Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA4704 RA-5C Vigilante “Eagle Eyes” 156642, USS Independence, 1970s

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.

Because of an early 1960s USN mission change the A-5 Vigilante production was halted and the high speed reconnaissance RA-5C variant was begun. The first RA-5Cs Vigilante was delivered in 1963. North American RA-5C 156642 was delivered to the USN in 1970 and assigned to RVAH-3. Over the next decade the aircraft served with five squadrons and a couple of them twice. In 1979 the aircraft was struck off charge and sent to the USN Weapons Center at China Lake, California and a year later salvaged.

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