Aircraft And Military Development & Applications
36-North American A-5 Vigilante              
The A-5 was a very advanced supersonic attack aircraft, optimised for low-level attacks at high speed. It was long and angular, with rectangular air intakes, small, thin swept wings incorporating large full-span flaps, and all-moving tail surfaces. But the A-5, one of the biggest aircraft ever operated from a carrier, was not successful in its intended role as nuclear bomber, It has been claimed that the bomb ejection mechanism was unsatisfactory. The bomb bay was between the engines, and the plan was to expel the bomb rearwards, together with two empty fuel tanks. 63 bombers were built, but all but ten were converted to RA-5C reconnaissance aircraft. There were also 55 new RA-5Cs built. These were very effective and served until 1980.

Nuclear strike role to replace the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was very short; however, as the RA-5C, it saw extensive service during the Vietnam War in the tactical strike reconnaissance role. Prior to the unification of the Navy designation sequence with the Air Force sequence in 1962, it was designated the A3J Vigilante.

Maximum speed: 2,123 km/h (1,319 mph) Range: 1,808 mi Maiden flight: 31 Aug 1958 Length: 76.51 ft Wingspan: 53.02 ft Retired: 20 Nov 1979
General Characteristics
Crew: 2
Length: 76 ft 6 in (23.32 m)
Wingspan: 53 ft 0 in (16.16 m)
Height: 19 ft 4 3⁄4 in (5.91 m)
Wing area: 700 sq ft (65.1 m2)
Empty weight: 32,714 lb (14,870 kg)
Loaded weight: 47,530 lb (21,605 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 62,953 lb (28,615 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × General Electric J79-GE-8 afterburning turbojets
Dry thrust: 10,900 lbf(48 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 17,000 lbf (76 kN) each
Role: Nuclear strike bomber or reconnaissance aircraft
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
First flight: 31 August 1958
Introduction: June 1961
Retired: 20 November 1979
Status: Retired
Primary user: United States Navy
Produced: 1956-63
Number built: 156
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (1,149 knots, 1,320 mph, 2,123 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,200 m)
Combat radius: 1,121 nmi[dubious - discuss] (1,289 mi, 2,075 km)
Ferry range: 1,571 nmi (1,807 mi, 2,909 km)
Service ceiling: 52,100 ft (15,880 m)
Rate of climb: 8,000 ft/min (40.6 m/s)
Wing loading: 80.4 lb/ft² (308.3 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 0.72
1× Mark 27 nuclear bomb, B28 or B43 freefall nuclear bomb in internal weapons bay
2× B43, Mark 83, or Mark 84 bombs on two external hardpoints

Systems carried by A-5 or RA-5C
AN/ASB-12 Bombing & Navigation Radar (A-5, RA-5C)
Westinghouse AN/APD-7 SLAR (RA-5C)
Sanders AN/ALQ-100 E/F/G/H-Band Radar Jammer (RA-5C)
Sanders AN/ALQ-41 X-Band Radar Jammer (A-5, RA-5C)
AIL AN/ALQ-61 Radio/Radar/IR ECM Receiver (RA-5C)
Litton ALR-45 "COMPASS TIE" 2-18 GHz Radar Warning Receiver (RA-5C)
Magnavox AN/APR-27 SAM Radar Warning Receiver (RA-5C)
Itek AN/APR-25 S/X/C-Band Radar Detection and Homing Set (RA-5C)
Motorola AN/APR-18 Electronic Reconnaissance System (A-5, RA-5C)
AN/AAS-21 IR Reconnaissance Camera (RA-5C)
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Nigel G Wilcox
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