Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the preferred recipients for six retired F-111 fighter jets to be loaned to aircraft museums and historical organisations across Australia.
“The iconic F-111s were the front line of the Australian Defence Force for almost four decades,” Minister Clare said.
“The F-111s were affectionately known as ‘Pigs’ because of their ability to hunt at night and fly low in the weeds thanks to their terrain-following radar.”
“They were perhaps best known for their fiery dump and burn exhibitions at air shows around Australia.”
“They could fly at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound and when they retired were still one of the fastest strike aircraft in the world.”
“Loaning these mighty planes to Australian air museums and historical organisations will help preserve this important part of our military heritage.”
The successful organisations are:
- Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory (Winnellie NT);
- Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association (Evans Head NSW);
- Fighter World (Williamtown NSW);
- Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (Albion Park Rail NSW);
- Queensland Air Museum (Caloundra QLD); and
- South Australian Aviation Museum (Port Adelaide SA).
The Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association – WA Division Inc (Bull Creek WA) will receive a crew module display. F-111 aircraft are already on display at the Aviation Heritage Centre, RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland and at the RAAF Museum, RAAF Base Point Cook in Victoria.
Two F-111 aircraft are also at RAAF Base Edinburgh and RAAF Base Wagga. These aircraft will also be put on display.
The aircraft loaned to aircraft museums and historical organisations are expected to be delivered from early 2013.
The RAAF retired the F-111 in 2010 after 37 years of service, with a flypast of Ipswich, Brisbane, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts by six F-111s accompanied by four F/A-18Fs, and a final F-111 display overhead RAAF Amberley.
The F-111 was replaced by the current squadrons of F/A-18F Super Hornets.
The aircraft museums and historical organisations must comply with a number of conditions to ensure the safety of the aircraft.