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RA-5C Vigilante - USN RVAH-11 Checkertails, AA606, USS Forrestal, 1967 

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Expected release date is 30th Nov 2024

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RA-5C Vigilante - USN RVAH-11 Checkertails, AA606, USS Forrestal, 1967

Historical Note:


Preorder Expected Arrival - NOV 2024

With the increasing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam after 1964, RVAH-11 added to the mix of RVAH squadrons participating in combat operations in Southeast Asia, although its first such deployment would be a watershed event in terms of shipboard and aviation safety for the U.S. Navy in general and Naval Aviation. From 6 June - 15 September 1967, RVAH-11 was embarked aboard USS Forrestal for an Atlantic and Indian Ocean transit en route to its first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and Vietnam deployment. On 29 July 1967, three of the squadron's were destroyed in the disastrous 1967 flight deck fire aboard USS Forrestal.

Designed to meet a US Naval requirement for a high-performance, all-weather attack aircraft, the A-5 was first flown on August 31st, 1958. The large, swept-wing design incorporated a bomb-bay between the two powerful J79 engines. This enabled the Vigilante to deliver a free-fall nuclear bomb while flying at supersonic speeds. Later versions of the A-5 were developed for a reconnaissance role and the bomb-bay housed additional fuel-tanks.

Info: RA-5C Vigilante - USN RVAH-11 Checkertails, AA606, USS Forrestal, 1967

Product Videos

A-5 Vigilante - The Aircraft Carrier Nuclear Bomber (11:22)
A Vigilante ensures justice in their own way, taking matters into their hands and fight for what it’s right. Such were the objectives for North American Aviation’s A-5 Vigilante, or Vigi, a state-of-the-art Cold War-era aircraft, and the last strategic bomber ever built for the Navy. The Vigi’s Mach 2+ speed capability appealed to the Navy, as they wanted to deliver nuclear payloads at high speeds and in the shortest amount of time possible. That meant catapulting them off of aircraft carriers stationed in the world’s most dangerous military hot zones. But regardless of its technological superiority, the Vigilante was disappointing in its original purpose as a carrier-based strategic nuclear bomber. Quite simply, it was a dangerous idea. Even the most skilled pilots were afraid of flying the plane and the missions. During testing, its bomb and fuel tanks would drop off of the plane when launched from a catapult. Having a nuclear bomb falling and rolling around on deck was last thing a carrier needed. Conveniently during this period, submarine missiles became the best option for bomb payloads, and the Vigilante became outdated. Out of all the things that could go wrong in a bomber aircraft, the Vigi seemed to have suffered most of them. Despite its failure in the bomber role, engineers took advantage of its speed capabilities. They modified the A-5 to perform fast reconnaissance aircraft in Vietnam, where it conducted pre and post-strike photography missions. These kinds of operations were dangerous but critical for the war. Although the Vigi didn’t deliver its original role, its heroic reconnaissance ops performance went down in the Vietnam War’s history.
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    A Vigilante ensures justice in their own way, taking matters i...

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