Taken on Aug. 18, 1968 the impressive picture in this post shows an RA-5C Vigilante of Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron 5 (RVAH-5) damaged by antiaircraft fire during a combat mission over Vietnam going into the barricade on the flight deck of the carrier USS Constellation (CVA 64).
During the Vietnam War, RVAH-5 completed five combined Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and Vietnam deployments, and two Atlantic / Mediterranean (LANT/MED) deployments on the following carriers:
The A-5 Vigilante was a carrier based supersonic bomber designed by North American for the U.S. Navy. Its service in the nuclear strike role (replacing the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior) was very short. However, as the RA-5C, it saw extensive service during the Vietnam War in the tactical strike reconnaissance role.
Starting in August of 1964 hazardous medium-level reconnaissance missions were carried out.
Even though the Vigilante was fast and agile, 18 RA-5Cs were lost in combat during the Vietnam War: 14 to anti-aircraft fire, three to surface-to-air missiles, and one to a MiG-21. Due in part, to these combat losses, 36 additional RA-5C aircraft were built from 1968 to 1970 as attrition replacements. These aircraft were significantly different from previous RA-5Cs. Uprated engines, Leading Edge Extensions over the intakes, revised intake shape, and other modifications made these worthy of being called RA-5Ds – but the previous designation was retained. This last batch of Vigilantes are known as 156 Series aircraft since their BuNo. start with the numbers 156 (some earlier RA-5Cs were rebuilt to the same standard so there are exceptions).
Photo credit: U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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