An F-111 passed through a guard of honour at the conclusion of the parade. (photo : Australian DoD)
F-111 Farewell ParadeAir Force’s iconic F-111s were farewelled today at a parade at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland following nearly four decades of service to Australia. The retirement of the F-111 fleet marks a significant milestone in the history of Australian military aviation. The long range strike bombers have supported Australia’s national security by providing a potent strategic deterrent.
The Air Force component of the Australian Federation Guard from Canberra acted as the Escort Squadron for today’s parade and the Air Force Band from Melbourne also participated.
The parade was hosted by Air Commodore Chris Sawade, CSC and the Parade Commander was Group Captain Steve Roberton, Officer Commanding Number 82 Wing. Commanding Number 1 Squadron was Wing Commander Glen Braz, and commanding Number 6 Squadron was Wing Commander Micka Gray.
Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore AM, Air Commander Australia, Air Vice Marshal Geoffrey Brown AM, Deputy Chief of Air Force were official guests. The Reviewing Officer of today’s parade was Air Marshal Mark Binskin AO, Chief of Air Force.
The hundreds of RAAF air crew and thousands of ground based personnel who have worked hard to fly and maintain F-111 capability during the last 37 years were recognised at the parade today.
Those who lost their lives in F-111 accidents and who died or have suffered serious health effects from working on the deseal reseal programs were also remembered.
Australia has been the sole operator of F-111s for more than 10 years, and recently the aircraft have become increasingly expensive to operate and maintain. The F-111G models were withdrawn from service in 2007 and today the F-111Cs and RF-111Cs retired.