Posts tagged: North American

North American AT-6 Texan

History

A total of some 48 examples of various versions obtained from several sources between 1943 and 1980. Three AT-6C delivered in 1943 and subsequently reserialled. One AT-6D obtained from Brazil in 1962, followed by 28 more AT-6D/T-6G between 1972 and 1975. Ten from South Africa plus seven directly from storage that did not see SAAF service, 1979-80. Eighteen sold in the USA to private owners during 1991. Two aircraft retained for FAP Historic Flight. Used by various units.

Initially the serials used just odd numbers, but in 1979-1980 some renumbering took place to fill in the gaps.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
78 88-11133 41-32778 16.2.1943 later became FAP 0101(1), (AT-6C)
79 88-11134 41-32779 16.2.1943 later became FAP 0103(1), (AT-6C)
80 88-11135 41-32780 16.2.1943 later became FAP 0105(1), (AT-6C)
0101(1) 88-11133 41-32778, FAP 78 1943 wfu 1962, (AT-6C)
0101(2) 88-17125 42-85344, FAB 1633 1962 wfu 1972, (AT-6D), to N3173L Oct 1991 with c/n ’413279′
0101(3) 88-13067 BuNo 27611, SAAF no service 1979 wfu 1991, (SNJ-4/T-6D) not N7437C so c/n dubious
0102 78-7040 41-16662, BuNo 01897, SAAF no service 1979 sold as N3171A Oct 1991, to VH-MDP, (AT-6A/T-6D)
0103(1) 88-11134 41-32779, FAP 79 1943 wfu 1972, (AT-6C)
0103(2) 1LS5/9 n/a, FAB 1560 1972 wfu 1977, (AT-6D)
0103(3) 78-7095 41-16717, NC67374, SAAF no service 1979 wfu 1987, sold as N61167 June 1991, to VH-MWT, (AT-6A/T-6D)
0104 88-16095 42-84314, SAAF no service 1979 sold as N3173N Oct 1991 with c/n ’7093′, (AT-6D)
0105(1) 88-11135 41-32780, FAP 80 n/a wfu 1972, (AT-6C)
0105(2) 88-17327 42-85546, FAB 1635 1972 wfu 1980, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0105(3) 1LS8/5 n/a, FAB 1586, FAP 0157 1980 wfu 1985, (AT-6D)
0105(4) 88-9856 BuNo 10132, FAB 1461, FAP 0145 19?? wfu 19??, Preserved Capiata Academy 2011, (SNJ-4/T-6D)
0106 78-7094 41-16716, NC69367, SAAF no service 1979 wfu 1988, sold as N6069H June 1991, to VH-WWA, (AT-6A/T-6D)
0107(1) 1LS7/5 n/a, FAB 1576 1972 wfu 1979, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0107(2) 88-14274 42-44371, FAB 1298, FAP 0127 1980 wfu 1988,sold as N3171H Oct 1991 with c/n ’412223′, to VH-YPY, (AT-6C/T-6G)
0108 88-12420 BuNo 27320, FAB 1469, FAP 0133 1980 wfu 1987, sold as N3171K Oct 1991 with c/n ’412227′, to VH-TOA, (SNJ-4/T-6D)
0109(1) 78-6004 BuNo 6877, FAB 1412 1972 w/o 1978, (SNJ-3/T-6D)
0109(2) 84-7500 41-17122, SAAF no service 1979 wfu 1987, sold as N3171N Oct 1991, to VH-DGP, (AT-6B/T-6D)
0110 88-9039 BuNo 05532, FAB 1428, FAP 0149 1980 wfu 1989, (SNJ-4/T-6G)
0111(1) 88-13616 42-44030, FAB 1282 1972 crashed on 13.11.1973, (AT-6C/T-6G)
0111(2) 88-9352 BuNo 09837, SAAF, FAP 0148 1979 wfu 1989, sold as N3172N Oct 1991 with c/n ’417210′, to VH-NAG, (SNJ-4/T-6G)
0112 84-7567 41-17189, FAB 1467, FAP 0151 1980 wfu 1988, (AT-6B/T-6G)
0113(1) 84-7528 41-17150, FAB 1464 1972 w/o 1979 (AT-6B/T-6G)
0113(2) 1LS5/6 n/a, FAB 1557, FAP 0153 1980 wfu 1985, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0114 1LS7/7 n/a, FAB 1578, FAP 0155 1980 wfu 1986, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0115(1) 88-14563 42-44475, FAB 84/1306 1974 wfu 1980, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0115(2) SA-052 n/a, SAAF 7705 1980 wfu 1991, (T-6G)
0116 SA-058 n/a, SAAF 7708 1980 crashed on 19.2.1987, sold as N3171P Oct 1991 with c/n ’7320′, (T-6G)
0117(1) S6-04 n/a, FAB 1565 1974 wfu 1980, (AT-6D)
0117(2) SA-061 n/a, SAAF 7709 1980 wfu 1991, sold as N97FP in July 1991 with c/n ’7690′, (T-6G)
0118 SA-062 n/a, SAAF 7710 1980 wfu 1991, sold as N98FP in 1991 with c/n ’7695′, (T-6G)
0119(1) 1LS2/4 n/a, FAB 1389 1974 wfu, (AT-6D)
0119(2) SA-055 n/a, SAAF 7700 1980 preserved at Asuncion, (T-6G)
0120 SA-063 n/a, SAAF 7711 1980 crashed on 25.1.1985 (T-6G)
0121(1) 1LS1/1 n/a, FAB 1382 1974 wfu 1980, (AT-6D)
0121(2) SA-066 n/a, SAAF 7714 1980 wfu 1989 (T-6G)
0122 SA-067 n/a, SAAF 7715 1980 wfu 1988 (T-6G)
0123(1) 88-14568 42-44480, FAB 89/1311 1974 wfu 1980, (AT-6D/T-6G)
0123(2) SA-053 n/a, SAAF 7706 1980 preserved at Nhú-Guazú (T-6G)
0124 SA-057 n/a, SAAF 7699 1980 wfu 1991, (T-6G)
0125 88-14276 42-44373, FAB 78/1300 1974 wfu 1982,(AT-6C/T-6G)
0127 88-14274 42-44371, FAB 76/1298 1974 reserialled as FAP 0107 in 1980, (AT-6C/T-6G)
0129 88-9747 BuNo 10063, FAB 1398 1974 Gate guardian at Nú-Guazú, (SNJ-4/T-6G)
0131 121-43149 BuNo 112295, FAB 1717 1975 wfu 1984, (SNJ-6/T-6G)
0133 88-12420 BuNo 27320, FAB 1469 n/a reserialled as FAP 0108 in 1980, (SNJ-4/T-6D)
0135 1LS7/8 n/a, FAB 1579 1975 wfu 1986, (AT-6D)
0137 78-6092 BuNo 6905, FAB 1405 1975 crashed on 2.6.1978, (SNJ-3/T-6D)
0139 78-7011 41-16033, FAB 1414 1975 wfu 1986, (AT-6A/T-6D)
0141 1LS8/10 n/a, FAB 1591 1975 wfu 1987, (AT-6D)
0143(1) 1LS2/3 n/a, FAB 1388 1975 wfu 1986, sold as N3172J Oct 1991 with c/n ’417250′, (AT-6D)
0145 88-9856 BuNo 10132, FAB 1461 1975 reserialled as FAP 0105(2) in 1980, (SNJ-4/T-6D)
0147 168-306 49-3202, FAB 1658 1975 wfu 1981, sold as N3172M Oct 1991 with c/n ’417233′, (T-6G)
0148 88-9352 BuNo 9837, SAAF no service 1979 reserialled as FAP 0111 in 1979, (T-6G)
0149 88-9039 BuNo 5532, FAB 1428 n/a reserialled as FAP 0110 in 1980, (T-6G)
0151 84-7567 41-17189, FAB 1467 n/a reserialled as FAP 0112 in 1980, (T-6G)
0153 S5-06 n/a, FAB 1557 n/a reserialled as FAP 0113(2) in 1980, (T-6G)
0155 S7-07 n/a, FAB 1578 n/a reserialled as FAP 0114 in 1980, (T-6G)
0157 S8-05 n/a, FAB 1586 n/a reserialled as FAP 0105(3) in 1980, (AT-6D)


Pictures

T-6G 0129 seen preserved in April 2000.
(photo, Jim Newton)
T-6 ’2′ seen at Ñu-Guazú in October 2005.
(photo, Hélio Higuchi)
T-6 0129 as it appeared in October 2005.
(photo, Hélio Higuchi)


More Information

References

Other Sources

  • Texans and Harvards in Latin America (Dan Hagedorn)

North American AT-6A Texan

History

Two AT-6A Texan delivered in 1969. No unit assignment known.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
400 78-6840 41-16462, BuNo 01856, NC-66841, SwAF 16244, COAN 0400/1-E-223 11.1969 later became 265, (3)
446 77-3976 41-167, NC-60708, SwAF 16226, COAN 0446/EAN-238 11.1969 later became 266, (A)
265 78-6840 41-16462, BuNo 01856, NC-66841, SwAF 16244, COAN 0400/1-E-223 n/a wfu in 1979, (3)
266 77-3976 41-167, NC-60708, SwAF 16226, COAN 0446/EAN-238 n/a wfu in 1979, (A)


Pictures

None available at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

North American AT-6 Texan

History

No unit allocation is known.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
GCR-4 n/a n/a 1948 sold 6.1950


Pictures

None available at present.

More Information

References

  • Central American and Caribbean Air Forces (Daniel Hagedorn)

Other Sources

To be added.

North American F-51D Mustang

History

No unit allocation is known. Costa Rica received these aircraft from the USA to counter an invasion of Nicaraguan-supported rebels in 1955.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
1 122-39652 44-73193 1955 wfu sold in 1964
2 122-39798 44-73339 16.1.1955 shot down on 19.1.1955
3 124-48139 45-11386 1955 crashed on 22.1.1956
4 122-41482 44-74978 1955 wfu sold as N6169U in 1964


Pictures

None available at present.

More Information

References

  • Latin-American Military Aviation (John Andrade)

Other Sources

To be added.

North American Harvard T.2B

Key Facts

Total Delivered: 6
Service Entry: 1952
Retirement: 1967

History

Six ex-RAF Harvard T.2Bs delivered on 26 January 1952. A second batch of six ex-Iraqi AF examples arrived on 4 September 1952. Used by ? Squadron in the basic training role. Withdrawn from service in 1967.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
L-120     1952  
L-121     1952  
L-122     1952  
L-123     1952  
L-124     1952  
L-125     1952  
L-126     1952  
L-127     1952  
L-128     1952  
L-129     1952  
L-130     1952  
L-131     1952  
L-132     1952  
L-133     1952  
L-134     1952  
L-135     1952  

More Information

References

  • Scramble
  • Air Forces Monthly
  • International Air Power Review

Other Sources

To be added.

North American A-5 Vigilante

 
RA-5C 150831 of RVAH-11 from USS Kittyhawk
(photo, US Navy)

Key Facts

Main Role: Carrier-based Long-Range All-Weather Attack Aircraft
Configuration: High-mounted delta-winged jet
Country: USA
Current Status: Out of Service, Out of Production

Development

Just hours after the United States Army Air Forces massive B-29 bombers had delivered the atom bomb to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the US Navy began to realize that its position as the forefront of America’s defense and first strike capability could be in jeopardy. The continued development of the long distance bomber as a first strike platform and its perceive efficiency in bringing both Germany and Japan to their knees, made the Navy’s top brass very worried about losing the service’s primary position within the US Armed Forces. Things were more worrisome when the newly formed US Department of Defense separated the air force section from the Army; creating a brand new service: the US Air Force. Within months after its creation, the Air Force assumed primary role on the use of the country’s nuclear arsenal. This development, added to the perception that with the coming of the jet age, the navy would be relegated to a more littoral duty; forced the Navy’s leaders to find a weapon platform capable of providing the service with a nuclear option of its own. The Navy’s first attempt to field this concept was to equip its main strike force, the aircraft carriers; with aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The acquisition of North American’s AJ Savage and the Douglas Company A-3 Skywarrior bombers in the late 1940s and early 50s, both subsonic aircraft; represented a first step toward nuclear strike independency. But due to the increasing pace of aircraft developments, each example became obsolete after a just a few years of front line service. The Navy needed a new aircraft, and North American Corporation was once again ready to provide the service with its requirement.

In mid November 1953, a group of North American engineers commenced preliminary work on the development of a new type of aircraft. An aircraft more similar to the Air Force’s medium bomber concept than with the Navy’s history of carrier based bomber planes. North American designers proposed a radical departure from the current carrier aircraft situation. An all-weather, long range carrier based bomber capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 2 was envisioned at North American and that vision was eagerly expected to become a reality by the Navy. To meet the Navy’s and their own company expectations, the designers, lead by a brilliant engineer named Frank G. Compton; began the work promptly on what was referred to as North American General Purpose Attack Weapon System (NAGPAW) or designated project NA-233. After months of close consultation with Navy engineers, North American decided to base its new airplane on a twin engine concept. The idea behind the dual propulsion system was the aircraft’s survivability in case of one of the power plants failing. Another requirement for the concept was the ability to reach Mach 2 speed. To achieve this parameter, the aircraft was fitted with two of the most powerful engine systems available at the time: the General Electric J79-2 afterburning jet engine, capable of providing the aircraft with 15,150lb of thrust. To ensure the airframe’s integrity at high flying speeds and the aerodynamic conditions encountered by the airframe at those speeds, some heat sensitive areas of the fuselage were covered by titanium plates. The wings surfaces were machined as one complete piece from a combination of aluminum/lithium alloys. Nitrogen, not conventional hydraulic fluids, was used by the 233 in some of the hottest areas of the airframe. Even gold was utilized as heat reflectors in the engine’s bays. In order to capture high aerodynamic angles, the 233 was fitted with a small highly-loaded swept wing configuration with a powerful flap system and a one piece powered vertical tail. The wingtips folded up to allow the aircraft to be housed in an aircraft carrier hangar. The single, vertical tail structure also folded for hangar deck operations. The NA was one of the first aircraft to use a fully variable engine inlet system installed to reduce supersonic air to subsonic levels before it reached the engine main chamber, thus providing the engines with ultimate performance at any speed level. Beside the innovations on the airframe, the latest technology was implemented on the 233 avionics package. A state-of-the-art Versatile Digital Analyzer or VERDAN computer, one of the first solid state computer systems ever utilized on an aircraft; was fitted under the pilot’s seat. But the real technology breakthrough was the North American Autonetics System. The AN-ASB 12 System, as the package was referred as, included a multiple mode radar system housed in the aircraft’s nose cone. The radar was fitted with the Pilot’s Projected Display Indicator or PPDI, an early generation head-up display. A close captioned TV camera mechanism was installed under the nose for daylight targeting operations. Its image transferred directly to the pilot’s HUD and the rear seated navigator radar display. A first of its kind, terrain avoidance radar system, similar to that on the Navaho Cruise Missile, was used to guide the plane while on night operations. The aircraft’s also had the distinction of being one of the first designs to be fitted with a partial fly-by-wire system. The 233 was manned by an after mentioned crew of two. A pilot and a bombardier/navigator. The pilot was seated in the front of the pressurized cabin and the navigator on the rear, atop the advanced electronic package assigned to the aircraft. Original, the navigator canopy did not posses any view windows or reflective mirrors because company engineers estimated that the navigator’s instruments would be easy to ready in darkness and to protect them from the anticipated EM emissions expected from a detonated nuclear bomb. The whole cabin was housed on a structure fitted with an HS-1 rocket design to boost the ejection seats in case of an emergency.

The first 233 prototype rolled out from North American’s Columbus, Ohio factory on the afternoon of May 16th, 1958; when it was officially named the Vigilante. The first fly took place on August 31st, 1958. The aircraft performed as good as advertise by the North American design team. It achieved supersonic speed for the first time on September 5th of that year. Carrier trials began on the USS Saratoga on the morning of July 1960 with fourteen take-off and landing test flights performed by the sixth Vigilante prototype built. On the afternoon of December 13th, 1960, with Commander Leroy Heath at the controls and Lieutenant Larry Monroe in the back seat, the Vigilante, flying at Mach 2.1, set a new world altitude record for a bomber type aircraft when it climbed above 91,451ft while carrying a payload of 2,403lb. The Vigilante’s payload was storage in an unorthodox internal bomb bay without external doors, located in the airframe underbelly. This unique system was installed on the Vigilante because of the aircraft’s main purpose: the deliverance of nuclear ordinance. The engineers at North American figured that the aircraft had an enhanced chance of escaping a blast from the new thermonuclear weapons if the ordinance was ejected to the rear instead of a direct level drop. This was achieved with the assistance of a complex long duct system that extended back between the two engines. The duct would house the nuclear ordinance until the order for release was given. The aircraft was designed to carry one of the Mk 27, Mk 28, or Mk 43 free fall nuclear bombs in its internal bomb bay. Additionally, a pair of smaller, Mk 83 or Mk 84 nuclear bombs could be fitted on pylons underneath each wing.

Deliveries of the A3J Vigilante commenced in the spring of 1961 and lasted until the summer of 1963, when the US Navy shifted its main nuclear deterrent platform from its carrier fleet to the new Polaris augmented submarine force. When the production line was terminated in 1963, fifty nine examples had been delivered to the navy. The Vigilante’s first carrier deployment occurred when they were assigned to the USS Enterprise on its maiden cruise in August 1962. In September of that year, the US Defense Department changed the new aircraft designation A-5A, due to the decision to standardize all US Armed Forces aircraft designations. Once the Vigilante entered front line service, the aircraft was not well received by carrier air commanders who, although impressed with the aircraft payload capacity and airframe structure, felt that an aircraft filled such advanced technologies were primed to become a major maintenance problem. They were right. Constant shutdowns by the VERDAN system meant that the aircraft’s turn-around capabilities were severely curtailed. Problems also arose with the use of its fly-by-wire system that required many man hours to prepare to full operational mode. Also the aircraft’s large size made it difficult for airmen to operate during take off and landing situations. With the shift of the US Navy’s nuclear deterrence platform, the days of the Vigilante as an offensive aircraft were numbered. Rather than scrapping the examples they already possesed, the Navy devised a new role for the Vigilante, a role that would made the aircraft’s name “fit the bill”. The Navy’s deep reconnaissance mission had been neglected partially by the lack of a long range aircraft; this role was tailor-made for the A-5A. All of the Navy’s Vigilantes were returned to North American for conversion to RA platforms. Eventually, fifty three examples were converted between early 1963 and the spring of 1963. They were augmented by a batch of fifty five newly produced aircraft and given the RA-5C designation. The RA-5C retained the A-5A performance capabilities as well as its avionic package. The main upgrade to the system was the installation of optical, electronic, and electromagnetic sensors storage on the aircraft’s once exposed bomb bay. They included an AN-ASS21 infrared sensor for the continued filming of thermal targets images at angles of 140 degrees, a Westinghouse Side Looking Airborne Radar or SLAR for all side-by-side image mapping; an AN-ALQ61 Electronic Intelligence Unit System that would pick-up radar emissions and triangulate their originating coordinates, frequencies, and electronic signal patters. A vast array of optical camera systems such as panoramic, oblique or vertical; were fitted around the airframe. The complete reconnaissance system was under the control of the Recon Officer seated were the bombardier/navigator used to be.

The first RA-5A entered carrier service in 1964. It went on to see duty in the Vietnam War. The RA version proved to be more successful than its predecessor. Usually, the Vigilante was the last aircraft launched from the carrier during an operation, since its speed allowed it to catch-up quickly with the mission package. Eventually, the US Navy ordered the Vigilante production line to re-open and the first of a new batch of Vigilantes were delivered to the Navy. Forty four examples were ordered, but only thirty-six units were actually completed by the time the line was closed again in August 1970. The last operational RA-5C Vigilante squadron was disbanded in September 1979. A short lifespan for such a revolutionary aircraft design. In the end, it was a magnificent aircraft, but without a clear mission, it was an unsupported plane.

A-5A 147856 with the Naval Weapons
Evaluation Facility in 1961.
(photo, NWC China Lake)
RA-5C NL/704 of RVAH-6 in 1966 showing the ventral recce equipment fairing.
(photo, US Navy)

Variants

Requirement Specification: -
Manufacturers Designation: (see below)

Development History:
NAGPAW Projected 2-seat low-level attack bomber.
XA3J-1 Initial designation for the two prototype aircraft.
YA3J-1 Two prototype aircraft with YJ78-GE-2 engines of 15,000 lb st (66.71 kN) afterburning. Blown trailing edge flaps.
A3J-1 Initial production version. J79-GE-2, -4 or -8 engines. Provision for underwing fuel tanks.
A3J-2 Improved production version with hump-backed fuselage for additional internal fuel capacity. Blown leading & trailing edge flaps. 2 additional wing pylons.
A3J-3 Photo-reconnaissance version of the A3J-2. Ventral ‘canoe’ fairing for cameras, SLAR and ELINT/ECM sensors.
A-5A Designation of A3J-1 after September 1962.
A-5B Designation of A3J-2 after September 1962.
YA-5C Designation of first four conversions of A-5B to RA-5C configuration. No photo-recce equipment carried – used as trainers. Later fully upgraded.
RA-5C Designation of A3J-3P after September 1962.
RA-5C ‘Phase II’ Improved RA-5C with J79-GE-10 engines, improved engine intakes and wing/nacelle fillets added.
NA-233 Company designation for original NAGPAW project proposal. Not built.
NA-247 Company designation for YA3J-1 & initial A3J-1 batch.
NA-263 Company designation for second A3J-1 batch.
NA-269 Company designation for remaining A3J-1 & A3J-2 batches.
NA-279 Company designation for first A3J-3 batch.
NA-283 Company designation for second and third A3J-3 batch.
NA-296 Company designation for A-5A conversion to RA-5C – first batch.
NA-298 Company designation for A-5A conversion to RA-5C – second batch.
NA-316 Company designation for RA-5C ‘Phase II’.
‘Retaliator’ Projected interceptor fighter version of A-5 for USAF with rocket engine in place of weapons bay. 1960. Not built.
NA-349 Projected interceptor fighter version of A-5 for USAF with three J79 engines. 1971. Not built.

History

Key Dates:
Nov 1953    NAGPAW project studies to replace A3D started.
Jan 1954    NAGPAW project presented to US Navy – design changes later requested.
March 1956    Engineering mockup inspected. Twin vertical fins soon changed to single fin.
29 August 1956    USN contract placed for 2 prototypes.
16 May 1958    First YA3J-1 completed
31 Aug 1958    Maiden flight of first YA3J-1
5 Sept 1958    YA3J-1 exceeds Mach 1.
2 Nov 1958    Second YA3J-1 flies.
15 Jan 1959    Production contract awarded.
Jan 1960    First flight of first A-5A.
July 1960    Sea trials aboard USS Saratoga.
13 Dec 1960    Altitude record of 91,451 ft achieved while carrying a 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) load.
June 1961    A3J-1 enters squadron service with VAH-7.
29 April 1962    A-5B first flight.
30 June 1962    First flight of RA-5C.
Sept 1962    A3J-1 redesignated A-5A and A3J-3 becomes RA-5C.
June 1964    RA-5C enters squadron service with RVAH-5.
August 1964    First RA-5C unit deployed to Vietnam.
March 1969    First production RA-5C Phase II first flight.
August 1970    Last delivery to US Navy.
21 Sept 1979    Final carrier deployment ends.
20 November 1979    Last RA-5C retired from US Navy service.
A-5A 147858 on loan to NASA in 1963.
(photo, NASA Dryden)
RA-5C Phase II 156608 of RVAH-5 with ashore tailcode ‘GK’. (photo, US Navy)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy 10 Squadrons 1961-1979

Government Agencies

NASA 1 A-5A loaned March-May 1963

Civilian Operators

None

Specifications

North American A3J-1 (A-5A) Vigilante
Crew: Pilot (front) and Navigator (rear)
Dimensions: Length 76 ft 6 in (23.35 m); Height 19 ft 4.75 in (5.91 m); Wing Span 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m) open, 42 ft 0 in (12.8 m) folded; Wing Area 700 sq ft (65.03 sq m) 700?
Engines: Two General Electric J79-GE-2 or -4 turbojets, rated at 10,350 lb.s.t. (4695 kg) dry and 16,150 lb.s.t. (7,325 kg) with maximum afterburner, or (last production batch) two J79-GE-8 turbojets rated at 17,000 lb st (7711 kg) with maximum afterburner.
Weights: Empty 32,714 lb (14,839 kg); Normal Loaded 47,530 lb (21,559 kg); Maximum Take-off 56,293 lb (25,534 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 2.1, 1320 mph (2124 kph) at 40,000 ft (12,192 m), 806 mph (1297 kph) at sea level; Initial climb rate 8,000 ft/min (2438 m/min) at sea level; Service Ceiling 58,100 ft (15,880 m); Combat radius (attack) 1,289 miles (2026 km); Range 1,807 miles (2908 km) on internal fuel, 3,200 miles (5,150 km) with external fuel tanks
Armament: One Mk 27, Mk 28 or Mk 43 thermo-nuclear bomb in linear weapons bay, plus one Mk 43 nuclear weapon on a weapon pylon under each wing, or 5,000 lb (2,270 kg) of conventional bombs.
North American RA-5C Vigilante
Crew: Pilot (front) and Recon. Officer (rear)
Dimensions: Length 76 ft 6 in (23.32 m); Height 19 ft 4.75 in (5.91 m); Wing Span 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m) open, 42 ft 0 in (12.8 m) folded; Wing Area 753.7 sq ft (70.02 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric J79-GE-8 turbojets, rated at 10,900 lb st (4944 kg) and 17,000 lb.s.t. (7711 kg) with maximum afterburner, or (post-1969) two J79-GE-10 turbojets rated at 17,860 lb st (8118 kg) with maximum afterburner.
Weights: Empty 37,498 lb (17,024 kg); Loaded ‘clean’ 55,617 lb (25,227 kg); Maximum Take-off 79,588 lb (36,133 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 2.1, 1320 mph (2124 kph) at 40,000 ft (12,192 m), 806 mph (1297 kph) at sea level; Initial climb rate 6,600 ft/min (2012 m/min) at sea level; Service Ceiling 49,000 ft (14935 m); Combat radius 1,508 miles (2427 km); Range 2,050 miles (3299 km) on internal fuel, 3,000 miles (4,828 km) with external fuel tanks
Armament: None normally carried, although a full weapons delivery capability was retained.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Frank G. Compton
Design Office: North American Aviation Inc., Columbus, OH, USA.

Manufacture

North American Aviation
(Columbus, OH, USA. Later North American Rockwell)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YA3J-1 (NA-247) 2 Columbus, OH Aug 1956-Aug 1958
A3J-1 (NA-247) 9 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-1 (NA-263) 14 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-1 (NA-269) 34 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-2 (NA-269) 18* Columbus, OH Apr 1962-June 1962
RA-5C (NA-279) 20 Columbus, OH June 1962-1964
RA-5C (NA-283) 23 Columbus, OH 1962-1964
RA-5C Phase II (NA-316) 36 Columbus, OH 1968-Aug 1970
Total: 156    

* Only 6 built as A3J-2, remainder converted to RA-5C on the production line.

Total Produced: 152 a/c (YA3J-1: 2, A3J-1/A-5A: 57, A3J-2/A-5B: 18, A3J-3/RA-5C: 79)
43 A3J-1/A-5A and 18 A3J-2/A-5B converted to RA-5C – total of 61 conversions.

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘North American Rockwell A3J / A-5 Vigilante – Aerofax Minigraph 9′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Micheal Grove & Jay Miller
Published by Aerofax, Sept 1989 ISBN: 0 94254 814 0
* Well illustrated profile of the Vigilante.

‘RA-5C Vigilante Units in Combat – Osprey Combat Aircraft 51′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Robert R. ‘Boom’ Powell
Published by Osprey Publishing, 29 Oct 2004 ISBN: 1 84176 749 2
* Detailed examination of the operational career of the RA-5C.

‘North American A-5A RA-5C Vigilante – Naval Fighters No.64′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Steve Ginter
Published by Ginter Books, 2003 ISBN: 0-942612-64-7
* In-depth pictorial look at all variants.

‘A/RA-5 Vigilante – Mini In Action No.3′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Terry Love
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, March 1995 ISBN: 0 89747 334 5
* Concise profile of the A-5.

‘Wings of Fame Volume 19′
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 2000 ISBN: 1 8614 049 7 (PB)
* Includes 65 page detailed feature article on the A-5.

‘North American Aircraft 1934-1999, Volume 2′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Kevin Thompson
Published by Flying Books, 1999 ISBN: 0913322067
* Excellent history of the North American company and it’s aircraft.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

North American A3J-1 Vigilante
North American A3J-2 Vigilante
North American A3J-3P/RA-5C Vigilante
(Good profile of all major versions – no pics)

wikipedia: A-5 Vigilante
(Useful profile of the A-5)

The North American A-5/RA-5 Vigilante
(Nice concise profile of the A-5)

Wing’s Palette
(Several A-5/RA-5 colour profiles)

Airliners.net
(4 pages of A-5 photos – mostly museum examples)

North American RA-5C “Vigilante”
(Good multi-page profile)

North American A-5 Vigilante
(Short profile with some photos)

A-5 Vigilante
(2 pages of RA-5C photos – including a walkaround with close-up shots)

Le North American A3J Vigilante
(Good French-language profile)

Secret Projects
(Discussion on NA-349 interceptor)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Aviation News Vol.5 No.6

Videos:

To be added.

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