The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) plans to re-engine its fleet of 21 General Dynamics F-111Cs, replacing the Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-103 engines of 82kN (18,500lb) thrust with the TF30-P-109RA variant providing 93kN thrust through improved mass flow and higher operating temperatures.

The RAAF says that the decision was made because the earlier engine was no longer being supported by the manufacturer, and that getting spares supplies was becoming difficult. Australia's 15 F-111Gs, obtained from the US Air Force to extend the life of the operational fleet, will also be upgraded with -109 cores, but will retain the -107 afterburners (Flight International, 23-29 July).

An Australian Defence Science & Technology Organisation research team, which developed estimates of the enhanced performance and participated in subsequent performance assessments of an upgraded model, is now preparing new performance charts for incorporation in flight manuals. During the trials, the modified F-111 reached Mach 1.83 at 40,000 feet (12,200m).

Source: Flight International