The EF-111A Ravens,
known affectionately as "Fat Tails" and "Spark Varks," served as tactical
electronic jamming aircraft in the 1980s and 1990s. The first of 42
EF-111As was received in November 1981 and the last in 1985. The
EF-111As were involved in several conflicts the USAF had been called upon to
support beginning in 1986. In every case the aircraft and its crews provided
unsurpassed electronic jamming support.
The Raven had its beginning in the 1970s when the Grumman Company began
modifying 42 F-111A aircraft with the addition of the electronic jamming
equipment to create the EF-111A aircraft. The modifications consisted
of a 16-foot-long narrow canoe-shaped radome on the underside for the
fuselage to house the antennae for the high-powered jamming transmitters and
a fin-tip pod on the vertical stabilizer to house the receiving antenna and
other equipment, including a processor to detect hostile radar emissions.
The electronic jamming equipment weighed approximately 8,000 Ibs.
As a result of the modifications, the electronic warfare officer, the right
seat crewmember, no longer performed flight-related duties but only
monitored the aircraft's electronic jamming equipment. In 1984,
Grumman/General Dynamics Corporation began building additional modification
kits for the EF-111A to enable the aircraft to operate in three roles:
standoff jamming, close in jamming and penetration/escort.
The EF-111A Raven pictured here was assigned to the 390th Electronic Combat
Squadron based at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho and the 42nd Electronic Combat
Squadron based at RAF Upper Heyford, England. In 1992, these aircraft
were relocated to the 429th Electronic Combat Squadron at Cannon AFB, New
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