ARMED FORCES: The F-111 Mystery

The F-111 is a plane you either love or hate. Admirers of the Air Force's sleek, supersonic fighter-bomber claim that it is the ultimate weapon of modern, tactical aerial warfare. Its critics argue that considering the extraordinary cost of the F-111 ($15.1 million each) and the supposed sophistication of its defensive and safety devices, it has a strange propensity for disappearing during combat missions. The critics would seem to have a case. In 1968, the aardvark-nosed fighter-bombers were taken off combat missions and later shipped home from Viet Nam after three were...

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