"Low and Fast, the Vigilante"
North American (Rockwell) RA-5C Vigilante

As the ‘Cold War’ developed in the mid-1950’s the US Navy wanted a carrier-borne, long-range bomber that could deliver a nuclear punch deep into enemy territory at supersonic speed.

The A-5 Vilgilante was North American’s answer and first flew on August 31, 1958.  Operational service began in 1961.  Less than a year later, the DOD determined that the future of this type was in reconnaissance.  All bombers under construction were converted to the photo-reconnaissance mission and the RA-5C was born.  The first official flight was made on June, 1962.

In 1964, the RA-5C was deployed to Vietnam. While it was never armed with anything but cameras, its main weapon was its blinding speed, with a specialty of coming in low and fast.

Pictured in this painting is the RC-5C that served with Heavy Seven (RVAH-7) “Peacemakers” aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) during 1974 while in action off Vietnam.