21 Desember 1994
Flight test of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed F-111C Avionics Update Programme (AUP) are under way following the first flight of a modified aircraft at Rockwell’s Palmdale site in California.
The 2 December tast flight was deemed a success and the Rockwell/RAAF team is confident of reducing delays in a schedule which originally called for a first flight in July. All aircraft are due to be upgraded by June 1997.
Rockwell says that the aircraft has been ready to fly “for months”, but the complex data recording system installed for the tests proved troublesome. Flight testing was also held up while programme engineers solved compatibility issues with the data-analysis system at McClellan AFB, California.
The first shakedown flight will lead into a four-month functional flight-test programme at Palmdale under Rockwell direction.
In April 1995, the RAAF is expected to take over the F-111C for a year-long performance-evaluation phase at McClellan AFB.
The RAAF’s fleet of 21 FRF-111Cs (17 strike and four reconnaissance) will eventually receive the AUP, which updates the Texas Instruments terrain-following radar, General Electric attack radar, navigation, communication, weapons delivery and flight-control systems.
Work on the first “kit-proof” aircraft, an RF-111C reconnaissance version, has been started by Hawker de Havilland at RAAF Amberley, near Brisbane, Australia, using kits provided by Rockwell. The RAAF is also plans to upgrade 15 ex-US Air Force F-111Gs to a compatible standard.
The aircraft already have some of the features of the AUP, having been upgraded by the USAF, but lack important characteristics, such as the digital flight-control system (DFCS) now being installed in the upgraded F-111 fleet.
The RAAF is negotiating a separate DFCS upgrade for the F-111G fleet with Lockheed Fort Worth, which provided the same system for the AUP.
Sumber : Flight International