Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series HA4703: RA-5C Vigilante serial 156610, RVAH-6 Fleurs, USS Nimitz, 1978
North American RA-5C Vigilante 156610 was manufactured as C/N 316-3 and delivered to the USN in June 1969. First assigned to RVAH-3 and then in late 1969 until early 1972 with RVAH-11. The rest of 1972 was spent with RVAH-1 and later with RVAH-5, RVAH-3 and from 1976 and into 1978 with RVAH-6 “Fleurs”. In 1978 RVAH-6 RA5C 156610 was assigned to Cdr. Gordy Wileen and Cdr. Al Frank on the USS Nimitz. On October 31 1978 with RVAH-12 156610 was written off at NAS Rota Spain.
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.