340th Flying Training Group - History - Strategic Air Command - FB-111A Era

FB-111A Era

After a near two-year inactivation, the unit was reactivated again by SAC as the 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 2 July 1968 at Carswell AFB, Texas. Although it was given the designation of a bomb group, the 340th was organized and functioned as a SAC Wing. Its operational squadron was the 4007th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS)

The 340th BMG was given the primary mission of conducting initial qualification training for General Dynamics FB-111A aircrew members. The FB-111A was the all-weather strategic bombing version of the F-111, intended as an interim successor to the B-52 Stratofortress and B-58 Hustler of the Strategic Air Command. The 340th was stationed at Carswell, as the FB-111A were being produced at the huge General Dynamics plant, also known as Air Force Plant #4 in Fort Worth, and it shared the main runway at Carswell.

The first production FB-111A aircraft (67-0159) flew on 13 July 1968. It was accepted by the Air Force on 30 August. A second FB-111A was delivered on 25 October. However, these two planes were powered by TF30-P-12A engines designed for Naval service instead of the Air Force P-7 turbofan. In addition, problems with the avionics subsystem slowed further deliveries, with the Air Force not accepting its next FB-111A until 23 June 1969.

On 8 October 1969 the 7th FB-111A manufactured (67–7193) entered service with the 4007th Combat Crew Training Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group. The 340th's staff and instructor received training in TAC F-111As at Nellis AFB, Nevada with the 4527th CCTS. The Group also maintained a combat crew force capable of conducting bombardment operations if necessary with the FB-111A.

On 7 October 1970, the 340th BMG's first major aircraft accident occurred when FB-111A 68-0253 crashed at Carswell AFB, causing the deaths of Lt. Col Robert S. Montgomery (9th BMS's Commander) and his navigator, Lt. Col Charles G. Robinson.

The 340th BG participated in SAC's annual Bombing and Navigation Competition held at McCoy AFB, Florida from 13–20 November 1970. Showing an outstanding performance, the group finished the competition first in bombing and second in navigation. The 340th also participated in the Strike Command Bombing and Navigation held 17–23 April 1971. The FB-111A was not allowed to compete for the trophies but flew in the competition.

The last production FB-111A (69–6514) was delivered to SAC on 30 June 1971, and the 340th Bomb Group was inactivated on 31 December 1971 with the end of production. A total of 76 FB-111A aircraft were produced, and when group was inactivated the 4007th CCTS was reassigned to Plattsburgh AFB, New York and became part of the 380th Strategic Aerospace Wing with 38 FB-111A aircraft

The FB-111A served nearly 20 years as part of SAC, being phased out in the late 1980s when the B-1B Lancer came into operational service. Most survivors were converted to into a tactical ground attack configuration and redesignated as F-111Gs. Eighteen were later sold to Australia where they remained in active service with the RAAF as modified F-111Cs until they were retired in September 2007.

Read more about this topic:  340th Flying Training Group, History, Strategic Air Command

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