American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

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A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Fighters For The Missile Era

F-111, F-14

Page 12

Senator John L. McClellan directed a widely publicized critical probe of the situation, but F-111 procurement went ahead. Twenty-three developmental aircraft were ordered December 21, 1962, from General Dynamics, with Grum­man as the subcontractor for the Navy’s F-111B version. GENERAL DYNAMICS F-111B

The first F-111A flew at Fort Worth on December 21, 1964, the second on February 25, 1965, and on April 12 a letter contract was announced for 431 aircraft. The first 18 preproduction aircraft had no gun provisions and TF30-P-l engines that suffered numerous compressor stalls. A production F-111A first flew on February 12, 1967, but not until September 24 was the TF30-P-3 flown on the 31st production F-111A.

The Navy’s F-111B carried two Phoenix (AIM-54A) missiles in the weapons bay and four more under the wings, with the Hughes AWG-9 fire control whose radome nose folded upwards for stowage. A pair of 450-gallon tanks or other weapons stores could be carried on the six under wing pylons, and the wings were lengthened for improved range and loiter performance. A probe could be extended for drogue inflight refueling.

Ordered with the F-111A on December 21, 1962, the first of five Grumman-built preproduction F-111Bs flew May 18, 1965, with TF30-P-l engines, and the last flew on November 16, 1966. Weight had grown from 38,804 pounds empty and 62,788 pounds gross on the 1962 contract to 46,000 pounds empty and 77,566 pounds gross in 1965, degrading performance.

A production contract signed May 10, 1967, included 24 F-111Bs with 12,290-pound thrust TF30-P-12 engines, but this plan was to be frustrated. Range was greatly ­reduced, and engine stalls were a persistent problem. Des­perate measures to reduce weight on succeeding prototypes brought little improvement, and Grumman itself ­advocated a new fighter design, the strictly Navy future F-14.

The first production F-111B with JF-30-P-12s and new intakes was accepted June 30, 1968, but a stop-work order was issued July 10, 1968, and formal contract termination agreed on December 10. On February 28, 1969, the second and last F-111B was accepted. Over $377 million had failed to produce a carrier fighter, although the swing-wing and the missile system would carry over to the successful F-14.

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