EF-111A Ravens, known affectionately as "Fat Tails" and "Spark Varks," (the F-111 is known as the Aardvark), served as tactical electronic jamming aircraft in the 1980s and 1990s. The U.S. Air Force received 42 EF-111As between 1981 and 1985, and the aircraft supported several USAF operations in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the 1970s Grumman began modifying 42 F-111A fighters by adding jamming equipment to create the EF-111A. A 16-foot-long, canoe-shaped radome on the underside for the fuselage housed high-powered transmitter antennas, and a fin-tip pod on the vertical stabilizer housed receiving antennas and other equipment, including a processor to detect hostile radar emissions. This complex gear weighed about four tons. Because the equipment required full-time attention in flight, the right seat crewmember, or Electronic Warfare Officer, no longer performed flight-related duties but instead monitored the jamming equipment.
In 1984 Grumman/General Dynamics Corp. began building additional modification kits for the EF-111A which enabled the aircraft to operate in three roles: standoff jamming, close in jamming and penetration/escort.
Ravens served first with the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron based at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Later, they were based at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. The U.S. Air Force retired its EF-111As in June 1998, and this aircraft was placed on display at the museum in July 1998.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: None Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-109 turbofans of 20,840 lbs. thrust each Maximum speed: 1,452 mph Range: 2,482 miles Ceiling: 55,400 ft. Span: 63 ft. extended; 32 ft. swept Length: 76.38 ft. Height: 20.00 ft. Weight: 87,478 lbs. (maximum takeoff)