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This was on the NMNA Facebook page today. I've never seen pics of one painted like this:
An RA-3B Skywarrior of Heavy Photographic Squadron (VAP) (VAP) 61 pictured on the ground in Agana, Guam, on October 9, 1969, forty-three years ago today. Standing in front of the aircraft are Photographer's Mate First Class R. Laurie, Lieutenant (junior grade) D. Schwikert and Lieutenant Commander Charles D. Litford. Arrayed in front of them are the array of cameras that the aircraft could carry on missions over Vietnam.
We stole the eagle from the Air Force, the anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army.
On the seventh day while God rested, we overran his perimeter, stole the globe, and we've been running the whole show ever since.
The RA-3 is a lot different animal than a standard A-3.
For starters, almost everything from the radome to the back end of where the bomb bay would normally end is different. The entry hatch is located farther forward, the bomb bay is gone and replaced by a much shorter one for photo flash cartridges. The area between the entry hatch and the photo flash bays is full of camera ports and the big canoes on each side with the sliding camera doors is very noticeable, then there is a different canopy and while you cannot see much inside, the cockpit is quite different as well.
Somebody did a replacement insert a long time ago, but it really did not address all of the changes very well and did nothing for the canopy. While it is not my scale, if Trumpeter does an RA-3B I will have a hard time resisting.
I have never seen the CE one. I was talking about the one done in England, perhaps Paragon. I had one at one time but chose to do all the modifications myself when I did my RA-3B. There are some good schemes for the RA-3Bs, including the VAP-61 bird that prompted this conversation. There were at least two Whales that carried this scheme, Bu No.144831 that did not have the fairing on top of the vertical tail and Bu. NO. 144840 that did and also had the vertical tail leading edge painted Black. There was also at least one all gloss Black Whale in VAP-61.
Looking at the photo, the CE parts are not much real help. The photo looks like all the different sets together. Very little would have been applicable to the RA-3B. The only things in the image that would help are the antenna on the top of the vertical fin (on some RAs) and the two canoes on the lower corners of the mid fuselage. Everything else is for EAs and EKAs. The whole middle fuselage and the bottom of the radome are much different. Here is a partial list RA-3B changes right off the top of my head;
*Camera view finder windows under the nose.
*Entry hatch moved forward to just behind the nose wheel well. The hatch is different.
*Seven flat camera windows and one oblique camera window on the underside.
*The canoes on the underside corners have sliding doors that cover the camera windows.
*The spoiler for the old bomb bay is gone.
*The bomb bay is gone.
*There are two smaller "photo flash" bays in the two front corners of the old bomb bay location.
*There is a round window in the fuselage side where the camera compartment is below and aft of the cockpit.
*Pilots station stays the same, the rest of the cockpit changes.
*Canopy is different.
This is just a starting list, and the TA-3s are another whole subject. Ginter's books are a great source of all the various Whales.
Westinghouse Radar division at BWI Airport in Baltimore, MD
October 9 2012, 10:36 PM
Has an or had a flight worthy Skywarrior in the late 80's when I used to work as a refueler for Henson Aviation. They used it to test the F-16 Radars. The A3 had an F-16 nose grafted on to it! I actually got to get a look inside and sit in the cockpit once after refueling it!
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