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A-37 Dragonfly VNAF in VietNam war 1/72

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HISTORY OF THIS AIRCRAFT

The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly, or Super Tweet, is a United States light attack aircraft developed from the T-37 Tweet basic trainer in the 1960s and 1970s. The A-37 was introduced during the Vietnam War and remained in peacetime service afterwards.


The growing American military involvement in Vietnam in the early 1960s led to strong interest in counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft. In late 1962, the U.S. Air Force's Special Air Warfare Center at Eglin Air Force Base's Hurlburt Field in Florida evaluated two T-37Cs for the role.

The Air Force found the T-37 promising, but wanted an improved version of the aircraft that could carry a much larger payload, and had much greater endurance and better short-field performance. This meant a heavier aircraft with more powerful engines. In 1963, the Air Force awarded a contract to Cessna for two prototype YAT-37D aircraft: T-37s with modifications that included:

    Stronger wings.
    Three stores pylons on each wing.
    Larger wingtip fuel tanks of 360 litre (95 US gallons) capacity.
    A General Electric GAU-2B/A 7.62 mm "Minigun" Gatling-style machine gun, with a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds/minute and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. The weapon was fitted in the right side of the aircraft's nose behind a large, convenient access panel. A gunsight and gun camera were also fitted.
    Better avionics for battlefield communications, navigation, and targeting.
    Tougher landing gear for rough-field operation.

These changes meant a drastic increase in aircraft weight and the aircraft now had to carry a significant payload as well. Cessna, therefore, doubled the engine power by replacing the two Continental J-69 engines with General Electric J85-J2/5 turbojet engines with 10.7 kN (2,400 lbf) thrust each.

The first YAT-37D flew in October 1964, followed a year later by the second prototype. The second prototype had four stores pylons under each wing, rather than three, and the first prototype was upgraded to this configuration as well.

Test results were good, but USAF interest in counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft had faded for the moment. The program went into limbo for a time, with the second prototype "put out to pasture" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

The war in Southeast Asia, however, continued to escalate. Losses of Douglas A-1 Skyraider close-support aircraft in US and South Vietnamese service proved greater than anticipated and USAF interest in COIN aircraft was revived. The YAT-37D seemed like a promising candidate for the job, but the Air Force felt that the only way to be sure was to evaluate the aircraft in combat.

As a result, the USAF issued a contract to Cessna for a pre-production batch of 39 YAT-37Ds, with a few minor changes relative to the prototypes, to be rebuilt from existing T-37Bs. These aircraft were initially designated AT-37D, but the designation was quickly changed to A-37A. The second prototype YAT-37D was pulled out of the Air Force Museum and upgraded to A-37A standards as part of the test program.

The A-37A had a gross takeoff weight of 5,440 kg (12,000 lb), of which 1230 kg (2,700 lb) was ordnance. The A-37A retained the dual controls of its T-37B ancestor, allowing it to be used as an operational trainer.

In combat "forward air control (FAC)" operations, the second seat was occupied by an observer. Only one crewman normally flew in the aircraft for close support missions, permitting a slight increase in ordnance.

A-37 DRAGONFLY IN VNAF - VIETNAM WAR

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.


 

 ABOUT THIS MODEL

This is very beautiful 1/72 scale model of famous A-37 Dragonfly aircraft of South VietNamese Airforce (VNAF) in VietNam war. It was painted as true detail. I will pack it as carefully as possible for shipping, but a small part may be still broken in shipping due to the fragile nature of the item. If you have a problem with possibly gluing a part back on then please do not bid. Returns are not accepted so please look carefully before bidding.



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