Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA4701 North American RA-5C Vigilante 156624, RVAH-6, USS Kitty Hawk, 1971

The North American A3J Vigilante first flew on August 31, 1958 and was in service until November 1979. Originally designed as a Mach 2 all-weather bomber; the aircraft eventually had a new role of high-speed reconnaissance. In 1962 the Vigilante received new designators, the original A3J-1 became the A-5A, A3J-2 became A-5B while the reconnaissance version A3J-3P became the RA-5C and first flew June 30, 1962. The Vigilante was the largest and fastest aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier. The RA-5C was heavily used in the Vietnam War.

North American RA-5C 156624 was one of the last Vigilantes to be manufactured and was accepted by the USN in January 1970. The first assignment was with Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 6 (RVAH-6) “Fleurs” that spent 1970 and 1971 on a cruise aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) West Pac Cruise. During 1972-73 the aircraft deployed aboard the USS America (CVA-66). The RVAH-6 moved to Florida and spent time aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) in 1974. The next three years saw the aircraft move to RVAH-5 “Savage Sons”, RVAH-9 “Hoot Owls”, RVAH-12 “Speartips” and time on the USS Constellation (CVA-64) and USS Independence (CV-62) before returning to RVAH-6. RA-5C 156624 made its final flight in mid-1978 and is displayed at the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola, Florida wearing AJ-601 from its last cruise aboard the USS Nimitz.

Specifications for the North American RA-5C Vigilante
Crew – 2 / tandem twin cockpits x Pilot in front cockpit, Reconnaissance Attack Navigator in the rear
Number of Aircraft – 91 new built, converted aircraft 43 A-5A and the first 6 A-5B = 140
Length – 76 ft 7 in (23.3 m) Wingspan – 53 ft 2in (16.2 m) Height – 19 ft 5 in (5.9 m)
Empty – 37,500 lb (17,000 kg) Maximum – 79,600 lb (36,100 kg)
Engines – 2 x General Electric J79-GE-10 turbojets with each engine producing 17,859 lbs of thrust.
Speed Maximum – 1,320 mph (2,125 km/h) Service Ceiling – 52,100 ft (15,900 m) Range – 2,050 miles (3,300 km)
AN/ASB-12 Bombing & Navigation Radar Westinghouse AN/APD-7 SLAR Sanders AN/ALQ-100 E/F/G/H-Band Radar Jammer Sanders AN/ALQ-41 X-Band Radar Jammer AIL AN/ALQ-61 Radio/Radar/IR ECM Receiver Litton ALR-45 "COMPASS TIE" 2-18 GHz Radar Warning Receiver Magnavox AN/APR-27 SAM Radar Warning Receiver Itek AN/APR-25 S/X/C-Band Radar Detection and Homing Set Motorola AN/APR-18 Electronic Reconnaissance System AN/AAS-21 IR Reconnaissance Camera