The basis model for the RA-5C was the A-5B bomber. Forty three were built and 18 original A-5B were converted and it was decided to convert another 43 A-5A and A-5B models to the RA-5C standard. In 1968, another 46 examples were ordered, of which only 36 were built, totaling 140 aircrafts.
The two crew members were installed in tandem inside a double cockpit. It had a curious rain removal system consisting of blowing hot air over the windscreen, which allowed excellent visibility in all kinds of weather conditions.
The RA-5C carrier squadrons consisted of six aircraft during the early period of the Vietnam War, then progressively decreased to three aircraft per squadron in 1974-75. The 7th Fleet was in charge of carrying out operations from aircraft carriers located in the Tonkin Gulf.
RA-5C set a record by flying on a reconnaissance mission at 28,000 meters. Sadly, this aircraft also has the record of being the most shot down aircraft over Vietnam. 18 Vigilantes were lost; 11 by AA fire, 2 by SAM missiles, 1 was shot down by a MiG-21 and 5 by unknown causes.
Some RA-5C‘s unedited systems are currently standardized in modern aircrafts such as the HUD, the fly by wire control system, the monopulse radar with terrain avoidance, the airborne digital computer for bomb and navigation, the fully integrated auto pilot / air data system for Bomb / Navigation weapons release, or the Bomb-Navigation System with an inertial auto-navigation coupled to radar and television-sights for verifications.

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