U.S. aircraft and their crews, flying under tensions and hazards of combat, are performing a?
U.S. aircraft and their crews, flying under tensions and hazards of combat, are performing a wide variety of missions in support of U.S. and allied fighting forces in Vietnam.
Some shuttle troops and cargo from one small air field to another, while others reach deep into enemy territory to rescue downed pilots. For still others 18 hours of airborne radar surveillance is just a daily routine.
This odd-looking aircraft, with its hump back and pot belly, is the U.S. Air Force EC-121 "Big Eye" that flies over the rice paddles of Vietnam and across the waters of the Tonkin Gulf on a multi-purpose mission.
The modified Lockheed-built Super Constellation "Warning Star" and its crew maintain radar control of all strike aircraft, assist in air-to-air refuelling operations, and control the fighter escord for unarmed support aircraft during strikes into North Vietnam.
"Big Eye" also tracks and pinpoints enemy aircraft and relays this information to U.S. strike aircraft. If a strike aircraft is disabled. "Big Eye" guides the damaged plane to rescue ships or to areas where air-sea rescue can be accomplished. It also guides rescue forces to pickup points.
"Big Eye" flies at a low altitude to avoid deflection by enemy radar. Maneuvering this 132,000-pound aircraft at low altitudes over changing terrain demands of special kind of piloting, with little margin for error.