Lexington Park in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
North American RA-5C Vigilante
Very Fast, Very Heavy Reconnaissance The RA-5C began as the A3J Vigilante (redesignated A-5 in 1962), a carrier-based bomber designed to deliver a nuclear weapon and travel at twice the speed of sound. Two years after Vigilantes were fielded, however, submarines began assuming the strategic nuclear attack mission. As a result, Vigilantes in the fleet and in production were converted to reconnaissance aircraft. Only the U.S. Navy operated the Vigilante, with eight RA-5C squadrons serving in Southeast Asia from August 1964 through 1975. The aircraft's graceful lines, along with its amazing speed and huge size (among the heaviest carrier-capable aircraft ever), make the Vigilante one of the most unique aircraft in Naval Aviation history. The last RA-5C flight was in November 1979.
Our Display Aircraft Bureau Number 156643 was the last production RA-5C. It was accepted by the Navy on 30 October 1970 and served with a number of different fleet squadrons. Although a fleet aircraft, our Vigilante was often flown by Naval Air Test Center crews to support periodic Automatic Carrier Landing System certifications. IT
Primary Mission: Long-range reconnaissance
Crew: One Pilot, one Reconnaissance Attack Navigator
U.S. Service Timeline (A-5 Series): 1961 - 1979
Max. Gross Weight: 80,000 lb
Dimensions: 76.6 ft length, 53.0 ft wing span
Propulsion: Two General Electric J79-GE-10 turbojets
Max. Operating Speed: 719 MPH (sea level); Mach 2.0 at altitude
Armament/Payload: Free-fall nuclear weapon (A-5A); Side-looking radar, cameras (vertical, oblique, split-image), and passive electronic warfare sensors (RA-5C)
Erected by Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Military • War, Vietnam • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 38° 16.552′ N, 76° 27.725′ W. Marker is in Lexington Park, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Three Notch Road (Maryland Route 235) just north of Buse Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 22156 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park MD 20653, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (a few steps from this marker); McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet (a few steps from this marker); Grumman A-6E Intruder (a few steps from this marker); Grumman NF-14D Tomcat (a few steps from this marker); Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler (a few steps from this marker); LTV NA-7A Corsair II (a few steps from this marker); The F9F-8B “Cougar” (within shouting distance of this marker); AIM-9H Sidewinder Missile (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 1, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 65 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 1, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.