F-111 Aardvark in flight
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STORY

The F-111 Aardvark: America's all weather attack aircraft

The F-111 Aardvark was an all-weather attack aircraft, capable of low-level penetration of enemy defences to deliver ordnance on the target. It was also the first production aircraft to feature variable-sweep wings (also known as swing wings). After a troubled development, the F-111 entered service with the United States Airforce in 1967. It flew in Vietnam, Operation El Dorado Canyon, and the first Gulf War before its retirement in 1998. The F-111 continued to fly with the Royal Australian Air Force until 2010, where the aircraft was dubbed 'the pig'.

Curator Emily Charles looks at the development, design, and service history of the F-111 Aardvark. She explores what the aircraft represented during its service, an example of the Military-Industrial Complex that Dwight D Eisenhower warned against and as a symbol of American's interventionalist role in the post-Cold War world. She also looks at the service history of this particular F-111 which flew in the Gulf War as part of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing before arriving at IWM Duxford in 1993.