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Iconic Aircraft from the Vietnam War (Part 2)

We told you guys that we would be back the 2nd time and here we are.  This time we present another list of the iconic aircraft from the Vietnam War (part 2). We are going to let our readers be known to the remaining iconic aircraft that were used by both warring sides during the Vietnam War.

Cessna A-37 Dragonfly

The name Cessna is not something that can be associated with military aircraft. However, their A-37 Dragonfly fulfilled this duty perfectly during the critical times of the Vietnam War. Vietnam was riddled with jungles and hills that required USAF to have close air support. In order to counter this major problem, the end product was the A-37 Dragonfly; a light ground attack aircraft.




The aircraft was powered by 2 General Electric J85 engines that allowed the Dragonfly to have a combat radius of 460 miles. The aircraft provided great close air support thanks to its speed and armor capabilities. While being armed with a .308 caliber GAU-2B/A minigun which was mounted over the nose, it dealt hellfire over the enemies with other variety of rockets, missiles, and bombing pods.

Shenyang J-6

Although the involvement of China in the Vietnam War was induced due to politics and culture, they still provided a lot of help to the North Vietnamese faction of the war. Their major help was in the form of Shenyang J-6 whose NATO reporting name was Farmer.

The design of the Shenyang J-6 was based on MiG-19 which the Chinese admired greatly.

The aircraft had a maximum speed limit of 960 mph with a service ceiling a little less than 60000 feet. Powered by Liming Wopen 6A turbojet engines, Shenyang J-6 was able to keep up with many fighter jets of its era. The aircraft even after the Vietnam War could keep up in out-maneuvering the MiG-21 during dogfights.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17

Although the North Vietnam had started the war, they were lacking in many functions of war which included the lack of power in aerial combat. In order to account for that problem, they turned to help at the communist nations, mainly the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union gave the aid in form of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 which allowed North Vietnam to hold on to the war.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 was the improvement of the design of the previous MiG-15 that allowed it to have more speed and better maneuverability than its predecessor. The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 was powered by a single Klimov VK-1F afterburning turbojet engine that allowed the aircraft to have a top speed of 711 mph for a range of 1200 miles. The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 was armed with three of the following caliber cannons along with the 1100 lbs of bombing payload.

  • One 37 mm cannon
  • 2 of the 32 mm cannons

Antonov An-2

The Antonov An-2 whose NATO reporting name was Colt cannot be considered the fastest or the most armed aircraft of the Vietnam War era. However, the Antonov An-2 still is amongst the very few biplanes that were widely used in the Vietnam War. The use of such a plane might sound even crazy in a war that had fighter jets bit the Antonov An-2 still had some advantages in the war. It served its role as a utility aircraft.

The Antonov An-2 which was powered by a single Shvetsov Ash-62IR 9-cylinder supercharged radial engine could easily carry 12 passengers along with 2 of its crew. The aircraft had a top speed of 160 miles with a range no longer than 525 miles. The main advantage of using this aircraft was that it could easily operate on the rough terrains. It was able to make use of the short and rough runways in order to take off or land.

De Havilland Canada Beaver

Communist forces were not the only one who made use of propeller drive planes during the Vietnam War. They were also used by the US military as well for many missions in the inhospitable terrains of Southeast Asia.  The aircraft which was used of this purpose was the ‘de Havilland Canada Beaver”.

The aircraft that was introduced in service back in 1948 was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr. radial engine. This allowed the aircraft to have a top speed of 158 mph along with a range of little over 450 miles.

The de Havilland Canada Beaver was majorly sued by CIA under the “Air America” program for the transportation of the following in the country.

  • Assets
  • Personnel
  • Reconnaissance missions
  • Espionage missions

Sikorsky S-61R

Sikorsky S-61R; a twin-engine and single rotor military helicopter is used widely for transportation and search & rescue operations. While these are the roles this helicopter serves today, in past it saw extensive combat period. The Sikorsky S-61R has also the record of making nonstop transport flights over Atlantic. With this feat, the Sikorsky S-61R depicts its impressive range. The helicopter has a maximum range of 779 miles without refueling which is combined with its top speed of 165 mph and a ceiling service height of 20000 feet.

The Sikorsky S-61R was used primarily for the transportation of troops and supplies in Vietnam.

Bell AH-1 Cobra

The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a single engine and a two blade attack helicopter that allowed the world to usher in the world of helicopter gunships.

The helicopter was able to present close air support for obliterating the enemy’s positions and vehicles. The Bell AH-1 Helicopter proved to be so powerful in the attack role that it is still in service of US military.

The helicopter was manufactured around a Lycoming T53-L-13 turboshaft engine that allowed it to have a top speed of 350 mph. the helicopter could either have 2 7.62 mm Miniguns or 2 of the M129 40mm grenade launchers.

In addition to this, the helicopter was also provided with missile and rockets pods that could be mounted on either side of the helicopter under hardpoints.

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

The CH-47 Chinook is an aircraft that needs no familiarity with aircraft to be recognized.

The aircraft with its unique design has the ability to carry out the following roles.

  • Movement of troops
  • Transportation of artillery and equipment
  • Resupply

The aircraft in a single flight is able to carry nearly 50 passengers or can at one time carry a payload of 50000 pounds. The aircraft has 2 Lycoming T55-GA0714A turboshaft engines that allow it to have a powered of 5000 HP each and a top speed of 196 mph and a range of 230 miles.

Related Content

Most Important Aircraft of All Time (Part 2)

Iconic Aircraft From the Vietnam War (Part 1)

Most Important Aircraft of All Time (Part 1)

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Most Important Aircraft of All Time (Part 2)

Most Important Aircraft of All Time (Part 3)