F-111C A8-135 was delivered to 82WG for the final time at a November 4 ceremony attended by RAAF and Boeing officials. The F-111 fleet is scheduled to be withdrawn by the end of 2010, and will likely be gradually drawn down as aircraft reach their major service points.
“Today is exceptionally historic because we are delivering A8-135 from the same Hangar 278 where deeper maintenance work on the first F-111 began 35 years ago,” said John Duddy, vice president and managing director, Boeing Defence Australia. “We take pause to honour and recognise every RAAF serviceperson and Boeing employee who has contributed toward maintaining this platform. Because of you, the F-111 today remains the fastest and longest ranging combat aircraft in the Asia Pacific region.”
“The maintenance systems introduced with the F-111 aircraft have been a mainstay of defence and industry’s high tech support capabilities for well over 35 years,” said AIRCDRE Roy McPhail, director general of Aerospace Combat Systems. “Today’s completion of the F-111 deeper maintenance program will ensure the F-111 fleet remains fully capable until the replacement F/A-18F Super Hornets come on line.”
The F-111 was initially serviced by RAAF personnel before Boeing took over deeper maintenance in 2001. More than 300 deeper maintenance services have been performed on the RAAF’s fleet of 28 F-111Cs and 15 F-111Gs since 1974. The F-111Gs were retired in 2007.
Following the USAF’s retirement of its F-111s in 1996 and EF-111s in 1998, Boeing is considered the Original Equipment Manufacturer of F-111 because of the extensive modifications made to the fleet, with Boeing also the Design Authority Certificate holder for the aircraft.