Da Nang Air Base
Da Nang Air Base was a French Air Force and Republic of Vietnam Air Force facility located in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, it was a major base with United States Army, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps units stationed there. Air Vietnam used the facility from 1951 to 1975 for civilian domestic and international flights within Southeast Asia. On 22 September 1940, the Vichy Government signed an agreement with Japan allowing the Japanese to station troops in Tonkin and use three airfields there. On 14 July 1941, the Japanese sent the French an ultimatum demanding the use of bases in Annam and Cochinchina, the French acquiesced and by late July, the Japanese occupied Cam Ranh Bay, Bien Hoa Air Base and Tourane Airfield. In late 1944, the Fourteenth Air Force based in southern China began raiding Japanese bases throughout Indochina and on 12 January 1945, the United States Third Fleet launched attacks on Japanese coastal bases including Da Nang. Tourane Airfield was used by the French Air Force during the French Indochina War.
In December 1950, pursuant to the Mutual Defense Assistance Act and Program, the US delivered B-26 Invaders to the French and these were used to form the Bombardment Group I/19 Gascogne based at Tourane. In 1953, the US Eighteenth Air Force C-119s were deployed to Tourane to support French military operations, a number of these aircraft crewed by civilians flew in support of French forces in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. In 1953/54 the French laid a NATO-standard 7,800-foot asphalt runway at Tourane. In January 1954, the USAF delivered a further 16 B-26s and 3 RB-26s to Tourane and in February assigned USAF maintenance and supply personnel to Tourane on temporary duty to support B-26 operations; the USAF delivered 18 C-47s to Tourane on 9 April to replace aircraft losses. In April VMA-324 delivered 25 F4U/G Corsairs to the French Air Force at Tourane. Following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and in anticipation of the Indochina peace treaty, on 23 May the USAF C-119 detachment at Cat Bi Air Base moved to Tourane.
On 6 September the last of the C-119s on loan to the French departed from Tourane. By the end of the Indochina War, the French had established a small Republic of Vietnam Air Force consisting of 2 squadrons of Morane-Saulnier MS.500 and one of Morane-Saulnier MS.315. In January 1955, MAAG Vietnam decided that the RVNAF would comprise one fighter, two liaison and two transport squadrons and that training would be undertaken by the French. Under the Mutual Defence Assistance Program, the US delivered 28 F8Fs, 35 C-47s and 60 L-19s to the RVNAF to equip the planned expansion. On 19 September 1956 the French turned over Tourane Airfield to the RVNAF and on 1 June 1957 all RVNAF training responsibility passed from the French to the United States. In November 1955, the RVNAF 1st Liaison Squadron moved to Da Nang AB from Huế. In 1960, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam established a ranger training facility at Da Nang Air Base. In October 1962, the 2nd Helicopter Squadron was activated at the base and in 3 December Liaison Squadron was activated.
In mid-1962, the RVNAF 2nd Fighter Squadron equipped with T-28s became operational at Nha Trang Air Base and began detaching 6 aircraft to Da Nang AB. In January 1963, the 213th Helicopter Squadron replaced the 2nd Helicopter Squadron, the 110th Liaison Squadron replaced the 1st Liaison Squadron and the 114th Liaison Squadron replaced the 3rd Liaison Squadron. In February 1964, the 516th Fighter Squadron equipped with 15 A-1 Skyraiders moved to Da Nang AB from Nha Trang AB. On 15 March 1964 the RVNAF established a Tactical Wing Headquarters at the base. In May the 217th Helicopter Squadron was established at the base. On 8 February 1965, RVNAF commander Nguyễn Cao Kỳ led VNAF A-1s from the base on a retaliatory raid against North Vietnamese targets. On 2 March 1965, 20 A-1s from the base participated in the first attacks of Operation Rolling Thunder, striking the Vietnam People's Navy base at Quảng Khê. On 14 March the VNAF led by General Kỳ participated in attacks on barracks on Hòn Gió island.
In August 1965, 4 USAF B-57Bs operating from the base were nominally transferred to the RVNAF becoming their first jet aircraft. In 1970, the RVNAF units at Da Nang AB were reorganized as the First Air Division with responsibility for Military Region I. During that year the VNAF began building family housing at the base for its personnel. Da Nang air base was used as the primary entry point for Americans youngsters, flying into Vietnam for the first time to fight in the Vietnam war, it was used by the United States Marine Corps as well as the US Air force. In January 1962, the USAF 5th Tactical Control Group was deployed to Da Nang AB to provide air support operations in I Corps. By 2 March C-123s were stationed at the base under Project Mule Train. On 20 May 1962 the 6222nd Air Base Squadron was formed at the base to support VNAF operations and the growing USAF presence through Farm Gate operations. On 15 June 1962, 12 C-123s from the 777th Troop Carrier Squadron deployed to the base forming the Tactical Air Force Transport Squadron Provisional-2 to supplement the existing Mule Train operations and those of the US Army's 18th Fixed Wing Aviation Company equipped with U-1 Otters.
In early 1962, the base runway was asphalt covered and 7,900-foot long while the taxiways and parking areas were covered in Pierced steel planking. In April 1963, the 777th Troop Carrier Squadron equipped with 16 C-123s was transferred to the base and that year the base's existing Mule Train operations were redesignated as the 311th Troop Carrier Squadr
South Vietnam Air Force
The South Vietnam Air Force the Republic of Vietnam Air Force was the aerial branch of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces, the official military of the Republic of Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. The VNAF began with a few hand-picked men chosen to fly alongside French pilots during the State of Vietnam era, it grew into the world's sixth largest air force at the height of its power, in 1974. It is an neglected chapter of the history of the Vietnam War as they operated in the shadow of the United States Air Force, it was dissolved in 1975 after the Fall of Saigon. In March 1949, Emperor Bảo Đại requested that the French help set up a Vietnamese military air arm. Pressure was maintained with the assistance of Lt. Col. Nguyễn Văn Hinh, who had flown the B-26 Marauder with the French Air Force during the Second World War. In March 1952, a training school was set up at Nha Trang, the following year two army co-operation squadrons began missions flying the Morane-Saulnier MS.500 Criquet light aircraft.
In 1954, the French allocated a number of Dassault MD.315 Flamant armed light transports to the inventory of this Vietnamese air arm. Vietnamese pilot trainees began to be sent to France for more advanced training. In May 1954, with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, the position of France changed, on January 31, 1955, the Vietnam Air Force was inaugurated; the RVNAF consisted of 58 aircraft and about 1,300 personnel. Aircraft consisted of C-47 Skytrains, Grumman F8F Bearcats. French instructors for pilots and mechanics remained until late 1956, transferred 69 F8F Bearcat aircraft to the VNAF, which throughout the late 1950s were the main strike aircraft. In May 1956, by agreement with the South Vietnamese government, the United States Air Force assumed some training and administrative roles of the RVNAF. Teams from Clark Air Force Base began in 1957 to organize the RVNAF into a model of the USAF when the French training contracts expired. Unlike the ARVN, the VNAF was an all-volunteer service, remaining so until its demise in 1975.
The VNAF recruiting center was located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Recruits were given a screening test, followed by a physical examination. Basic requirements for service in the VNAF was to be a Vietnamese citizen. S. 9th grade education for airmen. If a volunteer met all the qualifications, the recruit was sent to basic training at the ARVN training base at Lam Song. Non-commissioned officer training was held at Bien Hoa Air Base. After two months of training, or four months for aviation cadets, the recruit was given an aptitude test and progressed to specialized technical training. From there, he was sent to one of the ARVN wings for journeymen training. Aviation cadets pursued three additional months of specialized training after completing their initial four-month training course; some were sent to the United States for advanced pilot training while non-rated officers pursued training in South Vietnam for their non-flying assignments. This training lasted about nine months, whereupon a cadet served in an operational unit for about a year before receiving a commission as a second lieutenant.
Women served in the VNAF. The Women's Armed Forces Corps was formed to fill non-combat duties beginning in December 1965. Women were assigned to VNAF wings, the Air Logistics Wing, performing duties as personnel specialists and other administrative roles. During the final 1975 offensive, it was not a case of a massive collapse; the ARVN forces in Long Khánh were fighting to the death. A cooperative effort between the ARVN and the VNAF enabled ARVN troops there to hold on. CH-47 helicopters brought in 193 tons of artillery ammunition over two days. A-1 Skyraiders flew in and C-130 Hercules transports dropped massive 15,000-pound daisy cutter bombs on enemy positions. Flying against intense antiaircraft fire, they took a heavy toll on the NVA divisions around Xuân Lộc. On 28 April at 18:06 three A-37 Dragonflys piloted by former VNAF pilots who had defected to the Vietnamese People's Air Force at the fall of Danang, dropped 6 Mk81 250 lb bombs on the VNAF flightline at Tan Son Nhut Air Base destroying several aircraft.
VNAF Northrop F-5s were unable to intercept the A-37s. At dawn on 29 April the VNAF began to haphazardly depart Tan Son Nhut Air Base as A-37s, F-5s, C-7s, C-119s and C-130s departed for Thailand while UH-1s took off in search of the ships of the U. S. Task Force 76 offshore. At 08:00 Lieutenant General Trần Văn Minh, commander of the VNAF, 30 of his staff arrived at the American DAO Compound, demanding evacuation; this signified the complete loss of command and control of the VNAF. Some VNAF aircraft did stay to continue to fight the advancing NVA however. One AC-119K gunship from the 821st Attack Squadron had spent the night of 28/29 April dropping flares and firing on the approaching NVA. At dawn on 29 April two A-1 Skyraiders began patrolling the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut at 2500 feet until Maj. Trương Phùng, one of the two Skyraider pilots was shot down by an SA-7. At 07:00 the AC-119K "Tinh Long" flew by Lt. Trang van Thanh was firing on NVA to the east of Tan Son Nhut when it was hit by a SA-7 missile, fell in flames to the ground.
Sgt. Son, one of the AC-119K gunners tried to escape but his chute tangled in the tail of the airplane. Despite sporadic artillery and rocket fire, Binh Thuy Air Base remained operational throughout 29 April and on the morning of
563rd Rescue Group
The 563rd Rescue Group is a United States Air Force unit stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The group controls the rescue squadrons at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, it is assigned to the 355th Wing. The group directs flying operations dedicated to personnel recovery and is part of Air Combat Command; the group was activated under its current designation at Davis-Monthan in 2003 to command rescue units in the western United States. The group was first activated during World War II as the 3rd Emergency Rescue Squadron at Keesler Field, Mississippi. After training on the Gulf Coast, the squadron moved to the Southwest Pacific Theater in the fall of 1944, served in combat until the surrender of Japan, earning a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. After the war, the squadron moved to Japan, where it became part of the occupation forces, was located there when the Korean War began, it again served in combat, expanding to become the 3rd Air Rescue Group in 1952, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations and two Korean Presidential Unit Citations during the war.
The group was inactivated in 1957, when Air Rescue Service eliminated its groups and assigned its squadrons directly to its regional rescue centers. The group was organized again at Tan Son Nhut Airport in 1966 as the 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, to command United States Air Force rescue units engaged in the War in Vietnam, it participated in every campaign after 1966, winning an additional four Presidential Unit Citations, an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device and two Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm during combat in Southeast Asia. When the United States withdrew from Vietnam, the group moved its headquarters to Thailand and, after participating in the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon, was inactivated there in 1976; the 563rd Rescue Group directs flying operations dedicated to personnel recovery and is part of Air Combat Command. The group is responsible for training and operations of one Lockheed HC-130J Combat King squadron, two Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk squadrons, two "Guardian Angel" squadrons, an operations support squadron.
The 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan, the 58th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, are "Guardian Angel" squadrons that train and employ pararescuemen, combat rescue officers, supporting personnel worldwide. During combat rescue operations, they use various fixed and rotary wing aircraft for insertion and extraction; the squadrons provide survivor contact and extraction during combat rescue operations. They provide combat and humanitarian search and medical assistance; the 55th Rescue Squadron operates the Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk and deploys combat rescue forces worldwide. It employs its helicopter and aircrews in hostile environments to recover downed aircrew and isolated personnel during day, night, or marginal weather conditions; the squadron conducts civil search and rescue, disaster relief, international aid, emergency medical evacuation, counter-drug activities. The 66th Rescue Squadron is a geographically separated unit of the 563 RQG located at Nellis Air Force Base and operates the HH-60G Pave Hawk.
Its mission is similar to the 55th Rescue Squadron. The squadron meets HH-60G logistical and maintenance support requirements for the USAF Weapons School and Air Combat Command directed operational test missions; the 79th Rescue Squadron operates the HC-130J Combat King II and provides combat rescue forces to theater commanders worldwide. It conducts helicopter air refueling and landing of pararescue personnel on unimproved runways, equipment to recover combat personnel, its crews perform these missions day or night. The 563rd Operations Support Squadron supports the training and employment of the 563rd Rescue Group's six combat and support squadrons, it provides support functions, including weapons and tactics, current operations, training, life support, mobility. It manages programmed flying hours to insure that operational and training requirements are met within parameters set by higher headquarters, it is responsible for implementing contingency and theater war plans. The 655th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintains and inspects eight HH-60G Pave Hawk and six HC-130J Hercules aircraft.
It plans and directs both scheduled and unscheduled preventative maintenance to maintain mission ready status. The squadron performs all recovery operations, it generates, mobilizes and employs forces to provide combat and peacetime search and rescue. The unit was first activated at Gulfport Army Air Field, Mississippi in February 1944 as a Consolidated OA-10 Catalina unit; as with most Army Air Forces rescue units those deploying to the Pacific, the unit was organized for water recovery of downed aircrews. A number of the squadron's cadre had received training from the United States Navy with the Catalina at Naval Air Station Pensacola; the unit continued its training at Mississippi in April. On 18 May the ground echelon departed for the Southwest Pacific Theater, while the air echelon continued training at Keesler; the ground echelon arrived at Oakland Army Base, California on 20 May 1944 to ship out for Australia on the SS Boschfontein, arriving at Archerfield Airport near Brisbane, Australia on 17 June.
It moved to Oro Bay Airfield, New Guinea three days and moved forward to Mokmer Airfield on Biak in the Netherlands East Indies on 2 September 1944. The squadron's air echelon continued training at Keesler until 5 July 1944, when it flew to the Sacramento Air Depot, arriving the following day, it moved to Fairf
The Vietnam War known as the Second Indochina War, in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union and other communist allies; the war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U. S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975. American military advisors began arriving in what was French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U. S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state.
The Việt Cộng known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF, a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U. S. involvement escalated in 1960, continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963. By 1964, there were 23,000 U. S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U. S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U. S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam known as the North Vietnamese Army engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces; every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966.
U. S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces and airstrikes. The U. S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, proved to be the turning point of the war; the Tet Offensive showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders. S. forces. Gradual withdrawal of U. S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U. S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.
S. Congress; the capture of Saigon by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, 58,220 U. S. service members died in the conflict, a further 1,626 remain missing in action. The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and confllict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War; the end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea.
Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s. Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most used name in English, it has been called the Second Indochina War and the Vietnam Conflict. As there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others. In Vietnamese, the war is known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ, but less formally as'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ', it is called Chiến tranh Việt Nam. The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of th
Bình Định Province
Bình Định is a province of Vietnam. It is located in Vietnam's South Central Coast region. Bình Định was one of the places where the Cham first arrived in what is now Vietnam, its favourable geography led to the rise of the Cham Port of Thị Nại. The city-state of Vijaya was located around this port and the main city, further inland, its centre was in the southern lowland of Bình Định. However, its architecture implies that it did not become important until the eleventh or twelfth century. Vijaya's architecture distinguishes it from other Champa centers, since it used a combination of stone and brick elements, while most other Cham structures only used bricks; this suggests some influence from Cambodian Angkor. It points to the relative abundance of labour in Vijaya compared to other Champa centers of powers, because processing stones for construction was more labour-intensive than the production of bricks. Vijaya was involved in various wars with neighbouring countries. Major wars were fought with Angkor in the 13th centuries.
Around this time Vijaya seems to have been associated with and at times dominated by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Major wars with Vietnam were fought in 1069 and again in the 15th century, which led to the defeat of Vijaya and the demise of Champa in 1471; the majority of Bình Định Province is covered by hills. Elevations range from 0 at the coast to around 1200 meters above sea level in An Lão District in the north-west of the province. While most of the mountains as well as the highest peaks are in the west, there are mountains throughout the province near the coast. Most districts of Bình Định have a topography, a mix of mountains or hills and lowlands; the districts of An Lão in the north-west, Vĩnh Thạnh in the west, Vân Canh in the south-west are mountainous. All other districts have some lowlands; the largest lowland area is located in the south of the province along the lower Côn River. It encompasses much of Quy Nhơn City, the districts of Tuy Phước, An Nhơn, the western part of Phù Cát, the eastern part of Tây Sơn.
Given its size, the access to a major port as well as Bình Định's major river, it has long been the place where most of Bình Định's people and economic activities concentrate. It was the site of one of the major city-states of Champa; the majority Bình Định's population lives in the districts around this plain. Other lowland areas are located in the coastal districts of Hoài Nhơn, Phù Mỹ, Phù Cát, as well as the inland district of Hoài Ân. There are some hills or mountains near the coast in all of the coastal provinces, with the highest peak in Phù Cát at 874m and in Phù Mỹ at 602m. Mountains form natural borders to the neighbouring provinces. Cu Mong pass. National Route 1A passes through this pass; the border to Gia Lai Province is the most mountainous, with the only road connection at An Khê pass between the towns of Phú Phong in Tây Sơn District and An Khê in Gia Lai. The border to Quảng Ngãi Province is very mountainous, with the major road and railway passing through Binh De Pass near Tam Quan.
Côn River is the largest and most important river in Bình Định. It forms a small delta north of Quy Nhơn. Most of it can be used as an inland waterway for transportation; this is one of the reason why a major centre of power of Champa emerged along this river. Other rivers are Lai Giang River at the centre of the lowland areas of Hoai Nhon and Hoai An in northern Bình Định, My Cat River in central Bình Định, Hà Thanh River along the valley in Van Canh District in southern Bình Định; the largest lake is Định Bình Lake, an artificial lake used for irrigation in the highlands of western Bình Định. In western Bình Định is Vinh Sơn Lake at Vinh Son Hydropower Station. Other major lakes include Hội Sơn Lake in the centre of the province. Ilmenite reserves in Phu Cat and graphite reserves in northern Bình Định are substantial and support significant local export industries. There is some gold in western Bình Định. Bình Định is subdivided into 11 district-level sub-divisions: 9 districts: 1 district-level town An Nhơn 1 provincial city: Quy Nhơn They are further subdivided into 12 commune-level towns, 126 communes, 21 wards.
With a gross domestic product per capita of 9.57 million đồngs in 2007 Bình Định is ranked fourth out of eight provinces and cities in the South Central Coast. While being behind the main success stories of the region, namely Da Nang and Khánh Hòa Province, it is more developed than most other provinces in the region, it has been benefiting from its strategic position as one of the main gateways to the Central Highlands and its port. It is the region's third largest industrial center and has strong agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors. In 2007 Bình Định exported goods worth 327.3 million US$, while importing goods worth 141.6 US$. Most of the province's exports are furniture. Bình Định has the most productive primary sector in the South Central Coast region because of its large output of rice and its strong livestock and fishing sectors, it contributes 23% of sector 1 GDP and rice output of the South Central Coast. The rice harvest is the largest of the South Central Coast region but accounts only for a modest 1.62% of the national output.
It has been fluctu
De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
The de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou is a Canadian-designed and produced specialized cargo aircraft with short takeoff and landing capability. The Caribou was first flown in 1958 and although retired from military operations, is still in use in small numbers as a rugged "bush" aircraft; the de Havilland Canada company's third STOL design was a big step up in size compared to its earlier DHC Beaver and DHC Otter, was the first DHC design powered by two engines. The Caribou, was similar in concept in that it was designed as a rugged STOL utility aircraft; the Caribou was a military tactical transport that in commercial service found itself a small niche in cargo hauling. The United States Army ordered 173 in 1959 and took delivery in 1961 under the designation AC-1, changed to CV-2 Caribou in 1962; the majority of Caribou production was destined for military operators, but the type's ruggedness and excellent STOL capabilities requiring runway lengths of only 1200 feet appealed to some commercial users.
U. S. certification was awarded on 23 December 1960. Ansett-MAL, which operated a single example in the New Guinea highlands, AMOCO Ecuador were early customers, as was Air America. Other civil Caribou aircraft entered commercial service after being retired from their military users. Today only a handful are in civil use. PEN Turbo Aviation of Cape May, NJ, has undertaken the re-engineering of the DHC-4A Caribou to a turbine powered variant, designated DHC-4A Turbo Caribou; the conversion utilizes the PT6A-67 engines and Harzell 5 Bladed HC-B5MA-3M Constant Speed/Reversing propellers. Overall performance has improved and "new" basic weight is reduced while maximum normal take-off weight remained at 28,500 lbs. Maximum payload is 10,000 lbs. Both Transport Canada and Federal Aviation Administration have issued Supplemental Type Certificates for the Turbo Caribou; as of Sept 17, 2014, only 3 air frames have gone through the conversion process. PEN Turbo has stockpiled dozens of air frames at their facility in NJ for possible future conversion..
PEN Turbo Aviation named their company after Perry E. Niforos, who died in the 1992 crash of an earlier turboprop Caribou converted by a different firm, NewCal Aviation. In response to a U. S. Army requirement for a tactical airlifter to supply the battlefront with troops and supplies and evacuate casualties on the return journey, de Havilland Canada designed the DHC-4. With assistance from Canada's Department of Defence Production, DHC built a prototype demonstrator that flew for the first time on 30 July 1958. Impressed with the DHC4's STOL capabilities and potential, the U. S. Army went on to become the largest Caribou operator; the AC-1 designation was changed in 1962 to CV-2, C-7 when the U. S. Army's CV-2s were transferred to the U. S. Air Force in 1967. U. S. and Australian Caribou saw extensive service during the Vietnam War. The U. S. Army purchased 159 of the aircraft and they served their purpose well as a tactical transport during the Vietnam War, where larger cargo aircraft such as the Fairchild C-123 Provider and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules could not land on the shorter landing strips.
The aircraft could carry two Jeeps or similar light vehicles. The rear loading ramp could be used for parachute dropping. Under the Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966, the Army relinquished the fixed wing Caribou to the United States Air Force in exchange for an end to restrictions on Army rotary wing operations. On 1 January 1967, the 17th, 57th, 61st, 92nd, 134th, 135th Aviation Companies of the U. S. Army were inactivated and their aircraft transferred to the newly activated 537th, 535th, 536th, 459th, 457th, 458th Troop Carrier Squadrons of the USAF. On 1 August 1967 the "troop carrier" designations were changed to "tactical airlift"; some U. S. Caribou were captured by North Vietnamese forces and remained in service with that country through to the late 1970s. Following the war in Vietnam, all USAF Caribou were transferred to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard airlift units pending their replacement by the C-130 Hercules in the 1980s. All C-7s have now been phased out of U. S. military service, with the last example serving again under U.
S. Army control through 1985 in support of the U. S. Army's Golden Knights parachute demonstration team. Other notable military operators included Australia, India and Spain; the Royal Australian Air Force retired its last Caribou, A4-140, on 27 November 2009. The aircraft, manufactured in 1964, was donated to the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. After retirement from military use, several examples of the Caribou have been purchased by civilian operators for deployment in areas with small airfields located in rugged country with few or poor surface transport links. DHC-4 Caribou STOL tactical utility transport aircraft. CC-108 Royal Canadian Air Force designation for the DHC-4 Caribou. YAC-1 This designation was given to five DHC-4 Caribou, sold to the United States Army for evaluation. AC-1 United States Army designation for the first production run of 56 DHC-4 Caribou. Redesignated CV-2A in 1962. CV-2A United States Army AC-1 redesignated in 1962. CV-2B This designation was given to a second production run of 103 DHC-4 Caribou, which were sold to the U.
S. Army, with reinforced internal ribbing. C-7A/B These designations were applied to all 144 Caribou transferred to the U. S. Air Force by the U. S. Army. DHC-4A Caribou Similar to the DHC-4, but this version had an increased takeoff wei
Douglas AC-47 Spooky
The Douglas AC-47 Spooky was the first in a series of gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. It was designed to provide more firepower than light and medium ground-attack aircraft in certain situations when ground forces called for close air support; the AC-47 was a United States Air Force C-47, modified by mounting three 7.62 mm General Electric miniguns to fire through two rear window openings and the side cargo door, all on the left side of the aircraft, to provide close air support for ground troops. Other armament configurations could be found on similar C-47-based aircraft around the world; the guns were actuated by a control on the pilot's yoke whereby he could control the guns either individually or together, although gunners were among the crew to assist with gun failures and similar issues. It could orbit the target for hours, providing suppressing fire over an elliptical area 52 yd in diameter, placing a round every 2.4 yd during a three-second burst.
The aircraft carried flares it could drop to illuminate the battleground. The AC-47 had no previous design to gauge how successful it would be, because it was the first of its kind; the USAF found itself in a precarious situation when requests for additional gunships began to come in because it lacked miniguns to fit additional aircraft after the first two conversions. The next four aircraft were equipped with ten.30 caliber AN/M2 machine guns. These weapons, using World War II and Korean War ammunition stocks, were discovered to jam produce large amounts of gases from firing, in ten-gun groups, only provide the density of fire of a single minigun. All four of these aircraft were retrofitted to the standard armament configuration when additional miniguns arrived; the AC-47 used SUU-11/A gun pods that were installed on locally fabricated mounts for the gunship application. Emerson Electric developed the MXU-470/A to replace the gun pods, which were used on gunships. In August 1964, years of fixed-wing gunship experimentation reached a new peak with Project Tailchaser under the direction of Capt.
John C. Simons; this test involved the conversion of a single Convair C-131B to be capable of firing a single GAU-2/A Minigun at a downward angle out of the left side of the aircraft. Crude grease pencil crosshairs were discovered to enable a pilot flying in a pylon turn to hit a stationary area target with relative accuracy and ease; the Armament Development and Test Center tested the craft at Eglin Air Force Base, but lack of funding soon suspended the tests. In 1964, Capt. Ron W. Terry returned from temporary duty in Vietnam as part of an Air Force Systems Command team reviewing all aspects of air operations in counter-insurgency warfare, where he had noted the usefulness of C-47s and C-123s orbiting as flare ships during night attacks on fortified hamlets, he received permission to conduct a live-fire test using the C-131 and revived the side-firing gunship program. By October, Capt. Terry's team under Project Gunship provided a C-47D, converted to a similar standard as the Project Tailchaser aircraft and armed with three miniguns, which were mounted on locally fabricated mounts—essentially strapped gun pods intended for fixed-wing aircraft onto a mount allowing them to be fired remotely out the port side.
Captain Terry and a testing team arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, on 2 December 1964, with equipment needed to modify two C-47s. The first test aircraft was ready by 11 December, the second by 15 December, both were allocated to the 1st Air Commando Squadron for combat testing; the newly dubbed "FC-47" operated under the radio call sign "Puff". Its primary mission involved protecting villages and personnel from mass attacks by VC guerrilla units. Puff's first significant success occurred on the night of 23–24 December 1964. An FC-47 arrived over the Special Forces outpost at Tranh Yend in the Mekong Delta just 37 minutes after an air support request, fired 4,500 rounds of ammunition, broke the Viet Cong attack; the FC-47 was called to support a second outpost at Trung Hung, about 20 miles away. The aircraft again forced a retreat. Between 15 and 26 December, all the FC-47's 16 combat sorties. On 8 February 1965, an FC-47 flying over the Bong Son area of Vietnam’s Central Highlands demonstrated its capabilities in the process of blunting a Viet Cong offensive.
For over four hours, it fired 20,500 rounds into a Viet Cong hilltop position, killing an estimated 300 Viet Cong troops. The early gunship trials were so successful, the second aircraft was returned to the United States early in 1965 to provide crew training. In July 1965, Headquarters USAF ordered TAC to establish an AC-47 squadron. By November 1965, a total of five aircraft were operating with the 4th Air Commando Squadron, activated in August as the first operational unit, by the end of 1965, a total of 26 had been converted. Training Detachment 8, 1st Air Commando Wing, was subsequently established at Forbes AFB, Kansas. In Operation Big Shoot, the 4th ACS in Vietnam grew to 20 AC-47s; the 4th ACS deployed to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, on 14 November 1965. Now using the call sign "Spooky", each of its three 7.62 mm miniguns could selectively fire either 50 or 100 rounds per second. Cruising in an overhead left-hand orbit at 120 knots air speed at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the gunship could put a bullet or glowing red tracer (