General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven - Operational History

Operational History

The EF-111A achieved initial operational capability in 1983. The EF-111A received the official popular name Raven, although in service it acquired the nickname "Spark 'Vark". EF-111s first saw combat use with the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Upper Heyford during Operation El Dorado Canyon against Libya in 1986, and Operation Just Cause in Panama during late 1989.

The Raven served in the Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. On 17 January 1991, a USAF EF-111 crew of Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon ("Brandini") achieved an unofficial kill against an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1, which they managed to maneuver into the ground, making it the only member of the F-111/FB-111/EF-111 family to achieve an aerial victory over another aircraft.

On 13 February 1991, EF-111A, AF Ser. No. 66-0023, callsign Ratchet 75, crashed into terrain while maneuvering to evade a perceived enemy aircraft threat killing the pilot, Capt Douglas L. Bradt, and the EWO, Capt Paul R. Eichenlaub. It was the only EF-111A lost during combat, the only loss killing its crew, and one of just three EF-111s lost in its history.

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