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VNAF embossed type
(Added 4 photos) A-37 DRAGONFLY
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       On Aug. 23, 1966, the USAF directed the establishment of a program to evaluate the A-37 in a combat environment. The project was named "Combat Dragon" and was designed to test the effectiveness of the A-37 in Close Air Support, counterinsurgency and escort missions in Vietnam. Besides testing the aircraft operationally, the project was also used to evaluate the maintenance, supply and manpower requirements. The Tactical Fighter Weapons Center directed the program and established a 350-man squadron with 25 A-37As at England Air Force Base, La. in early 1967. The unit was designated as the 604th Air Commando Squadron. Initial instructor pilot training began on March 29, 1967. Initial operations and combat orientation started on May 1. Phase I of Combat Dragon was done between June 19 and July 16, 1967 at England Air Force Base. Phase I measured data collection and analysis procedures to be used during the actual combat evaluation, train the A-37A pilots, establish a bombing and gunnery baseline and identify and fix problems with the aircraft.

The 604th ACS was moved to Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, between July 17 and Aug. 14, 1967. Phase II of Combat Dragon began on Aug. 15 and ended on Sept. 6. This phase of the project was used to familiarize the pilots was the operational areas of Vietnam and Laos. The data collection and evaluation system was also refined using forms and methods already in use in Southeast Asia. Phase III of Combat Dragon began on Sept. 7 and the first actual ground strike missions were flown. Phase III operations continued until Oct. 27. Phase IV of Combat Dragon was done between Oct. 28 and 30 and tested accelerated (maximum sortie generation) mission scheduling. Phase V began on Nov. 1 and tested the ability of the aircraft to operate from a forward operating location. Seven aircraft were deployed to Pleiku Air Base and flew combat mission through Dec. 2. The remaining 18 aircraft remained at Bien Hoa Air Base and flew normal (Phase III) combat strike missions.

The 604th ACS flew about 5,000 training and combat sorties during the five phases of the Combat Dragon project. During Phase III each aircraft averaged between three and four missions every two days. During Phase IV, the maximum sortie rate reached 6.3 missions per day per aircraft. During Phase V, three new missions were flown: Forward Air Control, armed reconnaissance and night interdiction. In addition to missions with South Vietnam, Phase V missions were flown in southeast Laos in the Tigerhound areas.

The operational test phases of the Combat Dragon project were concluded in early December 1967, and the evaluation team returned to the United States to finish data analysis and make recommendations. During combat operations, Combat Dragon A-37As flew 4,463 sorties and dropped over 19,000 pieces of ordnance during the 107 day evaluation period. The team found the maintenance requirements of the A-37A to be lower than expected. The size of the squadron was acceptable for Phase III sortie rates, but would have to be increased for higher rates (i.e. there weren't enough pilots, crew chiefs and maintenance personnel to support high sortie generation rates). The A-37A was dependable and easy to maintain, so logistics and supply issues were not a major concern. The A-37A was judged to be an effective ground attack aircraft in the South Vietnam and Tigerhound areas (combat radius to 240 nm maximum). The A-37A was also an adequate Close Air Support aircraft; however, the low wing and limited right aft quadrant visibility when an observer wasn't flying (normally only a pilot flew) in the cockpit's right seat. One major problem identified involved the lack of fuel quantity gauges for the wingtip tanks and external drop tanks carried. For long duration missions, the pilot ran a significant risk of running out of fuel. Overall, the A-37A was judged an effective weapons system and full scale production of the A-37B proceeded based in part on the recommendations of the Combat Dragon team.
(Source: U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet)

Click FINAL TAKEOFF to read the story of the last flight of a VNAF A-37 on the April 30, 1975.


A-37 DRAGONFLY

SPECIFICATIONS :

•Span: 35 ft. 10 in.
•Length: 29 ft. 4 in.
•Height: 8 ft. 2 in.
•Weight: 11,700 lbs. maximum
•Armament: Maximum of 3,000 lbs. including one GAU-2/A 7.62mm "Gatling" gun, plus additional gun pods, high-explosive bombs, fire bombs, rockets, grenades and/or missiles
•Engines: Two General Electric J85s of 2,400 lbs. thrust each
•Cost: $161,000

PERFORMANCE:

•Maximum speed: 485 mph
•Cruising speed: 425 mph
•Range: 270 miles with 3,000 lb. load
•Service ceiling: 36,000 ft.



B-26, H-19, Alouette
VNAF aircraft VNAF aircraft VNAF aircraft VNAF aircraft VNAF aircraft
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AVNAF aircraft


VNAF AC-119K & C-119G
VNAF aircraft
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Click THE LAST TINH LONG to read the story of defense of Saigon by a lone VNAF AC-119K.

       The C-119, developed from the World War II Fairchild C-82, was designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built. The USAF used the airplane extensively during the Korean War and many were supplied to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and to the Air Forces of Canada, Belgium, Italy and India. In South Vietnam, the airplane once again entered combat, this time in a ground support role as AC-119 gunships mounting side-firing weapons capable of firing up to 6,000 rounds per minute per gun.

FAIRCHILD AC-119K

SPECIFICATIONS :

•Span: 109 ft. 3 1/4 in.
•Length: 86 ft. 5 3/4 in.
•Height: 26 ft. 7 3/4 in.
•Weight: 80,400 lbs.
•Max. Armament: Four SUU-11A 7.62 mm "miniguns" with 21,500 rounds of ammunition. Two M61-A1 20 mm vulcan cannons with 3,000 rounds of ammunition. 24 MK 24 flares and an LAU-74/A flare launcher. Later, the SUU-11A's were replaced by General Electric MXU-470/A gun modules. The AC-119K was equipped with a computerized fire control system (FCS) with fully auto, semi-auto, manual and offset firing capabilities. The Stinger also had a 1.5 million candlepower illuminator with a variable beam, APQ-136 forward looking radar, AAD-4 forward looking infrared radar (FLIR), APQ-25/26 electronic countermeasures (ECM) warning device, and AN/APQ-133 Beacon Tracking Radar (removed in December 1970).
•Engines: Two Wright R-3350s of 3,500 hp. ea. and two General Electric J85-GE-17 turbojets of 2850 lbs. thrust each

PERFORMANCE:

•Combat speed: 180 knots
•Maximum speed: 290 mph
•Cruising speed: 200 mph
•Duration: approximately 5 hours (plus 30 minutes reserve)
•Attack altitude: Approximately 3,500ft. above ground level (AGL) for close air support; 5,500ft AGL for ground attack in areas without AAA and 7,000ft AGL in areas with AAA.
•Range: 2,000 miles
•Service ceiling: 30,000 ft.



SOUTH VIETNAM AIRFORCE ONE
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Air Force One


VNAF CH-47 CHINOOK

CH-47 CH-47 CH-47 CH-47 CH-47


VNAF C-7 CARIBOU

VNAF C-7 Caribou VNAF C-7 Caribou
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USAF C-7 CARIBOU

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USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou

CARIBOU FREAK ACCIDENT

USAF ARMY C-7 Caribou

The haunting photograph (on the left, click to see larger image), which graced every Caribou briefing room, was a grim reminder that the Viet Cong and the NVA were not the only problem for pilots in Vietnam. This incident occurred in August 3, 1967 when the Caribou (tail number 62-4161) flew into the line of fire of a 155mm howitzer while trying to land at the U.S. Special Forces camp. All three crewman died in the crash.

This was early in the transition of the Caribou from the Army to the Air Force and highlighted the need for far better coordination amongst the services. This photo is from book of photographs by combat photographers called Requiem. The photo credit is as follows: HIROMICHI MINE Ha Phan (sic), Vietnam, 1967.


DE HAVILLAND CANADA C-7 Caribou

       The Caribou is a twin-engine, short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport built by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, Ltd. It is used primarily for tactical airlift missions in forward battle areas with short, unimproved airstrips. It can carry 26 fully equipped paratroops or up to 20 litter patients. As a cargo aircraft the Caribou can haul more than three tons of equipment. The Caribou's STOL capability made it particularly suitable for delivering troops, supplies, and equipment to isolated outposts.

The Caribou made its first flight in June 30,1958. In 1959 the U.S. Army flew several prototypes for evaluation and, in 1961, the first 22 out of a total of 159 production versions were delivered to the Army. Originally designated AC-1, the aircraft was redesigned CV-2 in 1962 and retained that designation for the remainder of its Army career. In January 1967, when responsibility for all fixed-wing tactical transports was transferred to the U.S. Air Force, the Caribou received the designation C-7.

Five Caribou prototypes were delivered to the United States Army in 1959 for evaluation and eventually 159 examples of the aircraft were ordered under the designation AC-1 (renamed the CV-2A in 1962). The Army later bought copies of the improved CV-2B.

In April 1966 the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force agreed to let the USAF take over all of the Army's fixed-wing tactical transports -- including all Caribou still in service -- in order to make more intratheater cargo aircraft available to the Air Force in Southeast Asia, thereby relaxing the demand for C-123 and C-130 aircraft. Redesignated as the C-7 when finally transferred to the USAF in January 1967, the primary mission of the Caribou continued to be the resupply of isolated Army outposts throughout Southeast Asia.

By the time Caribou production ended in 1973, a total of 307 examples had been built. Many are still operated around the world today. Besides its service with the United States Army and Air Force, the Caribou was also operated by the United Nations and by the air forces of South Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Muscat, Oman, Spain, Tanzania, Taiwan, and Zambia. The police forces of Thailand and Uganda also flew the Caribou, as did several airlines around the world. (The civilian version accommodated 30 passengers.) The Utah detachment of the U.S. Army Reserve also operated the C-7 for a time from their base in Salt Lake City.

DE HAVILLAND CANADA C-7 Caribou

SPECIFICATIONS :

•Country of Origin Canada (DHC-4A, CC-108)
•Similar Aircraft Buffalo C-8A, DHC-5
•Role STOL utility transport (32 equipped troops, 1/4-ton trucks).
•Span 95 ft. 7 in.
•Length 72 ft. 7 in.
•Height 31 ft. 8 in.
•Weight 28,500 lbs. max.
•Armament None
•Engines Two Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7M2s of 1,450 hp. ea.
•Crew Three

PERFORMANCE:

•Maximum speed 216 mph.
•Cruising speed 152 mph.
•Range 1,175 miles
•Service Ceiling 24,800 ft.

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