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Mystery F-111: VTOL? Seaplane? Something else?

Orionblamblam

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I've been pondering over this illustration for years now, trying to determine just what it shows. My first reaction, years ago, was that it shows an F-111 with lift-fan doors in the top of an extended forward fuselage. Now I'm not so sure.

Higher rez images here:
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=4122

Looking at the lower fuselage, it looks like a flying boat lower hull.

WTF???
 

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Skybolt

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It is a VTOL, or extreme STOL. Maybe someone else knows more.
 

sferrin

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Just my two cents but it looks like the wings are smaller than a standard F-111. This (among the other details) makes me wonder if it were an effort to significantly increase low altitude speed. The lift engines would be to enable it to still get off the ground in a reasonable distance similar in concept to the various Russian STOL demonstrators but with the higher fineness ratio and smaller wings it should have a better ride (higher wing loading) at low altitude and perhaps the body shaping is to improve body lift or move the CP forward a bit (and more fuel). ???
 

Stargazer2006

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I don't think this could be a hull. The distance between the wing and the water would be much too small, making the lift-off very difficult I think. Flying-boats have a higher elevation, mid- or high-wing, floats under the wings (or at the wingtips). The latter is simply not possible with a VG configuration (how do you stabilize the fighter laterally without wing floats?)
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I'm loking at the tail and engine arrangement, and I'm wondering if this was an alternate condition for the "H"-model Vark.
 

fightingirish

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For me it's looks like a STOL version of a F-111.
But the big question for me is:
Does it have an internal weapon bay, a small one behind the lift engines, or is it deleted for more fuel?
 

Matej

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Stargazer2006 said:
I don't think this could be a hull. The distance between the wing and the water would be much too small, making the lift-off very difficult I think. Flying-boats have a higher elevation, mid- or high-wing, floats under the wings (or at the wingtips). The latter is simply not possible with a VG configuration (how do you stabilize the fighter laterally without wing floats?)

I agree and add that the position of the air intakes and nozzles is far from ideal for the operations on the water.
 

SOC

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XP67_Moonbat said:
I'm loking at the tail and engine arrangement, and I'm wondering if this was an alternate condition for the "H"-model Vark.

Looking at the tail section of the model, I was thinking the exact same thing.
 

dragon72

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The extra 'hull' along the bottom may be just to increase the vertical height to fit the STOL engines. Notice how it ends just under the wing. There doesn't appear to be any modifications under the rear engines to denote them rotating for VTOL so the new engines are for STOL only.

As for the wings being smaller, I believe that's just an optical allusion due to the increased size of the aircraft.

Just thought of something else. They could be eject-able passenger modules. That'd be a fun ride :)
 

Abraham Gubler

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This would appear to be an F-111 further customised for the USAF requirement away from the more common, to the US Navy F-111B, F-111A. Part of the USAF mission was a rough field shorter takeoff than legacy aircraft which one of the reasons OSD was attracted to combining TFX with the US Navy Phoenix fighter. So add lift jets would further this airfield requirement to a very short takeoff and landing, very 1960s. It would not appear to be VTOL as the cruise engine nozzles do not appear to be rotating. The other major change is the additional length and streamlining which was pulled from the F-111A so it could land on carriers. If lift jets were placed where they appear to be there would still be space aft for the bomb bay. There would probably be a lot more fuel up forward as well.
 

Skybolt

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The tail section could house thrust -vectoring (one-dimension) nozzles. I think the wings look smaller only because the fuselage is much longer than the normal F-111s, both regular and stretched. Regarding this, a wild suggestion. There is another F-111 proposed variant that's known existed but on which there aren't data, the 111-3-M. COULD be that that had the fuselage of this one, with lift engine and thrust vectoring deleted to make space for a third crewmember, additional fuel and maybe internal stores. It's a pity that Convair Fort Worth hasn't anything like the SDAM (AFAIK). All in all the TFX/F-111 lineage confirms itself as the least known of major recent aircraft programs.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Comparisons. Its clearly a lot longer than the stretched F-111H even, and differs in so many details that its hard to see it as a variant.
 

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sferrin

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Skybolt said:
The tail section could house thrust -vectoring (one-dimension) nozzles. I think the wings look smaller only because the fuselage is much longer than the normal F-111s, both regular and stretched. Regarding this, a wild suggestion. There is another F-111 proposed variant that's known existed but on which there aren't data, the 111-3-M. COULD be that that had the fuselage of this one, with lift engine and thrust vectoring deleted to make space for a third crewmember, additional fuel and maybe internal stores. It's a pity that Convair Fort Worth hasn't anything like the SDAM (AFAIK). All in all the TFX/F-111 lineage confirms itself as the least known of major recent aircraft programs.

FWIW there were also plans for TF-30s all the way up to 30,000lbs+
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Re small-looking wings: The wings of conventional airplanes are generally sized by the takeoff and landing requirements. A VTOL can get by with smaller wings relative to its size since they don't have to produce as much lift at takeoff and landing speeds. That would support the supposition that ii represents a V/STOL design study.
 

AeroFranz

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Re increased fuselage depth - Does anyone know what lift engine was considered? the deeper fuselage could be the result of having to house the lift engines stacked vertically including associated inlets and nozzles of sorts - just a guess
 

Skybolt

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Lift engines were at least 8. An educated guess would be Continental J-69 (Model 356), derivative from Marborè II, 1,920 lbs max thrust, proposed for use in some VAX Lockheed studies.
 

Skybolt

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I suspect that all he has on this is that same picture....
 

AeroFranz

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Skybolt said:
Lift engines were at least 8. An educated guess would be Continental J-69 (Model 356), derivative from Marborè II, 1,920 lbs max thrust, proposed for use in some VAX Lockheed studies.

Any chance the dedicated lift jets designed by RR would have been used instead? Rb.162 and the like? When designed specifically for the role, you could get pretty high thrust to weight ratios on these engines (10:1 being easily achieved)
 

sferrin

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AeroFranz said:
Skybolt said:
Lift engines were at least 8. An educated guess would be Continental J-69 (Model 356), derivative from Marborè II, 1,920 lbs max thrust, proposed for use in some VAX Lockheed studies.

Any chance the dedicated lift jets designed by RR would have been used instead? Rb.162 and the like? When designed specifically for the role, you could get pretty high thrust to weight ratios on these engines (10:1 being easily achieved)

The XJ99 acheived 20:1 :eek:
 

Skybolt

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As far as the engines envisaged, any guess is welcome. For her VTOL projects Lockheed used everything on the block, and some unbuilt ones too.
 

JohnR

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Wasn't there a US/FRG programe for a supersonic VTOL? IIRC Republic or Rockwell was the lead company.

Regards.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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The Fairchild AVS project? Yeah, that one had a quasi-F-111 look to it. But it's not the same as our mystery Vark here.
 

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lark

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After a long search I found this:

Among the many unusual projects explored for possible future F-111 production contracts was this VTOL configuration.
VTOL powerplants were located just ahead of the wing in extende bomb bay section.
Airplane was substantially different from conventional F-111 configurations and incorporated a fuselage stretch
a different empennage section and a slightly revised nose configuration.

so far : Jay Miller in "F-111 ...billion dollar blunder or answer to the loss of the B-1? "
in Airpower July 1979. (vol 9 No 4)

no further info in the article about an eventual seaplane variant.
 

Michel Van

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index.php


So far i know is this a German/US join-venture study. EWR/Fairchild AVS project
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,452.0.html

so this not a Mystery F-111 :-[
 

lark

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It was not an FB-111H variant Hesham, see Overscan's reply # 11.
 

SteveO

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Looks like lift jets but just for fun it could be a radar recon. concept with a side ways looking radar in the ventral canoe and the hatches are for additional crew :)

Edit - doh! just read the blog and someone already had this idea.
 

hesham

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lark said:
It was not an FB-111H variant Hesham, see Overscan's reply # 11.


My dear Lark,


I saw the reply # 11 from my dear Paul,but in the Japanese site,you find it
under the FB-111H section,and in my opinion,the differ came from the lift
fan engines,which essentially required to change in configuration and some
details.
 

lark

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If you carefull read Overscans and the others posts related to - Orions drawing -
than you must see that perhaps it is a complete new design and not a variant.

Besides, I think that the drawing on the site you found haves the wrong caption..
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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hesham said:
lark said:
It was not an FB-111H variant Hesham, see Overscan's reply # 11.


My dear Lark,


I saw the reply # 11 from my dear Paul,but in the Japanese site,you find it
under the FB-111H section,and in my opinion,the differ came from the lift
fan engines,which essentially required to change in configuration and some
details.


Its a mistake on the part of the author for this article for afwing.com which is a Chinese language site (probably Taiwan?) not Japanese. Who incidentally seems to have taken most of his images on the first few pages from this forum.


Your inability to distinguish between sources is quite frustrating. If someone takes Scott's scan and posts it on a website as a picture of Miley Cyrus, that doesn't make it true.
 

Orionblamblam

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hesham said:
but why they put it under the FB-111H section in this site

Because they are:
A) Wrong
B) Lazy

I have high hopes that one day people will realize that just because they saw something on the internet (or on TV, or in a movie, or even in a "documentary"), they won't automatically believe it to be true, or even necessarily believe that the person who posted it actually knew what they were doing.
 

hesham

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Orionblamblam said:
hesham said:
I have high hopes that one day people will realize that just because they saw something on the internet (or on TV, or in a movie, or even in a "documentary"), they won't automatically believe it to be true, or even necessarily believe that the person who posted it actually knew what they were doing.


Yes Scott,

I always ask about if that design is real or not,except if this info from a books,magazines or reality sites.
 

Stargazer2006

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hesham said:
I always ask about if that design is real or not,except if this info from a books,magazines or reality sites.


BUT books can contain mistakes (see the recent example of the Russian Curtiss "America"), magazines can contain mistakes... :mad:

And what do you call "reality sites", anyway? If they are as true and reliable as "real TV" shows, there is reason to worry... ::)
 

CiTrus90

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Sorry to bring up such an old topic, but looking at the shape of this aircraft's tail and some other details i wouldn't be so sure in thinking this was an F-111 related development. Or even that it was a General Dynamics product at all.

Instead, i can see more than a point of contact with the McDonnell TFX design, of which Overscan posted some pics here http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,526.180.html in the "Long road to the F-111" topic, and with other McDD studies.

Hope this can be of help.

Regards.
 

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