USA F-111.net   F-111 Aardvark OZ


F-111 Weapon Loads

By Jim Rotramel

Each of the four pivoting pylons could carry stores attached directly or suspended from bomb release units (BRU), which were more aerodynamic variants of the multiple ejector racks (MER) carried by other fighters. In theory, each BRU-3A/A could hold up to six 1,000-pound class bombs, allowing for carriage of 24 bombs from the four inboard wing stations. However, in practice they were almost always carried from the outboard pylons (stations 3 and 6) only, with the inboard pylons left empty.
The Minicraft F-111E kit included a pair of BRU-3A/As, but they're a bit on the dainty side. Scaledown has produced a much more convincing set. They come with an option of several kinds of bombs.
Up to four pylon-mounted stores could be carried or BRU-mounted loads of eight high-drag 750-lb cluster bomb units (CBU) or 12 low-drag 500-lb bombs. Although larger loads could be (and on occasion were) carried, the above loadings offered the most reasonable tradeoff between combat range and firepower. If the bottom BRU stations were empty, the load was called a 'flat four'; when the inboard BRU stations were empty, it was a 'slant four'.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Paveway I variants of the GBU-10/-12 were used occasionally for training missions, but Paveway IIs and (beginning in the late 1980s) Paveway IIIs were more common for training and were the only LGBs used in combat.
Only two GBU-15s were carried operationally, always on the outboard py-lons to prevent inadvertently breaking the bombs' wings (and poking holes in the aircraft's skin!) by sweeping the aircraft wings too far back. The same restriction applied to the rocket-boosted AGM-130 variant. Only F-111Fs fitted with the AXQ-14 data-link pod on the aft ECM pod station could guide these weapons. As noted previously, when this happened, the ECM pod was carried on the forward station.
Nuclear weapons were a vital part of F-111's Cold War mission. B43 weapons were available until the mid-1980s and B57s until the late-1980s. B61s entered service in the late 1960s, and B83s in the late 1980s. All of these weapons were qualified for use with F-111s, with the B61 being of primary importance. In addition, the AGM-69 SRAM was qualified for use on the FB-111A. F-111C/G and EF-111As never carried nukes.
Sidewinders were considered optional equipment because they were pri-marily daylight weapons. Starting about 1983, AIM-9 launchers were loaded on stations 3A and 6A, mounted halfway up the outside of the out-board pylons. Although modifications to allow carriage of AIM-9L/Ms from these stations were studied, because of clearance problems with the aircraft wings, only short-winged AIM-9P-4s were carried there; AIM-9L/Ms had to be carried on launchers mounted on the bottom of the pylons. Except for GBU-12s, precision-guided munitions (PGM) precluded use of stations 3A and 6A for AIM-9 carriage. During Desert Storm, Sidewinders were only carried on the first night by a few aircraft.
Stateside F-111s carried the SUU-20 practice bomb dispensers. Usually, these were carried on the inboard pylons, with BRUs loaded outboard. European-based F-111s substituted SUU-21 dispensers, which helped pre-vent inadvertent releases by enclosing the bombs between releases.
EF-111As normally flew without pylons unless carrying MXU-648 bag-gage pods (old BLU-1 napalm tanks with a door fitted in the side) or the airborne instrumentation system (AIS) pods used during exercises like Red Flag. They carry no operational stores.

F-111A Vietnam

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

6 M117 LDGP

pylon

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

Combat Lancer only

not used

not used

6 Mk 82

pylon

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

SE or LDGP

not used

not used

6 Mk 82

6 Mk 82

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

LDGP-Cambodia

not used

not used

Mk 84 LDGP

Mk 84 LDGP

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

not used

not used

4 SUU-30B

4 SUU-30 B

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

slant 4 load

Gun installed in weapons bay

F-111A Vietnam (Combat Lancer)

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

6 M117 LDGP

pylon

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

Gun installed in right weapons bay; AIM-9B on trapeze in left weapons bay.

F-111A Vietnam (Constant Guard V)

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

6 Mk 82

pylon

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

SE or LDGP

not used

not used

6 Mk 82

6 Mk 82

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

LDGP-Cambodia

not used

not used

Mk 84 LDGP

Mk 84 LDGP

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

not used

not used

4 SUU-30B

4 SUU-30 B

fwd ALQ-87

aft ALQ-87

slant 4 load

                 Gun installed in right weapons bay.

FB-111A Cold War (postulated)

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

fuel tank

not used

fuel tank

B61 or B43

B61 or B43

none

rt. fuel cell in bay

fuel tank

not used

fuel tank

AGM-69A

B61 or B43

none

rt. fuel cell in bay

fuel tank

not used

fuel tank

fuel tank

2 AGM-69A

none

fuel tank

not used

fuel tank

AGM-69A

2 AGM-69A

none

B83 probably not operational,based on FB-111A drawdown as Cold War ends.

An F-111F carrying two GBU-15(V)-1s, an AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod on the front station and an AN/AXQ-14 data link pod on the aft station.

An AN/AXQ-14 data link pod mounted on the aft station of an F-111F.

F-111D/E/F Cold War (postulated)

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

optional

6 Mk 82

pylon

optional

aft ECM

LDGP, SE or AIR

not used

optional

6 Mk 20

pylon

optional

aft ECM

not used

optional

Mk 84

Mk 84

optional

aft ECM

LDGP or AIR

not used

optional

4 SUU-30H

pylon

optional

aft ECM

slant 4 load

not used

optional

6 BLU-107

pylon

optional

aft ECM

from mid-1980s

not used

not used

pylon

B57 on 4 or 5

not used

aft ECM

one bomb only

not used

not used

pylon

B61 or B57

not used

QRC 80-01

F-111D only

not used

not used

fuel tank

B61

not used

aft ECM

 

not used

not used

fuel tank

B61

B61 or B43

aft ECM

rt. fuel cell in bay

Gun optional in weapons bay until early 1980s. Pave Tack pod normal on F-111Fs   thereafter. ECM pods were ALQ-87 in early-1970s, medium-length ALQ-119 until early-1980s, then shallow ALQ-131.

F-111A/C/D/E/F/G Training

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

optional

6 Mk 82

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

LDGP, SE, or AIR

not used

optional

Mk 84

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

LDGP or AIR

not used

optional

6 Mk 20

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

 

not used

optional

GBU-10

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

Paveway I or II

not used

optional

GBU-12

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

Paveway I or II

not used

optional

GBU-24

SUU-20/21

optional

optional

 

AIM-9E or P-CAP common on 3A or 6A; if at a ‘Flag’ exercise AIS pod on the other shoulder station. SUU-20 used in U. S. and by F-111C, while SUU-21 was used in Europe. While USAF F-111s almost always carried these practice dispensers inboard, on F-111Cs they were more often carried on the outboard pylons.Pave Tack normal for F-111C or F-111F, while others use bay doors or gun, except for F-111G, which only used bay doors. ECM pods were as per war loads, none for F-111C or F-111G.

F-111C

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

AGM-84

AGM-84

optional

not used

Harpoon Anit-Ship Missile

not used

not used

fuel tank

AGM-88

optional

not used

not used

not used

AGM-88

AGM-88

optional

not used

not used

AIM-9B opt

6 Karinga

4 Karinga

optional

not used

Australian CBU

not used

AIM-9B opt

6 Mk 82

6 Mk 82

optional

not used

LDGP or SE

not used

AIM-9B opt

Mk 84 LDGP

Mk 84 LDGP

optional

not used

not used

not used

GBU-10E

GBU-10E

AVQ-26

not used

Paveway II

not used

not used

GBU-12B

GBU-12B

AVQ-26

not used

Paveway II

not used

not used

GBU-15

pylon

optional

not used

(V)-1

Pave Tack normal after mid-1980s.

Editors note:  Now also AIM-9M on 3/4/5/6 and extended adaptors 3A/6A; Mk82 AIR, GBU-24 A/B, B/B, AGM-142, Data Link Pod and ELTA 8222 ECM Pod.

F-111F El Dorado Canyon

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

6 Mk 82 AIR

pylon

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

Tripoli Airfield

not used

not used

GBU-10E

GBU-10E

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

HQ & Terr. Camp

Gulf War BombLoads
All of the GBU-15 standoff weapons expended used Mk 84 warheads. Both long- and short-chord wings used (slightly more of the latter), and 62 had IIR seekers against only eight with EO guidance. Only 493 TFS aircrew were qualified to employ GBU-15s, aircraft from all teams but Indy were used to deliver them. An aircraft carrying the AN/AXQ-14 pod controlled the bomb, which was usually launched from another aircraft

The F-111Fs’ primary weapons were LGBs. It was very common, especially during the early part of the war, for aircraft to only carry two LGBs on the outboard pylons. The “Bridge Mix” was composed of GBU-10J/Bs (BLU-109 warheads) on the left wing and GBU-10E/Bs (Mk 84 warheads) on the right wing. This configuration was based on releasing two bombs per pass per pass, first one ‘hard’ GBU-10J/B for its penetration effect followed by a ‘soft’ GBU-10E/B for blast and fragmentation.

During periods of bad weather, a mixed load of either GBU-10s or GBU-24s, and Mk 84s was used. When the weather was good, the GBUs would be dropped on pinpoint targets, if bad, the Mk 84s would be employed for area bombing. Apparently using the same logic, some aircraft used mixed loads of inboard GBU-24s and outboard GBU-10s. GBU-12s were used to attack Iraqi tank and artillery concentrations prior to the start of the ground war.

On 27 February, the final night of the war, two F-111Fs each delivered a single GBU-28/B ‘Deep Throat’ bomb against a deep command bunker at Al Taji AB, from the left outboard pylon. The GBU-28 70-2391 hit where it was aimed but missed the bunker. However, the bomb dropped from 70-2387 scored a direct hit. The Mk 84 ‘ballast’ bombs on the right outboard stations were expended on Al Taqaddum AB, west of Baghdad.

Specific Gulf War bomb loads are listed in the following tables. In general, F-111Es dropped unguided bombs and F-111Fs dropped predominantly guided bombs. There were discrepancies between the official records and those maintained by the units, but the following table (based on unit records) will provide a good yardstick as to which loads were most commonly used. The sortie percentages are notional and based on the typical quantity carried on a mission. Unless specifically noted otherwise, only one kind of ordnance was carried on a given sortie.

F-111E Proven Force  

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

AIM-9P opt

6 Mk 82 

1 Mk 82 

not used

aft ALQ-131

AIR or LDGP fins

not used

AIM-9P opt

6 Mk 82 

pylon

not used

aft ALQ-131

AIR or LDGP fins

not used

AIM-9P opt

1 Mk 84

1 Mk 84

not used

aft ALQ-131

AIR or LDGP fins

not used

AIM-9P opt

4 SUU-30H/B

pylon

not used

aft ALQ-131

CBU-58/-71

not used

AIM-9P opt

4 Mk 20

pylon

not used

aft ALQ-131

Rockeye

not used

AIM-9P opt

1 CBU-87

1 CBU-87

not used

aft ALQ-131

CEM

not used

AIM-9P opt

1 CBU-89

1 CBU-89

not used

aft ALQ-131

Gator

Gulf War F-111 Bombs

Bomb F-111E F-111F
Qty Sorties Qty Sorties

Mk 82

2,587

46%

12

0%

Mk 84

509

31%

146

2%

Mk 20 Rockeye

32

1%

CBU-58

256

8%

CBU-71

123

4%

CBU-87 CEM

100

6%

530

9%

CBU-89 Gator

68

4%

212

4%

GBU-10E (Mk 84)

469

8%

GBU-10J (BLU-109)

389

7%

GBU-12

2,542

44%

GBU-15 (Mk 84)

70

5%

GBU-24 (Mk 84)

270

5%

GBU-24A (BLU-109)

924

16%

GBU-28 (BLU-113)

2

0%

F-111F Desert Storm  

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

AIM-9P opt

6 Mk 82 AIR

pylon

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

493 acft-1st night

not used

AIM-9P opt

CBU-87

CBU-87

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

CEM

not used

AIM-9P opt

CBU-89

CBU-89

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

Gator-1st week

not used

not used

GBU-15

pylon

fwd ALQ-131

aft AXQ-14

(V)-1/2/21/22

not used

not used

GBU-10E

GBU-10E

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

sta 4/5 opt

not used

not used

GBU-10J

GBU-10J

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

sta 4/5 opt

not used

not used

GBU-10J/E

GBU-10J/E

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

‘Bridge Mix’

not used

not used

GBU-24

GBU-24

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

sta 4/5 opt

not used

not used

GBU-24A

GBU-24A

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

sta 4/5 opt

not used

not used

GBU-24A

Mk 84

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

26 Jan 91

not used

not used

GBU-24

GBU-10

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

bad weather

not used

not used

GBU-24

AIM-9P opt

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

/B or A/B

not used

not used

GBU-10E

AIM-9P opt

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

E/B or J/B

not used

not used

GBU-12D

GBU-12D

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

sta 4/5 opt

not used

not used

GBU-28 left

pylon

AVQ-26

aft ALQ-131

Mk 84 LDGP right

F-111F Post Desert Storm (additional)

Sta 2/7

Sta 3/6A

Sta 3/6

Sta 4/5

Wpn Bay

ECM Pod

Remarks

not used

not used

AGM-130

pylon

fwd ALQ-131

aft AXQ-14

524th FS only.

Base location of this page http://www.F-111.net/models/weaponsloads/index.htm


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