Monday, November 28, 2011

Retired Australian F-111s dumped at landfill

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has buried 23 of its retired General Dynamics F-111 strike aircraft at a landfill near their former base of RAAF Amberley, close to Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland. The RAAF retired their last F-111s in December 2010, and the hulks have been in open storage since. Export restrictions, as well as health concerns, meant that the RAAF's options for disposal of the airframes were severely limited.

The F-111 disposal contract was awarded to Thiess Services, which was selected due to it's expertise in waste management as well as the security offered by Swanbank Landfill. The precise GPS coordinates of the resting place of each aircraft has been recorded to ensure the site is marked as off-limits to future excavation. Eventually the F-111s will rest deep beneath the landscape as the mountain of landfill rises above them.

Six F-111s have already been allocated for preservation at RAAF Bases, comprising two at RAAF Base Amberley, two at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook, Victoria; one at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia; and one at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. It was also announced on September 30, 2011, that a further seven F-111s are being made available to interested Australian aircraft museums and other historical organisations. The video below is a compilation of how two of Australia's commercial TV networks covered the story.

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