North American RA-5C 'Vigilante'

Notes: Airborne platform for integrated operational intelligence system (IOIS) . Provides ALL-WEATHER tactical intelligence using photo, radar, infrared, and electronics techniques.
  Manufacturer:North American

Control Panel
  Base model:A-5
  Designation System:U.S. Tri-Service
  Designation Period:1962-Present
  Basic role:Attack
  Modified Mission:Reconnaissance
  Crew:Pilot & Observer/Radar Officer
  See Also:

  Length: 76' 6" 23.3 m
  Height:19' 5" 5.9 m
  Wingspan: 53' 16.1 m
  Wingarea: 754.0 sq ft 70.0 sq m
  Empty Weight: 37,498 lb 17,005 kg
  Max Weight: 80,000 lb 36,281 kg

  No. of Engines: 2
  Powerplant: General Electric J79-GE-8 (A/B 17,000Lb/7,711Kg)
  Thrust (each):10,800 lb 7,709 kg

  Max Speed: 1,385 mph 2,230 km/h 1,205 kt
  Ceiling: 67,000 ft 20,421 m

Known serial numbers
151615 / 151634, 151726 / 151728, 151962 / 151969, 156608 / 156653

Examples of this type may be found at
Fred E. Weisbrod Museum / International B-24 MuseumPuebloColorado
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space MuseumNew YorkNew York
National Museum of Naval AviationNAS PensacolaFlorida
Patuxent River Naval Air MuseumPatuxent RiverMaryland
Pima Air & Space MuseumTucsonArizona

RA-5C on display

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

National Museum of Naval Aviation

Naval Air Warfare Center

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum


Recent comments by our visitors
04/29/2013 @ 06:18 [ref: 67772]
 Russ Rhinehart \"Rhino\"
 Clinton, TN
Served with VAH-9 in "63. Transitioned to RVAH-9 in '64 was assigned to the "IOIC" as an "EE" operator. Responsible for the "EOB" and "AAA" order of battle.Briefed missions out of "Strike Ops" for N. Nam. Then evaluated "ELINT"after we recovered the tape. We coordinated this data with the Photo guys. I was an AT1 at the time. Really had a excellent job.
09/19/2012 @ 07:01 [ref: 67240]
 Russ Rhinehart \"Rhino\"
 Clinton, TN
Served with VAH-9 in "63. Transitioned to RVAH-9 in '64 was assigned to the "IOIC" as an "EE" operator. Responsible for the "EOB" and "AAA" order of battle.Briefed missions out of "Strike Ops" for N. Nam. Then evaluated "ELINT"after we recovered the tape. We coordinated this data with the Photo guys. I was an AT1 at the time. Really had a excellent job.
09/19/2012 @ 07:01 [ref: 67239]
 Jack R. Leonard
 , FL
I attended the Navy's "A" school in Millington, Tennessee, and upon completion I was ordered to VAH-1 at NAS Sanford, Florida. I arrived in February 1963 and was assigned to the Power Plant shop. Our squadron had 12 A5C Vigilantes at the time and I worked on the J79 engines and the fuel system of the aircraft. I deployed on the Med cruise aboard the USS Independence (CVA 62) ain 1963 and returned to NAS Sanford in 1964. I made ADJ-2 in November 1964. I attended school on the RA5C and specialized in the fuel system. Our squadron was assigned 6 of the new aircraft which we took on our WestPac Cruise aboard t5he USS Independence in 1965 doing photo reconnaissance in North Viet Nam in support of our fighters and bombers. Our planes took several hits and one diverted from the ship to Da Nang Air Force Base where I as sent to apply preservatives to the engines for shipment back to the US. Does anyone recall this incident?
07/07/2012 @ 12:03 [ref: 63092]
 Sam Jones
 Pensacola, FL
I checked in to NAS Albany(January 1972)from NAS Ellyson Field in Pensacola, FL just in time go through FRAMP with RVAH-1 and then on to my assigned squadron RVAH-6 for carrier quals out of Norfolk. We were supposed to go "Med" after quals, but thanks to a sailor on the Forrestal (that tried to burn her down) our Captain of the America volunteered us for a "West Pac" to take the Forrestal's place.I was a AT-3 in the CNI shop and Chief Carr was or shop chief and there was three of us that worked the night shift(Ron Ernie, Steve Tate and myself) for the first part of the cruise and Steve got ot go home before Thanksgiving to get out. We eventually got a couple of Airman just out of A school.I didn't think I was going to like going West Pac, but I/we did get to see places like the Philipines,Hong Kong and Singapore which I knew I would never see again.I left the ship at Subic Bay in January of 1973 to go home to Pensacola, FL to get out.I was blessed a year and half after getting out to go to work for the federal government (DOD) as a Electronics Mechanic at Warner Robbins Air Force Base and then transfered back to the Naval Aviation Depot on NAS Pensacola, FL where I worked until I retired in 1997 due to BRAC.
06/19/2012 @ 16:46 [ref: 60579]
 Bob Knotts
 Phx, AZ, AZ
I spent my last 2 1/2 years in RVAH-3, first in Albany, then in Key West. Was supposed to be recon co-ordinator (CHPHOT,-W2) instead went to the recon division billet. When I met the maintenance and assistant maintenance officers (MO, AMO), the AMO asked me how much maintence experience I had. I told him--None. He just rolled his eyes and looked at the MO. The maintance officer just looked at me, smiled, and said,"Well, this is the best place I know to get experience".

02/27/2012 @ 17:09 [ref: 53403]
 William L Wilkerson
 Anderson, CA
I was in Heavy 13 when the Forrestal accident happened. Heavy 11 took our aircraft and some maint people. We lost our Skipper, XO, Maint Officer and some others. I don't rember if all went to Heavy 11 - But Heavy 11 did take our ship and our cruisr. We literaly sat on our duffs for months and months whith no aircraft. We figured that we going to stricken from the Navy's inventpory. Officers started trickling in and then we got a new Skipper (Frog)/XO, new aircraft and we were a squadron again!!!! Went to the Med on the Forrestal. I was also on the 1st USS AMERICA West Pac. After we arrived on station and a couple days ops - the Area Commander sent a special crew aboard to teach the ship how to operate - West Pac Style! It was memorable for me - what with all the A7 problems we had - had to go to Yoko to replace all our missiles - etc. The vigi is/was my most aircraft to have worked on!!
12/15/2010 @ 18:07 [ref: 34306]
 Roger Folland
 Sun City West, AZ
I was an AQ in RVAHs 13,5,1,and 3, decommissioning the last three. For location, of aircraft, 156610 is mounted as a static display in front of what was the Admin building at the old NAS Cubi Point, Philippines. T%he last time I looked at Google Earth, it was still there. A story that was circulated around 1971 was that North American proposed selling the A-5 airframe to the Air Force as an interceptor with a third J-79 residing in what had been the linear tunnel. In the late '70s an old North American employee working at the NAS Jacksonville Rework facility told me that an example had been built but experienced severe airframe heating at speed... it was named "Operation Redwing".
07/01/2008 @ 08:24 [ref: 21734]
 c d
 , PA
Try asking on RVAHNAVY.COM
06/28/2008 @ 10:28 [ref: 21713]
 Bob Dunham
 Austin,, TX
Does anyone have a photo or drawing of an A-5 ejection seat? A friend bought an F-100 seat off e-bay - it says it is an F-100, but I have my doubts, and I know the F-100 seat pretty well. I think it may be an A/RA-5 seat.
06/26/2008 @ 17:12 [ref: 21614]


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