RA-5C Vigilante

This Vietnam-ear warbird has just moved into renovation. 156615 went to NWC China Lake on November 16, 1979, and on December 17, 2011 it came to Castle.

The A-5 was designed as a supersonic carrier based nuclear strike aircraft to replace the A-3 Skywarrior in that role. However after the Navy decided to place its nuclear mission aboard the nuclear submarines the A-5 was modified into a highly capable and effective reconnaissance platform, which was reclassified to the RA-5C designation. It was an RA-5 in 1967 on a photo run over Hanoi that discovered the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW prison.

The RA-5C in the museum’s collection, currently under restoration made the last ever carrier landing of an RA-5 aboard the USS Ranger, CV-61 in August 1979 prior to the aircraft’s deactivation.