General Dynamics F-111K Merlin: The Vark goes British

Would you like to see this in game?
  • Yes, as a TT Vehicle
  • Yes, as a Premium Vehicle
  • Yes, as a Squadron Vehicle
  • Yes as an Event/BP Vehicle
  • No!

0 voters

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General Dynamics F-111K Merlin

Hello and welcome to my suggestion for the F-111K Merlin, an interesting and unique version of the F-111 coming to the game. I feel this would be a valid addition to the game as it would provide an interesting variant of the Vark often forgotten to history.

History

Spoiler

The F-111K project was born out of the uncertainty and political games that plagued the TSR.2 project, due to the loss of the RAAF as a potential export country for the TSR.2, Australia choosing to select the F-111C instead, the RAF began to search for a cheaper alternative to the TSR.2 and in 1965 despite popular support in the government for the continuation of the TSR.2 the project was cancelled and the RAF began looking into acquiring up to 110 F-111s.

in 1966 The RAF initially announced its intention to purchase 50 F-111s modified to suit British Requirements, The plan was to equip 4 initial squadrons with the modified F-111s to replace the aging Vulcan, Valiant, Victor and Canberra squadrons. In April 1966 a firm order was placed for an initial 10 F-111Ks with options for a further 40 in both standard F-111K and TF-111K variants.

The first two aircraft began assembly in mid 1967 and were intended as development aircraft to test the airframe, weaponry and avionics before being refitted into frontline aircraft, in 1968 the two aircraft had reached the final stages of construction at General Dynamics Plant in Fort Worth, Texas when the British government announced that the majority of British forces based east of the Suez canal would be withdrawn and as a majority of the Future Aardvarks were intended to be based there, the decision was made to cancel the F-111K project all together. The two aircraft in construction were subsequently renamed YF-111As and intended to be used as test aircraft for the US F-111A program however the USAF decided not to take over ownership of the two aircraft and General Dynamics was ordered to use the airframes for component recovery.

Specifications and Armament

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  • Crew: 2 (pilot and weapons system operator)

  • Length: 22.4 m (73 ft 0 in)

  • Height: 5.22 m (17 ft 1 in)

  • Wingspan:

    • Spread: 19.2 m (63.0 ft)
    • Swept: 9.75 m (32 ft)
  • Wing area: Spread: 61.07 m² (657.4 ft²), Swept: 48.77 m² (525 ft²)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 afterburning turbofan engines, 17,900 lbf (80 kN) thrust each dry, 25,100 lbf (112 kN) with afterburner

  • Maximum speed: 1,434 kn (1,650 mph, 2,656 km/h)/ Mach 2.5 at altitude, 795 kn (915 mph; 1,472 km/h) / Mach 1.2 at sea level

  • Range: 3,210 nmi (3,690 mi, 5,940 km)

  • Ferry range: 3,210 nmi (3,690 mi, 5,940 km) with external drop tanks

  • Service ceiling: 66,000 ft (20,000 m)

  • g limits: +7.33

  • Rate of climb: 25,890 ft/min (131.5 m/s)

  • Wing loading: 126 lb/sq ft (620 kg/m2) spread, 158 lb/sq ft (771 kg/m2) wings swept

  • Hardpoints: 9 in total (8 × under-wing, 1 × under fuselage in weapons bay)

  • Capable of carrying a variety of similar armament to the standard F-111 including Aim-9s, GP bombs and guided Munitions like the GBU-12 and GBU-28 Paveway.

Pictures

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An F-111 Aardvark, the aircraft the F-111K was based on.

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The Two airframes during construction at Fort Worth, Texas before cancelation

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Image Showing the similarities and differences between the F-111K and standard F-111A/ FB-111 Variants

F-111K in game

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In game the F-111K would be a heavier tornado, Faster, Better armament, etc. However it would provide a unique variant of the F-111 that few people know of and would be a testament to the end of the TSR.2 project it was born out of, I feel it would either fit into the game well as a gap filler between the buccaneer S.2 and the Tornado GR.1 that the TT so badly needs, another place it could fit in game is as a high tier Event or Squadron vehicle for people to obtain given its rarity and lack of a complete airframe

Sources

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General Dynamics F-111K - Wikipedia
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark - Wikipedia
General Dynamics F-111K (Aardvark)

2 Likes

No, I’d rather see the TSR.2.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m one of those guys who doesn’t want every potential vehicle in every tree, only because at some point it was evaluated or considered.

A unique local development/prototype however is something else, and in my opinion more interesting to be added.

17 Likes

Yeah, TSR.2 would be better, just given past additions it would be more likely for britain to get this than a whole new model, in my opinion at least

2 Likes

I totally support this. The TSR.2 should also come, but this looks fun as heck. I like the idea of it as a squadron vehicle. +1

5 Likes

Hm, I thought about this again, and think that if a F-111 should come to the British tree, it should come as the Aussie variant…

6 Likes

No, no variant of the F-111 should be in the British tree.

1 Like

Why not?

The F111K would be a unique variant of the F111 to britain, it would be a good option for a squadron vehicle

5 Likes

Because it was never built, and Britain doesn’t need it as the Jaguars are the same thing, trading pure bombload and amount of missiles for better flight performance and vastly better missiles and laser bombs.

UK TT has the Australian Vark as a possibility. I wouldnt want another paper vehicle when there is a perfectly serviceable commonwealth alternative.

1 Like

Hopefully not, UK doesn’t need it as the Jaguars take its place at 10.0-11.0 and the Tornados take its place at 11.0-12.0, with even better Jaguar and Tornado variants still to be added to Britain.

In addition, it would take away the uniqueness of the F-111 from the US tree, and we don’t need more diluting of every tree, especially Britain which “can” (but shouldn’t) get basically every possible vehicle because of colonisation (even though Commonwealth is a really bad argument).

If you want an F-111, play the US tree where it rightfully belongs, and only in the US tree.

the jaguars are strike aircraft whereas the Vark is a jet bomber, and considering the V-bombers have been denied for the foreseeable future I think this is a possibility, you are perfectly entitled to your own opinion but if Russia can have its T-90s thrown into other trees, and the US can have the Boarhound then I think Britain could get this, its more credible than about half of the Japanese tree late WW2, and isn’t much behind the Yak-141 in credibility given it was cancelled so close to completion

@Aurelian_ROW

that’s fine as well, just commonwealth vehicles are very hit and miss on where they go, id expect the Australian Vark to go to the US as a SQV like the M1A1 AIM but who knows with gaijin?

1 Like

+1 for the UK tree, would make for a cool addition in the bomber line before the Tonka

3 Likes

-1, just get the Australian one instead.

1 Like

Am I right in thinking that due to the swivel pylons this F-111 should be able to sweep its wings whilst laden (otherwise what’s the point).

Also +1, bought by the UK, UK specification. More ‘British’ than an alternative. I don’t think we need it, but if we were getting any F-111 i’d want it to be the F-111K.

3 Likes

Yes, the two inner pylons on each wing swivel, meaning you can sweep the wings with them, however the two outer ones were fixed so you woundnt be able to sweep the wings with ordinance on them

3 Likes

Another point for it then as it would be unique in terms of flight performance compared to other F-111’s. Thanks for responding.

2 Likes

No problem man :)

One thing i think people dont realise is just how different the F-111K is compared to the standard variants, its not just an american airframe with a few pieces here and there changed to fit british needs ( like the phantoms), its an almost completely redesigned airframe with several major differences s compared to the F-111A its derived from

3 Likes

The wikipedia does a poor job, you’d be reasonable to conclude its barely different from any other variant. I know I did until i saw this post.

1 Like

Yeah i had no idea until i started researching it, theres a shocking amount of forums and wikis that list it as being just a british version of the F111A with the FB-111 gear, but theres several major changes that are both visible and under the hood

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This diagram helps show
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The wings and hard points are unique, it has a unique set of recon gear and central hard point, and has a unique aerial refuling boom, id say its enough to justify it as a seperate version from the standard one

2 Likes

Couple that with the ability to fly supersonic whilst laden which at least the current one and its definitely unique and probably better too.

2 Likes