TFX Program

The Boeing 818 was the Boeing's candidate for the U.S. military's TFX fighter competition. The United States Air Force and Navy were both seeking new aircraft when Robert McNamara was appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense in January 1961.[1] The aircraft sought by the two armed services shared the need to carry heavy armament and fuel loads, feature high supersonic speed, twin engines and two seats, and probably use variable geometry wings.[2] On 14 February 1961, McNamara formally directed the services to study the development of a single aircraft that would satisfy both requirements. Early studies indicated that the best option was to base the design on the Air Force requirement, and use a modified version for the Navy.[3] In June 1961, Secretary McNamara ordered the go ahead of Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) despite Air Force and Navy efforts to keep their programs separate.[4]

Proposals were received from Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed, McDonnell, North American and Republic. The evaluation group found all the proposals lacking, but Boeing and General Dynamics were selected to submit enhanced designs. The Boeing 818 was recommended by the selection board in January 1962, with the exception of the engine, which was not considered acceptable. Switching to a crew escape capsule instead of ejection seats and alterations to radar and missile storage were also needed. Both companies provided updated proposals in April 1962. Air Force reviewers favored Boeing's offering, while the Navy found both submissions unacceptable for its operations. Two more rounds of updates to the proposals were conducted, with Boeing being picked by the selection board.[5]

In November 1962, McNamara selected General Dynamics' proposal due to its greater commonality between Air Force and Navy versions. The Boeing aircraft shared less than half of the major structural components. General Dynamics signed the TFX contract in December 1962. A Congressional investigation followed, but could not change the selection.[5] The winning proposal later became the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark.

Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX)
Issued by United States Air Force
Proposals General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
Boeing 818
Outcome General Dynamics F-111 selected for production



  1. ^ Miller 1982, p. 13.
  2. ^ Gunston 1983, p. 16.
  3. ^ Gunston 1983, pp. 8–17.
  4. ^ Eden 2004, pp. 196–7.
  5. ^ a b Gunston 1983, pp. 18–20.


  • Eden, Paul, ed. (2004). "General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark/EF-111 Raven". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London: Amber Books. ISBN 1-904687-84-9.
  • Gunston, Bill (1983). F-111. Modern Fighting Aircraft. Volume 3. New York: Salamander Books. ISBN 0-668-05904-4.
  • Miller, Jay (1982). General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark". Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers. ISBN 0-8168-0606-3.
Fifth-generation jet fighter

A fifth-generation jet fighter is a jet fighter classification used around the world that encompasses the fighter technologies developed during the first part of the 21st century. As of 2019 these are the most advanced aircraft. The exact characteristics of fifth-generation jet fighters are controversial and vague, with Lockheed Martin defining them as having all-aspect stealth even when armed, low-probability-of-intercept radar (LPIR), high-performance airframes, advanced avionics features, and highly integrated computer systems capable of networking with other elements within the battlespace for situation awareness.As of December 2018, the only combat-ready fifth-generation fighters are the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which entered service with the United States Air Force in 2005; the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which entered service in 2015; and the Chengdu J-20, which entered service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in September 2017. The Shenyang J-31 had flight testing of the 3.0 revised version in 2017. The Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin, TAI TFX, and HAL AMCA are in the early stages of development. The Sukhoi Su-57 is slated for delivery to the Russian Air Force in 2019.

Fighter Mafia

The Fighter Mafia was a controversial group of U.S. Air Force officers and civilian defense analysts who, in the 1970s, advocated for fighter design criteria that challenged the conventional thinking and ideologies of the time. Their assertions were that:

Air Force generals established the wrong criteria for combat effectiveness, ignoring combat history.

High technology and the focus on "higher, faster, and farther" increases costs and decreases effectiveness. The mafia argued for cheaper and better planes.

Air Force bureaucracies were corrupt as they did not conduct honest testing on weapons before buying them and deploying them in the field.

The focus should be on close air support and the use of combined arms to support maneuver warfare rather than interdiction bombing.

Multi-role and multi-mission capability compromises the plane.

Beyond visual range combat was a fantasy.The Fighter Mafia also advocated the use of John Boyd and Thomas P. Christie's Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) theory in designing fighter aircraft. The E-M model enabled quantitative comparison of the performance of aircraft in terms of air combat maneuvering in the context of dogfighting. The Fighter Mafia influenced the specifications for the F-X and went on to independently develop specifications for the Lightweight Fighter (LWF).The next generation of warplanes combined both maneuverability (which the group advocated) as well as large active radars and radar-guided missiles (which they opposed). Aircraft in this generation included the F-14, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.

Flygsystem 2020

The Flygsystem 2020 ("Flight System 2020", abbreviated FS 2020) is an ongoing project by the Swedish Air Force to develop a fifth-generation jet fighter stealth aircraft by 2020. Little public information exists about the project; there are no official statements about the current stage of development, although a video claims to show a miniature prototype test. In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Lars Helmrich of the Swedish Air Force asked members of the Riksdag to consider the development of a new jet fighter or to upgrade all present JAS 39 multirole fighters to the NG model, claiming the early versions of the aircraft will be useless by 2020.The Saab/Linköping University Generic Future Fighter project is a testbed for its technologies.

General Dynamics F-111K

The General Dynamics F-111K was a planned variant of the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark medium-range interdictor and tactical strike aircraft by General Dynamics, to meet a requirement for such an aircraft for the Royal Air Force.

The project was initiated in 1965 following the cancellation of the BAC TSR-2 strike aircraft. The aircraft was planned as a hybrid of several variants of the F-111 as a way of producing an aircraft for the specific needs of the United Kingdom. A RAF order for 50 aircraft, made in 1967, was cancelled a year later.

General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark is an American supersonic, medium-range interdictor and tactical attack aircraft that also filled the roles of strategic nuclear bomber, aerial reconnaissance, and electronic-warfare aircraft in its various versions. Developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics, it first entered service in 1967 with the United States Air Force. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also ordered the type and began operating F-111Cs in 1973.

The F-111 pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight. Its design influenced later variable-sweep wing aircraft, and some of its advanced features have since become commonplace. The F-111 suffered a variety of problems during initial development. Several of its intended roles, such as an aircraft carrier-based naval interceptor with the F-111B, failed to materialize.

USAF F-111 variants were retired in the 1990s, with the F-111Fs in 1996 and EF-111s in 1998. The F-111 was replaced in USAF service by the F-15E Strike Eagle for medium-range precision strike missions, while the supersonic bomber role has been assumed by the B-1B Lancer. The RAAF was the last operator of the F-111, with its aircraft serving until December 2010.

General Dynamics–Grumman F-111B

The General Dynamics/Grumman F-111B was a long-range carrier-based interceptor aircraft that was planned to be a follow-on to the F-4 Phantom II for the United States Navy (USN).

The F-111B was developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics in conjunction with Grumman for the U.S. Navy as part of the joint Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) with the United States Air Force (USAF) to produce a common fighter for the services that could perform a variety of missions. It incorporated innovations such as variable-geometry wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and a long-range radar and missile weapons system.

Designed in parallel with the F-111 "Aardvark", which was adopted by the Air Force as a strike aircraft, the F-111B suffered development issues and changing Navy requirements for an aircraft with maneuverability for dogfighting. The F-111B was not ordered into production and the F-111B prototypes were used for testing before being retired. The F-111B would be replaced by the smaller and lighter Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which carried over the engines, AWG-9/Phoenix weapons system, and similar swing-wing configuration.

Grumman F-14 Tomcat

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. It was the first such U.S. jet fighter with twin tails. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American Teen Series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.

The F-14 first flew on 21 December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical aerial reconnaissance platform into the 2000s. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system were added in the 1990s and the Tomcat began performing precision ground-attack missions.In the 1980s, F-14s were used as land-based interceptors by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force during the Iran–Iraq War, where they saw combat against Iraqi warplanes. Iranian F-14s reportedly shot down at least 160 Iraqi aircraft during the war, while only 12 to 16 Tomcats were lost; at least half of these losses were due to accidents.The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy's active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 remains in service with Iran's air force, having been exported to Iran in 1976. In November 2015, reports emerged of Iranian F-14s reportedly flying escort for Russian Tu-95 bombers on air strikes in Syria.

Republic F-105 Thunderchief

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was an American supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. Capable of Mach 2, it conducted the majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War; it was the only American aircraft to have been removed from combat due to high loss rates. Originally designed as a single-seat, nuclear-attack aircraft, a two-seat Wild Weasel version was later developed for the specialized Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role against surface-to-air missile sites. The F-105 was commonly known as the "Thud" by its crews.

As a follow-on to the Mach 1 capable North American F-100 Super Sabre, the F-105 was also armed with missiles and a rotary cannon; however, its design was tailored to high-speed low-altitude penetration carrying a single nuclear weapon internally. First flown in 1955, the Thunderchief entered service in 1958. The single-engine F-105 could deliver a greater bomb load than some American heavy bombers of World War II such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The F-105 was one of the primary attack aircraft of the Vietnam War; over 20,000 Thunderchief sorties were flown, with 382 aircraft lost including 62 operational (non-combat) losses (out of the 833 produced). Although less agile than smaller MiG fighters, USAF F-105s were credited with 27.5 kills.

During the war, the single-seat F-105D was the primary aircraft delivering the heavy bomb loads against the various military targets. Meanwhile, the two-seat F-105F and F-105G Wild Weasel variants became the first dedicated SEAD platforms, fighting against the Soviet-built S-75 Dvina (NATO reporting name: SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missiles. Two Wild Weasel pilots were awarded the Medal of Honor for attacking North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile sites, with one shooting down two MiG-17s the same day. The dangerous missions often required them to be the "first in, last out", suppressing enemy air defenses while strike aircraft accomplished their missions and then left the area.

When the Thunderchief entered service it was the largest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft in history, weighing approximately 50,000 pounds (23,000 kg). It could exceed the speed of sound at sea level and reach Mach 2 at high altitude. The F-105 could carry up to 14,000 lb (6,400 kg) of bombs and missiles. The Thunderchief was later replaced as a strike aircraft over North Vietnam by both the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the swing-wing General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark. However, the "Wild Weasel" variants of the F-105 remained in service until 1984 after being replaced by the specialized F-4G "Wild Weasel V".


The TF-X (Turkish Fighter – Experimental) is a proposed twin-engine all-weather air superiority fighter being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in collaboration with BAE Systems. The aircraft is planned to replace F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Turkish Air Force and to be exported to foreign air forces.

The Turkish Ministry of National Defense said the TF-X would make its first flight by 2023, but this was later delayed to 2025.


TFX may refer to:

TFX Program, a fighter aircraft requirement for the United States that led to the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

TFX (video game), a combat flight simulator game (full title TFX: Tactical Fighter eXperiment)

Tokyo Financial Exchange (TFX), a futures exchange for trading futures contracts

TAI TFX, a proposed fighter aircraft for Turkish Air Force service

TFX, a power supply specification

TFX (TV channel), French TV Channel, previously NT1

Thomas F. Connolly

Thomas Francis Connolly Jr. (October 24, 1909 – May 24, 1996) was an admiral in the United States Navy, gymnast and Olympic medalist in the 1932 Summer Olympics.

Connolly served in Navy for 38 years. Over his career he served in World War II, oversaw the development of a program that later evolved into the United States Naval Test Pilot School, commanded two aircraft carriers, and served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare, retiring from that post in 1971.

Connolly was instrumental in the development of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The plane was named in his honor and for Thomas Hinman Moorer, then Chief of Naval Operations.

Boeing military aircraft
Fighters/attack aircraft:
Piston-engined transports
Jet transports
Patrol and surveillance
Boeing aircraft model numbers
Turbine engines


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