold Coast. (Source: 5)
Photographed arriving at Christchurch International, NZ with 6 Sqn blue flash. (Source: 8)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-564 - Electronic Kneepad Modification (EKP). The Mod was issued on 17 Jul 08 and was incorporated into A8-129 on 16 Jul 08. This modification was necessary to incorporate the Electronic Knee Pad upgrade into all F/RF-111C and was assigned a priority of urgent. (Source: 15)
Incorporation of Mod No 7214.003-560 - Installation of F/RF-111C aircraft replacement fuel tank cables. The Mod was issued on 17 Jul 08 and was incorporated into A8-129 by STI F111SER1000-464 on 01 Oct 08. The reason for the modification was as a direct consequence of the A8-112 in-flight incident. All available boost pump cables became due for replacement at or before the 1025 AFHRS extension and left the F/RF-111C fleet vulnerable to a lack of serviceable cables. To maintain the operational capability of the fleet it was necessary to design new cables. This modification incorporated the Fuel Tank Cable Replacement (FTCR) upgrade into all F/RF-111C aircraft. The Mod was undertaken at an urgent priority. (Source: 15)
Photographed at Darwin participating in Exercise Elang Aus-Indo 2009 with 6 Sqn blue flash. (Source: 8)
Photographed at Amberley carrying crew names:
FLTLT Anthony McGrath "Virge" (left)
FLTLT Mikolaj Romanowski "Romas" (right)
These names were carried up to and including the final flight on 03DEC10.
A8-129 was one of only four aircraft to carry 1973-2010 tail art. The other aircraft were 113, 126 and 135.
Flew (1:8 hours) on the last day of RAAF F-111 operations. Total Time: 7325:0 hours. (Source: 5)
Flown by SQNLDR Steve Clarke and FLTLT Ray Seville. SQNLDR Clarke was the RAAF's highest time F-111 pilot with more than 3,000 hours on type. (Source: 6)
Six aircraft flew on the last day of F-111 operations. The landing sequence was A8-126, 135, 138, 129, 109 and 125.
A8-129 callsign was "Sword 2".
The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, announced that up to seven F-111 aircraft would be made available on loan to Australian museums.
The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, released the Request for Offer (RFO) for up to seven F-111 aircraft to be made available on loan to Australian museums.
The Request for Offer closed.
A8-129 noted at Amberley having been repainted.
The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, announced that QAM's offer for an F-111 had been successful. Media Release
QAM signed the Loan Agreement.
The crated fin, rudder and tailplanes arrived at Caloundra.
The aircraft was planned to be delivered on this date but unusual rainfall rendered the grounds too soft to receive the aircraft. There were several more delays for the same reason.
The wings arrived at Caloundra.
The fuselage arrived at Caloundra.
The fin and tailplanes were fitted.
The wings and rudder were fitted and the aircraft was washed. Subsequently it was towed into the Don Bennett Memorial Building (Hangar 1) and placed on axle stands.
Hangar 1 was reopened to the public.
The Director General History and Heritage, AF, AFHQ approved QAM's request to add the name of SQN LDR Wally Walters to the aircraft.
The name of the delivery pilot of A8-129, Squadron Leader Wally Walters, was placed under the cockpit of the aircraft as it was in 1973.
F-111C A8-129 is the property of and on loan from the Royal Australian Air Force.
Compiled By Ron Cuskelly
From Controversy to Cutting Edge by Mark Lax, Air Power Development Centre, 2010.
GPCAPT J. Newham published in the Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia Vol 14 No 6, Jan-Feb 1974 p.107.
Photo by Ron Cuskelly.
AERO Australia, Issue 30, April/June 2011.
AERO Australia, F-111 Special Edition.
Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia Vol 16 No 3, Jul-Aug 1975 p.34.
Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia Vol 17 No 5, Nov-Dec 1976 p.19. Compiler's notebook.
RAAF documentation provided with the aircraft.
SQNLDR Wally F. Walters' log book.