B-1B Lancer

     Notes: This heavy bomber was originally designed in the mid-1970s to replace the B-52 in the long-range bombing role.  Rapidly escalating costs eventually led to its cancellation under the Carter administration, but the program was reinstated under the subsequent Reagan presidency, where more development was done that led to the B-1B variant.  Later, the Lancer was modified for use with conventional weapons; previously, the B-1B was capable of delivering only cruise missiles and nuclear-equipped SRAMs.  The B-1B has stealth characteristics; it was not designed for stealth deliberately, but is rather a consequence of its design that it presents a radar-cross-section only 1% of the size of the B-52 it was designed to replace.  Detection or guidance attempts by radar are one level more difficult than normal.  In addition to a large amount of chaff bundles and flares, the B-1B carries 10 chaff rockets; these are fired from the aircraft and spread chaff behind them for a distance of 9 kilometers.  They have the equivalent of three ECM devices and two IRCM devices to jam a wide range of transmissions and emissions. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: These aircraft excelled at the low-level deep penetration raids for which they were designed, and were responsible for a lot of damage to targets ranging from Europe to the Middle East to Southeast Asia, as well as flying missions over the North American continent.  However, the gradual loss of suitable airfields and support facilities, the reduction in available jet fuel, and combat losses meant that its use decreased steadily in the later stages of the Twilight War; though some 40 Lancers survived the Twilight War, it is believed that the last B-1B mission was flown in mid-1999.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$76,972,805

AvG

34.02 tons

216.37 tons

4

58

Radar, SLAR, RLR, FLIR, LIDAR, Image Intensification

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

2648

662 (130)

NA  166  5/3  50/30

130000

21604

15250

 

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (50), Chaff Rockets (10), ECM, IRCM, IR Suppression, Deception Jamming, Active Jamming, Terrain-Following Radar, Track While Scan, Laser Designator, Inertial Navigation, GPS, Radar Warning Receiver, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Target ID, Look-Down Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar

1800/2200m Hardened Runway

+4

3 Bomb Bays, 20mm Vulcan (Rear)

2000x20mm

 

B-2 Spirit

     Research on this aircraft began in the late 1970s, but its existence was not confirmed until the late 1990s (except for President’ Carter’s slip of the tongue). They take a different approach to stealth than the F-117A Nighthawk, using a totally smooth and rounded design with almost no protruding surfaces to reflect radar.  In addition, the exhaust is routed through cooling channels and thermal bricks to drastically lower the IR signature.  This means that whether the enemy is trying to detect the B-2 or trying to guide a weapon to the B-2 by radar, the attempt is four levels more difficult than it would be against a conventional aircraft.  If using IR means, the attempts are 3 levels harder than normal.  These attempts are two levels easier in any phase that the B-2’s bomb bay doors are open.  In addition, the B-2 is liberally equipped with ECM, IRCM, DJM, and AJM features that make the aircraft even more difficult to detect and intercept.  The chaff used by the B-2 is similar to that used by the Eurofighter; it actively broadcasts jamming signals, and functions one level better in effectiveness than normal chaff.  Unfortunately, due to its design, the B-2 is not an agile aircraft, nor is it a fast aircraft, though it is fuel efficient.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This aircraft’s existence was still only a rumor until just after the start of the Twilight War, when an NBC news camera crew shot some footage at Diego Garcia and caught the first public sight of the strange-looking aircraft, which the President later confirmed was the rumored “Stealth Bomber.”  These aircraft were used to penetrate heavy defenses all over the globe.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$181,050,240

AvG

18.14 tons

152.64 tons

2

47

Radar, SLAR, RLR, FLIR, LIDAR, Image Intensification

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

1528

382 (140)

NA  96  4/2  40/20

93000

31388

16000

 

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (60), Chaff rockets (12), ECM, IRCM, Deception Jamming, Active Jamming, Terrain-Following Radar, Track While Scan, Laser Designator, Inertial Navigation, GPS, Radar Warning Receiver, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Target ID, Look-Down Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar

1600/2000m Hardened Runway

+5

2 Bomb Bays

None

*The B-2 has no tail or vertical stabilizer surfaces.  Any tail hits are considered misses.

 

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

     Notes: Known affectionately to its crews as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow, or Big Ugly Fat Fucker), the B-52’s design goes back to the late 1940s, when plans for a heavy, turboprop-powered intercontinental bomber were drawn up.  The engines were quickly replaced with what were then 8 of the most powerful jet engines available, the wings got swept and the fuselage sleeker, and in the intervening years, the design has been steadily upgraded with a stronger frame and skin, ever-more powerful electronics and bomb-delivery equipment, rebuilds to allow the carriage of heavier and more versatile weapons, and an upgraded rear gun position.  Over the years, it was supposed to be replaced by a variety of newer bombers, including the B-58 Hustler, the XB-70 Valkyrie, and the B-1 Lancer, but it has outlasted any aircraft ever built. One misconception is that the B-52 is merely an enlarged B-47; this is far from the truth as the design work for the B-52 began before the design work for the B-47.  That the B-52 bears any resemblance to the B-47 is coincidental.  Some of the different iterations of the B-52 are so different that they could almost be regarded as separate aircraft, especially the different versions of the B-52H.  Currently, the Air Force plans to keep the B-52 in service until at least 2020 and possibly as long as 2040; some of the present crop of B-52 crews are the children and even grandchildren of the original B-52 aircrew.

 

BUFF Prototypes – the XB-52 and YB-52

     After years of failed design work on a piston, turbofan, and underpowered turbojet, the first true B-52, the XB-52, went into testing.  One was built; its job was to wring out any problems with the upcoming B-52.  The design had been lengthened from the original drawing board design by 4.26 meters, and huge above-wing spoilers were added to add to maneuverability and slow landing speeds.  Pairs of huge flaps replaced the earlier conceptual flaperons.  The wings were hugely thick at the roots, tapering to less than 0.6 meters at the tips.  Some experience was gained from the B-47 program; the wings are swept at 35 degrees, the engines were podded, and the double bicycle landing gear with wingtip stick gear were used.  The XB-52 used a bubble canopy, similar to that of the B-47 (though larger).  The landing gear could be pivoted 20 degrees in either direction, making crosswind landings possible despite the size of the XB-52.  Further braking was accomplished by a 13.4-meter wide parachute carried in the rear of the aircraft under the horizontal stabilizer.

     The XB-52 was powered by eight Pratt & Whitney YJ57-P-3 turbojets, delivering 8700 pounds of thrust each, for a total of 26,100 pounds of thrust.  Defensive armament consisted of four M-2HB machineguns mounted in a manned tail, with the tail gunner sitting above the gun turret.  The turret could fire upwards 20 degrees, almost straight downwards, and about 45 degrees to either side.  If the crew had to escape the aircraft, the tail gunner’s compartment would be jettisoned by explosive bolts so the tail gunner could jump out.  The bomb bay was located in the center of the aircraft between the wheel bogeys; provisions were made for both conventional and nuclear bombs.  The standard crew was five: the pilot and copilot sat under the bubble canopy, the bombardier and defensive weapons (ECM) operator sat further back and downwards from the canopy, and the tail gunner was in the rear.  The front had one more seat – the tail gunner took off in this seat, and before the XB-52 reached altitude, he would climb back to the tail gunner’s position and lock himself in while the rest of the aircraft other than the cockpit were depressurized.

     The XB-52 flew once, then was returned to Edwards for extensive ground experimentation and modifications.  It would not fly again until after the YB-52s flew, using lessons learned from the XB-52.

     The second prototype, the YB-52, was a service test model.  It incorporated changes in response to the XB-52 flight and ground experimentation.  Perhaps the biggest change in the YB-52 was the use of a shorter vertical stabilizer, a feature which would not appear again until the B-52G.

 

Early BUFFs – B-52A-C

     The first production model was the B-52A, which first flew in 1954.  Three B-52As were built, and used for advanced service testing, though they were also fully capable of carrying out missions. They however never saw squadron service. The nose of the B-52A was completely changed – instead of the bubble canopy, the B-52A had the side-by-side seating and nose we all know and love now.  The crew accommodation of the B-52A was changed to six – pilot, copilot, tail gunner, radar navigator/bombardier, defensive systems operator, and navigator.  The pilot and copilot sat in the top deck of the B-52A, while everyone else except the tail gunner sat in a lower deck behind the cockpit which later got tagged with names such as “the pit,” the hole,” and “the black hole;” the deck was dark and cramped. A seventh seat was a folding seat behind and between the pilot and copilot for an instructor pilot. The pilot and copilot had ejection seats; the four members of the crew on the lower deck simply fell out of the floor of the B-52.  If an IP was present, he had to leave his seat, put on a parachute, then jump out of one of the spaces on the lower deck left by the escaping lower deck crew.

     At first, the bombing system was not finished; a temporary system was installed until the actual MA-6A bombing/navigation system was ready. The B-52A was not only capable of aerial refueling, it carried, under the outer wings a pair of 3785-liter drop tanks.

     The first 10 B-52Bs were to have been B-52As, but technical improvements based on the B-52As test program were incorporated into the new aircraft.  The B-52B was the first version to see squadron service, and first flight was in 1955.  50 B-52Bs were originally to have been delivered as bombers; however, only 23 B-52B bombers were actually delivered.  The remaining 27 were outfitted as RB-52B long-range reconnaissance aircraft. The B-52B used an A-3A fire control system for the tail gunner, but some later were retrofitted with the more advanced MD-5 system, which incorporated short-range tail radar.  The RB-52 could still perform a bombing mission; a small portion of the bomb bay could still carry bombs, and the special wing MERs could carry weapons. All B-52Bs used the MA-6A bombing/navigation system. The B-52Bs were powered by J57-P-1W turbojets, each with a rating of 11,400 pounds of thrust.

     A notable achievement (for the time) was a flight by three B-52Bs on a nonstop trip around the world, aided by aerial refueling.  This flight took 45 hours 19 minutes for the 39,148-kilometer trip.

     The RB-52B had an interesting internal setup: in the bomb bay was a two-man pressurized capsule who, depending on the mission, carried out photographic reconnaissance, radar reconnaissance, ELINT, or one of those activities and the use and launching of ECM or drones such as the Quail, which was designed to look on radar like a B-52.

     Two RB-52Bs were later modified into X-15 launch aircraft.  The other B-52Bs and RB-52Bs were modified to the B-52C standard in 1957-58.

     The B-52C first flew in 1956; it was essentially an improved B-52B which had the capability to carry the RB-52Bs bomb bay pod (though the “R” designation was not used, as the mounting was not permanent).  35 total were produced. Internal fuel capacity was increased, and the size of the drop tanks was increased to 11,356 liters (though the smaller tanks of the B-52A and B could still be mounted).  The B-52C was the first B-52 to carry the “SAC” paint scheme – largely natural metal with the underside of the aircraft painted in a reflective antiradiation white paint.  This paint was classified – and it led to questions about why the underside of the B-52C was white.  For the most part, these questions were never answered until the paint scheme was declassified, and ironically, the questions stopped and the paint scheme was rarely questioned. Power was again increased by use of the J57-P-19W, which had a rating of 11,750 pounds thrust.

     An interesting feature present on all B-52s is a small water heater, generally for heating coffee and tea.  Like all B-52s, the B-52A had antiflash curtains to pull across the windshield to protect the pilot’s and copilot’s eyes from nuclear flashblindness.  The aircraft had to be flown on IFR when the curtains are deployed.

 

Large-Scale Production Begins: The B-52D, B-52E, and B-52F

     The service entry in 1956 of the B-52D marks the B-52 as part of the triad of nuclear delivery systems that was the foundation of defense and offensive combat power for the US Air Force.  The B-52D, B-52E, and B-52F were also capable of carrying out conventional bombing missions. Some 170 B-52Ds were built.  The B-52D was essentially the B-52C without the capability to carry the special pod in its bomb bay.  The B-52D got another power upgrade by the use of J57-P-29W turbojets, each developing 12,100 pounds of thrust. Production was extended to Boeing’s plant in Wichita, Kansas, as in the Seattle plant, much of production was dedicated to the KC-135.  The fire control system for the tail gunner was the A-3A or the MD-9, a later version of the MD-5.  The bombing/navigation system remained the MA-6A.  The Doppler radar system was updated from the AN/APN-108 to the AN/APN-89A, and a form of Terrain-Following Radar (TFR) was added.

     The B-52E appeared in 1957, with 100 built.  The E Model was very similar to the B-52D, with a more advanced bombing/navigation system, electrical system, and more advanced ECM and ECCM.  The B-52E was capable of carrying the AGM-28 Hound Dog cruise missile, a small unmanned aircraft with inertial guidance and a thermonuclear warhead.  Two could be carried, one each on hard points on the inner wing. Some B-52Es were used to test low-altitude penetration of enemy defenses, an activity at which they were largely successful.

     The B-52F was the last B-52 to be manufactured in Seattle (though some modification work was carried out in Seattle).  Squadron service began in 1958, and 44 were built.  The biggest change was that the B-52F had self-starting engines; no external power cart was required.  The self-starting module was carried on the port side of each port engine nacelle. Power was further increased by use of the J57-P-43W engine, with a thrust of 13,750 pounds thrust each.  The B-52F suffered from a problem with leaky fuel lines, presenting a possible fire hazard; though this was not the first instance of this problem, it was the biggest.  When operations over Vietnam started, the B-52Fs had their ECM and ECCM upgraded.  A Loran homing navigation device was also added. The upgraded electronics limited the bomb load. The guns equipping earlier models of the B-52 were traded for M-3s, doubling their rate of fire.

     One modification applied only to B-52Ds was the “Big Belly” refit, which increased the capacity of the bomb bay dramatically.  This was a direct result of requirements for missions over the Hanoi-Haiphong area and Route Pack Six. Along with the Big Belly refit was the retrofitting of more advanced ECM/ECCM capability and an increase in chaff and flare carriage.  It should be noted that the Big Belly refit did not actually change load-carrying capacity, it simply rearranged storage in the B-52, allowing it to carry more iron bombs for saturation bombing missions.  It allowed up to 107 500-pound bombs, plus another 24 on the wing MERs.  Other modifications made to Vietnam-bound B-52Ds included the Rivet Rambler ECM fit, which included an improved RWR, a radar receiver which could be left on to warn the crew, SLAR. Three more radar jamming modules (to cover the large amount of equipment the Russians were giving the North Vietnamese), and high-capacity flare and chaff dispensers were installed.

     The B-52D was the model most used in the Vietnam War; rumors are that the actor James Stuart, an Air Force Reserve officer and qualified heavy bomber pilot, flew one mission against a VC stronghold in Cambodia.  B-52 strikes in Vietnam were popularly known, especially to the ground troops, as Arc Light missions.  Missions in Route Pack Six were called Linebacker missions. A result of B-52D (and E and F) operations is that they had to undertake an in-theater IRAN (Inspect and Repair as Necessary) upgrade.

 

First of the Last: The B-52G

     The B-52G had perhaps the most marked change in appearance of all the B-52 series – the shorter vertical stabilizer like that used on the YB-52.  Boeing’s data indicated that the large vertical stabilizer of earlier models was not only unnecessary from a design and aerodynamic standpoint, but shortening the tail saved thousands of kilograms of weight and also reduced the RCS by a bit.  Internally, there were also large changes – most notably the elimination of the rubber bladder-type tanks, with hollow tanks taking their place, allowing for a big increase in fuel capacity.  The wing tanks in particular were joined, forming what Boeing and the Air Force called a “wet wing.”  However, the size of the external drop tanks was greatly reduced in response to the increase in fuel capacity; they now were physically smaller and held only 2650 liters each.  Unlike earlier such tanks, these were attached permanently and are a part of the B-52G’s (and H’s) fuel load. The loss of weight in the tail led to an increase in possible takeoff weight.  On the inner wings, the B-52G could carry huge multiple ejector racks, able to carry twenty-four 500-pound or 750-pounds bombs or eighteen 1000-pound bombs. Another type of rack could be installed on those wing hardpoints, allowing the B-52G to carry a pair of Hound Dogs. The B-52G was also to have carried the GAM-87A Skybolt medium-range attack missile, but the Skybolt program was cancelled during the B-52G’s development.  Instead of the Skybolt, four ADM-20 Quail decoys were carried in the bomb bay in addition to the B-52G’s weapons load.  These decoys used a preprogrammed flight path and had an RCS similar to the B-52.

     Another large change to the B-52G was the elimination of the tail gunner’s position.  The former tail gunner was brought up to the lower deck of the B-52G, and he became the defensive weapons operator (generally an NCO Staff Sergeant, Technical Sergeant, or Master Sergeant).  He was still responsible for the defense of the aircraft, and could launch chaff, flares, and chaff rockets, or the Quail (when so equipped).  His primary job, however, was the firing of the tail guns by remote control; he had a wide-angle CCTV viewer with a reticle that varied by range, and the tail radar was more powerful and could also help direct the guns.  The gunner could also leave aiming the guns to the AGS-15 fire control system, meaning that he only had to drop the trigger on enemy aircraft. He faced the rear, and had an upward-firing ejection seat.

     The B-52G introduced TERCOM to the B-52, to go with the new low-level penetration role of the B-52.  This allowed the B-52G to be safely flown as low at 200 feet, in a soft or hard ride flight configuration.

     Like the B-52H, the B-52G was used over North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, with mixed results.  Though the Vietnamese were justifiably afraid of the havoc they could bring down, they were suited more for urban and industrial targets than bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail and other such tactical targets.  In addition, the air defenses of the Hanoi-Haiphong area were much thicker than the designers of the B-52 ever thought about, and the B-52G and B-52H took heavy losses, especially during the Linebacker II bombing campaign.

     B-52Gs (and Hs) dispensed with the wing ailerons, using spoilers and the tail to do the job formerly dome with ailerons. 

     The tail of the B-52G was increased by about a meter, and used for some of the new electronic systems and flare and chaff dispensers.

     The B-52G is the B-52 variant featured in HBO’s By Dawn’s Early Light. Last combat use for the B-52G was during Desert Storm, though eight B-52Gs remained in service until 1995.

 

The “Last” Version: The B-52H

     The B-52H was intended to be the last version of the B-52 to fly before it was to be replaced by more advanced bombers such as the XB-70 and later the B-1.  It was also intended to be primarily a nuclear weapons carrier, and that it’s primary armament would be the Skybolt missile with thermonuclear warheads.  This would keep the B-52H, for the most part, from having to penetrate enemy air defenses while still being able to attack the target.  The B-52H would still carry four Quails in its bomb bay.  However, with the demise of the Skybolt program, the B-52H carried paired Hound Dog missiles, and free-fall nuclear weapons in its bomb bay. 102 were built; only 80 remain in service, with some being destroyed at AMARC as a part of the START treaty while others are preserved at AMARC as a source of spare parts. Some of these 80 B-52s are still in use over Afghanistan.

     The B-52H had the same shortened tail as the B-52G; however, the tail armament was changed to the more effective M-61 Vulcan Gatling Gun.  The engines were changed to more fuel efficient and higher-rated Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3 turbofans, rated at 17,000 pounds of thrust each.  This engine was a highly-modified J57, turning it into a turbofan.  A power cart was again necessary, as the engines required a pneumatic blast to start. These engines have larger air intakes than the J57-powered aircraft and incorporate bypass air outlets that make the engine nacelle look very different from earlier models.

     The B-52G introduced the rotary launchers that later could equip all B-52Gs and Hs.  These were modular in nature, and could be removed to increase conventional bomb carrying capability.  Two of these rotary launchers could fit into a B-52s bomb bay.

     The B-52H had increased ECM and ECCM capability, as well as increased-capacity flare and chaff dispensers and the ability to carry 10 chaff rockets in its bomb bay. These systems were collectively referred to as the Phase VI Countermeasures Suite. A takaway from the earlier CCV program (see below) was a modification of the control surfaces and a small flight computer which gave the B-52H greater agility than its earlier cousins.

 

B-52H: Later Iterations

     The B-52H has been the recipient of repeated and heavy modifications; some modifications programs should rightfully earned the B-52H a higher letter designation, despite the fact that this was never done.

     The first such heavy modification was done to 281 B-52Gs and Hs. These modified B-52s began service in 1972. This involved the installation of a rotary-type launcher in for forward bomb bay, designed to carry eight of the then-new SRAM short-Range Attack Missiles, which could carry a nuclear or conventional warhead.  Six further SRAMs could be carried on the wing hardpoints on an MER designed for this purpose.  The B-52Gs and Hs could still carry four Quails in its bomb bay, but in late 1972, the Quails on the B-52H were replaced by the AGM-69A SCAD (Subsonic Cruise Armed Decoy Missile).  Six of these were carried on a rotary launcher in the rear bomb bay; the SCAD was not only a decoy, but could be programmed to, at any point in its flight, to attack a target using a conventional warhead, using either flight programming or using an integral antiradar capability.

     Next, the B-52H sprouted an ever-increasing amount of antennas, both faired and short, but free-standing.  All over the aircraft are antennas for use with the B-52Hs extensive communications suite, including a two secure VLF radios, a pair of extreme-long range secure radios, and a medium-range secure link primarily to communicate with other B-52s and escorts in the same strike package, as well as tanker aircraft.  Fairings on either side of the nose held advanced (for the time) ECM, ECCM, and Deception Jamming transmitters.  Above the radome is a further fairing; this carries a AN/ALT-28 “noise generator,” used for hard jamming of enemy air defenses by filling their scopes with static and false targets. A further fairing on the each side, with a small air intake in front of it, allows the B-52Hs air conditioning and heating to function even without the engines being on. (This is something anyone who has sat on a large aircraft on the ground can appreciate.)  The mechanism also provided cooling for the ECM equipment. The lower fairings on both sides could be steered within its housing to get a better jamming effect.  The AN/ASQ-38 bombing/navigation system was replaced with the up-to-date (at the time) AN/ASQ-176 Offensive Avionics System (OAS).  The OAS gave the B-52H true radar bombing capability and greatly increased radar and bombing accuracy. Also added with the OAS was a FLIR.  This is referred below as the B-52H-1.

     The OAS (Block II) was necessary for the next upgrade: the carriage of the AGM-86B ALCM, also carried on the B-52Hs rotary launchers, and carryable on the wing hardpoints.  Twelve ALCMs could be carried in the bomb bay, and another six on each wing MER. The electronics necessary for operation and aiming of the ALCM were also added, as well as allowing the bombardier to program a flight path, including various turns and other maneuvers.  (Some B-52Gs also received this modification.)  B-52s carrying cruise missiles are fitted with wing root extensions at the front of the wing to allow the Russians to tell whether we have too many B-52s with potential nuclear weapons to comply with treaty obligations (as we did, at the beginning of the modification program). All B-52H bomb bays now had a pair of rotary launchers, which could deliver nuclear weapons, conventional munitions, and most of the tactical missiles in the USAF inventory. This is referred to below as the B-52H-2.

     The next modification was relatively small: the addition of the AN/AVQ-22 Electro-Optical Viewing System.  This was a long-range sight that could be swiveled 45 degrees to either side, 15 degrees upward, and 45 degrees downward.  It also provided long-range LLTV. This sight not only allows the B-52H to identify enemy aircraft at beyond visual range, is allows the crew their first look at a target, again from long range. In 1982, the wing hardpoints of the B-52H (and G) were modified to carry six Harpoon missiles, giving the B-52 an antishipping capability.  The crewmembers on the lower deck were given CCTV monitors to allow them a view outside (these were later replaced flat panels).  The OAS Block II was improved and modified into the Flight Management System, which combined the navigation functions with the Stores Management Overlay (SMO); the SMO facilitated the use of several different types of weapons by merely loading the software for use of a particular weapon into memory.  The SMO function of the FMS would see continual upgrades over the years as new weapons were added to the B-52H’s repertoire – and continues to be upgraded.  This is referred to below as the B-52-3.

     In the mid-1980s, ECM capability and strength was further increased by new equipment in the belly of the B-52H forward of the bomb bay; this resulted in a “farm” of eight blade-type antennas underneath the B-52H.  An IRCM device was also installed, providing more protection against heat-seeking missiles and providing false targets for aircraft with IR seekers.  A datalink device was used, with the antenna atop the rear fuselage; this gave the B-52H a direct link not only with each other, but with AWACS aircraft and ground radars.  The addition of another extreme long-range secure radio allowed contact with ground units. GPS was added to the FMS in the late 1980s.  The OAS Block II was modified into the Block III, which included the AN/APQ-166 Strategic Radar, which had increased range, had a planar-array radar. The longer-ranged AN/AAQ-23 FLIR replaced the AN/AAQ-6. The AN/AVQ-22 EOVS was replaced by the longer-ranged, more flexible, and more reliable AN/AVQ-37.  Another, more general upgrade was done to switch to systems that more availability of spare parts.  These collective modifications are referred to the B-53H-4.

     In October of 1991, the tail gun of the B-52H was deemed unnecessary and was removed.  This meant that the gunner and his station were removed and the remaining functions of the Offensive Systems Operator were folded into a redesigned Offensive/Defensive Systems Operator station; the use of more advanced computers also allowed this integration to take place without unduly increasing the O/DSO’s workload.  Though at first the guns remained on the aircraft and were operated by the O/DSO, they were finally totally removed by 1994.  Interestingly, the tail gunner’s seat, reticle gunsight, and AN/ASG-21 defensive fire control system remained in the tail, though the area was covered over by a bolt-on fairing.  In addition, the tail radar was increased in ability into a full search and tracking radar.

     The mid-1990s also saw communications upgrades for the B-52H.  The AN/ARC-210(V) VHF/UHF replaced the old VHF/UHF radio, and provided the B-52H with secure, long-range communications.  It could be used in LOS or SATCOM modes, and unified the shorter-range communications with other aircraft as well as air-to-ground communications.  The radio set also had a commercial Have Quick I set for communications with civilian aircraft, and a Have Quick II module which gave the set a strong antijamming capability as well as an interface with the SINCGARS radios used by ground units and military helicopters.  It was capable of multiple simultaneous communications, and could be used in manual mode to talk to ships and submarines.

     Another addition was a receive-only radio called the AN/ARR-85(V), letting the aircraft listen to VLF and LF transmissions.  This was meant primarily for the B-52H to be able to receive attack orders even in heavily ionized atmospheric conditions like those during a general nuclear exchange.  The AN/ARR-85(V) was operated by the navigator, who would then print out the orders and give them to the bombardier.  Computers and software developed from commercial counterparts, called Falcon View and Combat Track II, were added; this included three laptop computers which controlled the entire communications and ECM setup.  The computer system made the entire communications, ECM/ECCM, and attack profile much more agile.  The Combat Track II also included a fold-up LCD which functioned as sort of an additional HUD.  The collective developments in the past three paragraphs are called below the B-52H-5.

     In 2000, the B-52H began to receive the Avionics Mid-life Improvement (AMI), which essentially brought the bombing and navigation systems into the 21st century.  AMI replaced the avionics computer and data transfer unit, which under OAS had severe limitations, with full digital capability and supporting advanced data entry such as a trackball for targeting, a digital mapping unit, and modernized the base computer language.  A problem with the B-52H’s navigation capability over the poles was fixed. The AMI was a bit slow in implementation and the AMI was not fully operational until 2006.

     After AMI, the Combat Network Communication Technology (CONECT) replaced all the old, monochrome TV monitors with full-color LCD monitors.  A client/server architecture replaced previous communications technology with other aircraft, ground units, and AWACS aircraft.  The Link-16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) with Windows Mail allowed higher commands to give the crew of the BUFF the ability to change targets or weapons use as needed. It also gave the B-52H a wideband wireless internet and data connection ability.  This upgrade occurred in 2007. A removable Litening II targeting pod allowed the B-52H to use virtually all smart weapons in the USAF inventory.  This upgrade included the modification of the bombardier’s panel into the Advanced Guided Weapon Control Panel (AGWCP).  The Litening Pod was itself upgraded several times to improve resolution, range, coordinates for GPS-guided weapons, and the ability to automatically transfer the BUFF’s weapons complement and targeting information to ground units.  The AGWCP software also transmitted coordinates to ground units in both latitude and longitude and in the grid coordinates used by ground units. Part of the AGWCP included a joystick which resembled that of a gamer’s flight-type joystick. The AN/AAQ-28A(V)3 Litening AT/ISR allowed the B-52H to transmit pictures from the weapons’ receivers to a properly-equipped ground unit or AWACS aircraft (or back to the AWACS).  The two paragraphs above are referred to below as B-52H-6.

     In general, virtually all BUFFs received structural strengthening and improvements throughout their lifetimes.  This is particularly true of the B-52G and H; while the aircraft were older in most cases than their aircrews, many structural components and skin had been replaced several times.  Modifications were legion, including the replacement of whole systems, electronic and electrical. Most B-52Hs are well beyond the original 5000 hours projected for their airframes at the time of their construction.

     As for the designations I am using – B-52H-1 through -6 – these are not official designations, merely designations to easily delineate them.

 

Special BUFFs

     One B-52A went on to serve into the late 2000s; it was modified into the NB-52A configuration and used to launch research aircraft such as the X-15, lifting body aircraft, and the X-37, as well as various scale models of actual aircraft in a pre-prototype testing phase. The NB-52A was getting really long in the tooth by 2001.  It’s supposed replacement was a B-52H, which was heavily-modified for it’s role (but not given an NB designation).  However, NASA contracted such use to Scaled Composites and its White Knight research aircraft, and the modified B-52H was retired in 2006, having never flown a research mission.

     The NB-52E was a part of a larger research program into Controlled Configuration Vehicles (CCVs).  CCVs sport extra aerodynamic surfaces in addition to modifications designed to deliberately cause the aircraft to be unstable and capable of maneuvers that a stock aircraft cannot do. (The B-52E is largely unable to perform most air combat maneuvers.) Special computers allow the unstable to be flown by continually adjusting aerodynamic surfaces, sometimes as much as 20 such corrections per second.  The NB-52E was largely differentiated by it’s bright-colored test paint scheme canards just behind and below the cockpit, and vertical fin under the nose.  Special modifications were designed to reduce the structural bending and control surface flutter which could happen to a B-52 in severe air turbulence.  The flight computer array was linked to sensors literally everywhere in the aircraft. Gyroscopes and accelerometers detected abrupt or unexpected movements of the aircraft and caused the flight computers to jigger the control surface, or the canards and nose fin.  The system, computers, and canards and fin were collectively called the Ride Control System.  In some places, the skin was replaced with anti-radar paint or actual anti-radar materials. Testing started in 1973, but the configuration was never included in actual production B-52s. Though the NB-52E had a bomb bay largely containing instrumentation, I have included a “combat example” below for interest and comparison.  I have given this the designation of “YB-52J”, but let me stress that this is not a real designation.

     Another NB-52E was used to test the B-52 while powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofans, also employed on the Boeing 747.  This was done primarily in an effort to come up with a configuration that required less maintenance and less fuel, and produced 43,500 pounds of thrust apiece.  Ultimately, the costs of re-equipping the entire B-52 fleet got in the way, along with the costs and time to train ground crews on the new engines, train the pilots to proficiency with the new engines, etc, etc, etc.  I have decided to add a “combat version” below. Another NB-52E was used to test a fly-by-wire system, which later reappeared on the B-52H.  As above, I have given this the non-real designation of “YB-52K.”

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: By the Twilight War, the only official service variant was the B-52H, with a fully modern electronic warfare suite and modernized attack center able to conduct both low-level penetration missions and high-altitude bombing with anything from conventional iron bombs to air-launched cruise missiles.  In the Twilight War, they are perhaps best known for the bombing of the Krefeld Salient, where, despite staggering losses, they were able to break the back of the Russian invasion of Germany; and the carpet bombing of Baghdad and the surrounding area, practically reducing the Iraqi capital to total ruins along with most of the Republican Guard in a single 22-hour campaign of non-stop bombing.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

B-52A

$177,497,303

JP5

19.2 tons

187.5 tons

6+1

166

Weather Radar, Radar, Bombing Radar

Shielded

B-52B

$186,844.635

JP5

20.57 tons

200.89 tons

6+1

176

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing Radar

Shielded

RB-52B

$1,265,960,000

JP5

2.57 tons

45.44 tons

8+1

186

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar

Shielded

B-52C

$187,226,535

JP5

20.57 tons

200.89 tons

6+1

176

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar

Shielded

B-52D

$166,228,788

JP5

20.57 tons

200.89 tons

6+1

180

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar

Shielded

B-52D (Big Belly)

$182,851,667

JP5

26.79 tons

207.11 tons

6+1

186

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar

Shielded

B-52E

$232,960,809

JP5

19.2 tons

200.89 tons

6+1

181

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar

Shielded

B-52F

$286,089,129

JP5

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

124

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran

Shielded

B-52G

$211,325.360

JP5

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

124

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran

Shielded

B-52H

$247,281,408

JP5

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

125

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

B-52H-1

$231,749,000

 

JP6

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

130

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FIR

Shielded

B-52H-2

$292,749,000

JP6

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

132

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

B-52H-3

$492,189,088

JP6

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

135

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

B-52H-4

$448,399,872

JP6

22.32 tons

217.68 tons

6+1

136

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

B-52H-5

$457,750,528

JP6

22.32 tons

216.02 tons

5+1

138

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

B-52H-6

$683,145,600

JP6

22.32 tons

216.02 tons

5+1

140

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

YB-52J

$798,529,728

JP-6

20.09 tons

221.41 tons

6+1

153

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

YB-52K

$683,187,264

JP-6

22.32 tons

211.73 tons

6+1

140

Weather Radar, Radar, Tail Radar, Bombing/Mapping Radar, Doppler Radar, Loran, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

B-52A

1960

914 (169)

NA  122  4/2  60/50

134761

7316

15420

B-52B

1838

857 (169)

NA  114  4/2  60/50

134761

9857

14417

RB-52B

1838

857 (169)

NA  114  4/2  60/50

134761

9857

14417

B-52C

1894

942 (169)

NA  125  4/2  60/50

135139

9857

13960

B-52D

1894

942 (169)

NA  125  4/2  60/50

135139

9857

13960

B-52D (Big Belly)

1879

934 (169)

NA  124  4/2  60/50

135139

9936

13960

B-52E

1894

942 (169)

NA  125  4/2  60/50

135139

9857

14082

B-52F

1894

942 (169)

NA  130  4/2  60/50

157295

9857

14234

B-52G

1974

982 (169)

NA  135  4/2  60/50

181853

10277

14326

B-52H/B-52H-1

1992

920 (170)

NA  127  5/2  70/40

1133481

12291

14539

B-52H-2/3/4

2070

1992 (160)

NA  175  5/2  70/40

1133481

12291

14539

B-52H-5/6

2091

2012 (155)

NA  177  5/2  70/40

1133481

11062

14539

YB-52J

2039

1962 (140)

NA  173  6/4  80/35

1133481

11339

14539

YB-52K

2099

2020 (160)

NA  178  5/2  70/40

1133481

10620

15993

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

B-52A

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (35 Each), RWR, ECM (-3), ECCM (+3), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+1 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52B

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (35 Each), RWR, ECM (-3), ECCM (+3), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+1 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

RB-52B

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (40 Each), RWR, ECM (-5), ECCM (+5), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, ELINT

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+1 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52C

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (40 Each), RWR, ECM (-3), ECCM (+3), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+1 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52D

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (48 Chaff, 563 Flares), RWR, ECM (-5), ECCM (+5), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+1 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52E

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (48 Chaff, 563 Flares), RWR, ECM (-6), ECCM (+5), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+2 (Both)

4xM-2HB, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52F

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (48 Chaff, 563 Flares), RWR, ECM (-7), ECCM (+6), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +2 (Tail Guns)

4xM-3, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

600x.50

B-52G

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (60 Chaff, 580 Flares), RWR, ECM (-8), ECCM (+6), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

20mm M-61 Vulcan, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

1242x20mm

B-52H

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (75 Chaff, 600 Flares), 10 Chaff Rockets, RWR, ECM (-8), ECCM (+7), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

20mm M-61 Vulcan, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

1242x20mm

B-52H

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (75 Chaff, 600 Flares), 10 Chaff Rockets, RWR, ECM (-8), ECCM (+7), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, VLF/LR Radios Secure Radios, TFR, Inertial Navigation

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

20mm M-61 Vulcan, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

1242x20mm

B-52H-1/2/3/4

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (75 Chaff, 600 Flares), 10 Chaff Rockets, RWR, ECM (-8), ECCM (+7), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, TFR, Inertial Navigation, GPA

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

20mm M-61 Vulcan, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

1242x20mm

B-52H-5/6

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (75 Chaff, 600 Flares), 10 Chaff Rockets, RWR, ECM (-9), ECCM (+8), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, VLF/LR Radios Secure Radios, TFR, LRTV, Inertial Navigation, GPS

2200/2600m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

Nil

YB-52J

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (75 Chaff, 600 Flares), 10 Chaff Rockets, RWR, ECM/Stealth Skin (-11), ECCM (+8), Radio Jamming (1 Level), Magnetic Compass, Gyrocompass, Secure Radios, VLF/LR Radios Secure Radios, TFR, LRTV, Inertial Navigation, GPS

2000/2400m Hardened Runway

+3 (Bombing) or +3 (Tail Gun)

20mm M-61 Vulcan, 2xExtra Large Hardpoints, 2 Wet Hardpoints, Double Bomb Bay

1242x20mm

 

F-111 Aardvark

     Notes: Despite the designation, this is not a fighter, but is in fact a medium bomber.  It has variable geometry (swing) wings, which change the sweep angle automatically according to speed.  The aircraft has four hardpoints and an internal bomb bay.  In the F-111E, this normally carries up to 1.8 tons of weapons, or a 20mm Vulcan pod with 2084 rounds of ammunition; in the F-111F, this bay carries the Pave Tack pod, but the Pave Tack pod may be removed and internal weapons carried instead.  If internal weapons only are carried, the weapons do not count when determining agility or turning.  The F-111 uses an escape pod instead of ejection seats; the entire cockpit is ejected in an aerodynamic shell, and lowered on a parachute.  This pod floats.  The F-111 is capable of in-flight refueling and nuclear weapons delivery.  In addition to the USAF, the Aardvark is used by Australia.

     The F-111A was the first model.  It had a checkered history, suffering several mysterious crashes during its first deployments to the Vietnam War.  It was one of the first operational aircraft to use a variable-geometry (“swing”) wing, allowing good performance at high and low speeds and a comparatively short takeoff and landing run.  Compared to later Aardvarks, the F-11A was a relatively primitive aircraft, with unsophisticated ECM systems, bombsights that were heavily slaved to the radar (if performing radar or level bombing only, RF is +2), and the swing wing was not automatic.  The F-111B was to be a naval interceptor version of this aircraft (the Phoenix missile was in fact originally designed for the F-111B), but this version was cancelled.  The F-111C is the Australian Air Force version; it is an F-111A with the longer wings of the FB-111A, more hardpoints, a reinforced undercarriage, and upgraded radar, bomb delivery systems, and ECM.  The F-111D has different engines, a flight computer that controls the swing wing and other flight functions, improved air-to-air capability, and a glass cockpit.

     The F-111E, though later in the letter designation, came before the F-111D.  It was a stopgap model, produced for use in Vietnam because the advanced avionics of the F-111D were not yet fully tested.  The bombing system and ECM suite are better than the F-111A, but it is otherwise an A model.

     The F-111F is an advanced D model.  It has more powerful engines, and an advanced avionics suite including the Pave Tack system, which is an array of sensors, designators, and vision devices that grant great accuracy in bombing.  No F-111Fs were lost in combat until late in the Twilight War. 

     The FB-111A is a strategic bomber variant of the F-111.  It was supposed to bridge the gap between the B-52 and B-58 and the B-1, but the B-52 soldiered on and the B-58 left service.  It has a longer fuselage and wings increased in span by over 2 meters, both to increase cruise range and allow the mounting of more hardpoints.  The avionics were slightly better than that of the F-111E, but not as advanced as the F-111F.  In addition, navigation and computing power was greater.  The F-111G is an FB-111A converted to the tactical bombing role, with improved attack and avionics systems.

     The EF-111A Raven replaced the EB-66 electronic warfare aircraft.  It is a conversion of the F-111A, with the addition of advanced electronic warfare systems.  It does not carry weapons, and its hardpoints may mount electronic warfare equipment or drop tanks only.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-111A

$5,491472

AvG

13.64 tons

44.93 tons

2

50

Radar

Shielded

F-111C

$5,625,410

AvG

13.64 tons

45.03 tons

2

52

Radar

Shielded

F-111D

$6,334,823

AvG

13.64 tons

45.44 tons

2

52

Radar

Shielded

F-111E

$5,527,943

AvG

13.64 tons

45.04 tons

2

52

Radar

Shielded

F-111F

$7,263,572

AvG

14.23 tons

45.36 tons

2

48

Radar, (With Pave Tack) FLIR, Image Intensification

Shielded

F-111G

$7,466,306

AvG

17.05

53.2 tons

2

56

Radar

Shielded

FB-111A

$6,719,712

AvG

17.05 tons

54.21 tons

2

58

Radar

Shielded

EF-111A

$6,295,842

AvG

13.64 tons

40.39 tons

2

60

Radar

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-111A/C/D/E, EF-111A

4650

1162 (105)

NA  291  5/3  50/35

19089

7689

20117

F-111F

5330

1333 (105)

NA  333  5/3  50/35

19089

13760

18290

FB-111A/F-111G

4650

1162 (105)

NA  291  5/3  50/35

18964

7861

15320

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-111A

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+1 or +2

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 6 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

2084x20mm (Optional)

F-111C

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+2

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 8 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

2084x20mm (Optional)

F-111D

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR, HUD Interface, Track While Scan, Auto Track

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 6 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

2084x20mm (Optional)

F-111E

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 6 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

2084x20mm (Optional)

F-111F

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, HUD Interface, Auto Track, Track While Scan, TFR, (With Pave Tack) Laser Designator

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+3, (With Pave Tack) +4

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 6 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

(Optional) 2084x20mmM61

F-111G

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR, Auto Track, Track While Scan

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 8 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

(Optional) 2084x20mmM61

FB-111A

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan (Optional), 8 Hardpoints, Internal Bomb Bay

2084x20mm (Optional)

EF-111A

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, ECM, TFR, Deception Jamming, Active Jamming, Radio Jamming, Chaff Rockets (4), HUD Interface

1400/1105m Hardened Runway

None

6 Hardpoints

None