North American A-5 Vigilante

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:00

The A-5's service coincided with a major policy shift in the U.S. Navy's strategic role, which switched to emphasize submarine launched ballistic missiles rather than manned bombers.

As a result, in 1963, procurement of the A-5 was ended and the type was converted to the fast reconnaissance role.

The first RA-5C's were delivered to the Replacement Air Group (RAG)/Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), redesignated as Reconnaissance Attack Squadron THREE (RVAH-3) at NAS Sanford, Florida in July 1963, with all Vigilante squadrons subsequently redesignated RVAH.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:04

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:05

Under the cognizance of Reconnaissance Attack Wing ONE, a total of 10 RA-5C squadrons were ultimately commissioned. RVAH-3 continued to be responsible for the stateside-based RA-5C training mission of both flight crews, maintenance and support personnel, while RVAH-1, RVAH-5, RVAH-6, RVAH-7, RVAH-9, RVAH-11, RVAH-12, RVAH-13 and RVAH-14 routinely deployed aboard Forrestal, Saratoga, Ranger, Independence, Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Enterprise, America, John F. Kennedy and eventually Nimitz-class aircraft carriers to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Western Pacific.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:06

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:06

Eight of 10 squadrons of RA-5C Vigilantes also saw extensive service in Vietnam starting in August 1964, carrying out hazardous medium-level reconnaissance missions.

Although it proved fast and agile, 18 RA-5Cs were lost in combat: 14 to anti-aircraft fire, three to surface-to-air missiles, and one to a MiG-21 during Operation Linebacker II.

Nine more were lost in operational accidents while serving with Task Force 77. Due, in part, to these combat losses, 36 additional RA-5C aircraft were built from 1968–1970 as attrition replacements.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:09

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:26

In 1968, Congress closed the aircraft's original operating base of NAS Sanford, Florida and transferred the parent wing, Reconnaissance Attack Wing ONE, all subordinate squadrons and all aircraft and personnel to Turner AFB, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 and KC-135 base in Albany, Georgia.

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:27

Photo of the fire aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59) on 29 July 1967 off Vietnam.
Two North American RA-5C Vigilante aircraft of heavy reconnaissance squadron RVAH-11 Checkertails are burning on the starboard side aft of the island, while crewmen remove AGM-45 Shrike missiles in the foreground.


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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:28

The tenant SAC bomb wing was then deactivated and control of Turner AFB was transferred from the Air Force to the Navy with the installation renamed NAS Albany.

In 1974, after barely six years of service as a naval air station, Congress opted to close NAS Albany as part of a post-Vietnam force reduction, transferring all RA-5C units and personnel to NAS Key West, Florida.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:29

A U.S. Navy North American RA-5C Vigilante of heavy reconnaissance squadron RVAH-12 Speartips beginning its reconnaissace flight off North Vietnam in 1967. RVAH-12 was assigned to Attack Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) for a deployment to Vietnam from 29 April to 4 December 1967.

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:37

Despite the Vigilante's useful service, it was expensive and complex to operate and occupied significant amounts of precious flight deck and hangar deck space aboard both conventional and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

With the end of the Vietnam War, disestablishment of RVAH squadrons began in 1974, with the last Vigilante squadron, RVAH-7, completing its final deployment to the Western Pacific aboard USS Ranger (CV-61) in late 1979.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:39

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:39

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:40

The final flight by an RA-5C took place on 20 November 1979 when a Vigilante departed NAS Key West, Florida.

Reconnaissance Attack Wing ONE was subsequently disestablished at NAS Key West, Florida in January 1980.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:43

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:43

Fighters replaced the RA-5C in the carrier-based reconnaissance role.

The RF-8G version of the F-8 Crusader, modified with internal cameras, had already been serving in two light photographic squadrons (VFP-62 and VFP-63) since the early 1960s, operating from older aircraft carriers unable to support the Vigilante.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:44

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:45

The Marine Corps' sole photographic squadron (VMFP-3) would also deploy aboard aircraft carriers during this period with RF-4B Phantom II aircraft.

These squadrons superseded the Vigilante's role by providing detachments from the primary squadron to carrier air wings throughout the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s until transfer of the recon mission to the Navy's fighter squadron (VF) community operating the F-14 Tomcat.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:46

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:46

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:47

Select models of the F-14 Tomcat would eventually carry the multi-sensor Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod (TARPS) and the Digital Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod (D-TARPS).

Following up to present day, the weight of fighters such as the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet have evolved into the same 62,950 lb (28,550 kg) class as the Vigilante.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:48

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:48

With the retirement of the F-14, the F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighters and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft are planned to cover the strike, reconnaissance, tanker and electronic warfare roles of the F-14 Tomcat, A-6E Intruder, A-7E Corsair II, RF-8G Crusader, RA-5C, KA-6D Intruder, EA-6B Prowler. S-3B Viking, ES-3A Shadow and EA-3B Skywarrior.
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:49

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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

Message par Alun_D le Lun 13 Sep 2010, 10:49

Although the Vigilante served in the attack and reconnaissance roles, its design and configuration was believed to be a major influence on one of the world's most famous postwar interceptors: the Soviet MiG-25 "Foxbat".
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Re: North American A-5 Vigilante

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