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US Aircraft Lost In Vietnam  
User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 867 posts, RR: 2
Posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 27088 times:

I was watching an episode of Tour of Duty the other day and at the start there was the stat that the US Air Force lost aprox 1629 aircraft during the Vietnam war. Is this true?

I am staggered if it is as I did not realize so many aircraft were lost, I was not around when the war was going on. I can't remember the amount of aircrew that were lost as well but it was an equally high stat.

Does anyone have any info on what aircraft types were lost and how many and to what causes?

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7414 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 27083 times:
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F4's B52's, F106's, A4's, F111's, A6's, A5's, A3's, S2's C130's


Made from jets!
User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 27030 times:

I remember reading somewhere that 15 B-52s were lost in the whole war.
Don't forget that the F-105 Thuds were lost in great numbers too. Not to mention all those Huey choppers. There has to be a wedsite devoted to stuff like this. Regards.



"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 26964 times:

Quoting Ozair (Thread starter):
I am staggered if it is as I did not realize so many aircraft were lost, I was not around when the war was going on. I can't remember the amount of aircrew that were lost as well but it was an equally high stat.
Does anyone have any info on what aircraft types were lost and how many and to what causes?

An excellent book to get on this subject is:
Vietnam Air Losses by Chris Hobson
http://www.themilitarybookreview.com/html/Vietnamairlosses.shtml
(this book covers fixed wing losses only)

The reasons behind the high number of losses is why I am on the soapbox about survivability in military aircraft. I was up close and personal to the tragedies caused by a lack of survivability considerations in combat aircraft design during the Vietnam days. It's a lesson that unfortunately is destined to be relearned again-especially by those who consider themselves spectators to the fight in the tanker and ISR world.

In the '50s survivability as a design consideration fell by the wayside. Since the world would be nuked in short order, who cared?

Well, along comes Vietnam, and plenty of conventional AAA and also SAMs in the mix, and losses racked up in a big way. The fundamental reason for this is that the internal systems-in particualr fuel and hydraulic systems-were damage intolerant(much like current airliner internal systems today).

Alarmed by the losses, the Air Force conducted a study in 1966 and found that the assumption of airframe failure from hits was erroneous. What the investigating team found was the majority (40%) of fixed wing aircraft losses were caused by cascading failure from fuel system damage. Next was cascading failure from hydraulic system damage which, in most designs, meant a loss of aircraft control along with fire.

The investigators found that reducing the Suceptability(SR) of combat aircraft with changes in tactics, better countermeasures, and threat suppression, was of vital importance in reducing losses, but this would be sucessful only up to a point. Aircraft would still take hits regardless. What was also required was redesigning critical systems to better withstand damage(with armor for instance), and if unable to achieve that, better tolerate any damage(by separating critical components for instance). In the engineering discipline of Aircraft Survivability this is called Vulnerability Reduction (VR) .

VR efforts on the F-4 not only saved lives, but a bunch of money as well. A redesign of the aileron hydraulic subsystem. When applied to in theater aircraft, this design change cost $9M in 1967 dollars. howeverit saved tehe potential loss of 24 aircrews(or 48 pilots)and saved $51M in aircraft not lost to this particular "kill mode". That equates to $291M in 2005 bucks.
(source The Fundamentals of Aircraft Survivability Analysis and Design 2nd Ed. p99)

So the moral to this story is that vulnerability reduction is just as important to the survivability of a military aircraft-and in this day of MANPAD threatened airliners a civil transport as well-as the higher profile susceptability reduction items such as expensive EW and IR countermeasures suites. It also saves a ton of money-an important consideration that most people miss. The problem is VR is an inherently invisible improvment that most people erroneously believe is a standard part of every military-and civil-design. Not so; a careful balance of SR and VR must be established at the beginning of the design process. To backfit VR in an existing design proved problematic and expensive in Vietnam, sometimes yielding less than optimum results. The same will be true of militarized airliners today. Also VR is not as "sexy"...and also doesn't smell like "pork" to entreprenurial politicians and equipment makers.







[Edited 2005-04-16 08:43:14]


the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 26931 times:

VR efforts on the F-4 not only saved lives, but a bunch of money as well. A redesign of the aileron hydraulic subsystem was undertaken that included steel actuators in place of aluminum and hydraulic lines that were rerouted. When applied to in theater aircraft, this design change cost $9M in 1967 dollars, however it saved the potential loss of 24 aircrews(or 48 pilots)and saved $51M in aircraft not lost to this particular "kill mode". That equates to $291M in 2005 bucks.
(source The Fundamentals of Aircraft Survivability Analysis and Design 2nd Ed. p99)

work got in the way of my weak grammar and poor tying skills... sorry



[Edited 2005-04-16 09:15:45]


the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineGhostbase From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 354 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 26905 times:

Quoting Jetjack74 (Reply 1):
F4's B52's, F106's, A4's, F111's, A6's, A5's, A3's, S2's C130's

Was not aware that the F-106 Delta Dart was involved in the S.E. Asia conflict, they were purely CONUS defence types I think.

The F-102 Delta Dagger did fly over Vietnam for a while providing fighter cover however they were not a great success and I believe that at least one was shot down by a North Vietnamese MiG before the type was withdrawn from the conflict. Fifteen Delta Daggers were lost in the conflict; one to a MiG-21, three to AAA fire, and twelve to 'operational' reasons including three during a mortar attack on Da Nang airfield.

The F-104C Starfighter had a similar experience with one lost to a Chinese MiG-19, two to SAMs, six to AAA and six to non-combat causes.

The RF-101C recon version of the Voodoo also took a pasting with something like forty aircraft lost between 1965 and 1967, no idea how many went down in combat missions.

Sidishus's very interesting comments remind me of the adverts that were found in the aviation press in the late 60's for the Hughes 500 (or LOH-6) Cayuse which heavily extolled the new helo's ability to take punishment in the form of ground fire and enhanced crash survivability for the crew, the message did get through to the aircraft manufacturers but it was too late for most aircrew involved in the war as the new aircraft types designed as a result of the learning from the conflict did not arrive until the early 70's. These would include types such as the A-7, the OV-10 and the OH-6 for example.

 ghost 



"I chase my dreams but I never seem to arrive"
User currently offlineJasperEMA From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 50 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 26876 times:

The RF8 the RF101 took a pasting as they did post strike recce and had to fly straight and level at a constant altitude over men with lots of guns who had just been bombed(then theRF8 had to land on a small deck on the sea)

User currently offlineFredplt From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 26849 times:

Don't forget about all the FAC planes out there flying low and slow, and I believe that helos are part of this overall number. Hell, even a C5 was lost during Vietnam!

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12158 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 26740 times:

Quoting Fredplt (Reply 7):
Hell, even a C5 was lost during Vietnam!

No, it was not lost during the war, but in the evacuation in 1975. It was an accident as the aft cargo doors opened inflight and caused a rapid decompression. They were airlifting children.

Quoting Jetjack74 (Reply 1):
F4's B52's, F106's, A4's, F111's, A6's, A5's, A3's, S2's C130's



Quoting Ghostbase (Reply 5):
Was not aware that the F-106 Delta Dart was involved in the S.E. Asia conflict, they were purely CONUS defence types I think.

The F-106 did not fly in Vietnam. The F-105 did, and large numbers of them were lost.

It seems the C-123 and C-7 are missing from the lists, as well as the AC-47, AC-119, and AC-130. All of these airplanes had combat losses.

There were over 5,000 UH-1 Hueys shot down. The FAC guys in L-19s, O-2s, and OV-10s took alot of shots too, as well as the A-7s and A-1Es and HH-3s and HH-53s.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 26735 times:

There were over 5,000 UH-1 Hueys shot down

 Wow!

Helicopters are vunerable to ground fire.


User currently offlineFredplt From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 26698 times:

Sorry
The C5 that was lost had NOTHING to do with a Rapid Decompression. I know one of the pilots, the aft doors blew off the back, break all four hydraulic lines and they had zero flight controls, it was the first fugoid attempt, just like the DC 10 had for United years later. It was determined that the aft ramp locks were faulty, though no other C5 in the 35+ thousand hours in the A models and 20+ thousand in the B models have ever had the same problem. For eye witnesses that survived the crash said there was an explosion, followed by the doors seperating (obviously causing a rapid D). I suppose you are right though, it wasn't a wartime causualty!


User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 26678 times:

Quoting Fredplt (Reply 10):
though no other C5 in the 35+ thousand hours in the A models and 20+ thousand in the B models have ever had the same problem.

Those hours seem kind of low. Are you talking individual airframe hours or total fleet hours?


User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 26662 times:

From Hobson's Vietnam Air Losses
Again, these are fixed wing only losses...And many of these losses-for the USAF and USMC especially-occurred on the ground in South Vietnam.

Losses/Fatalities / POWs

USAF 1961-1963 2197 / 2449/341

USN 1964-1973 854/575/144

USMC 1964-1972 271/241/3

TOTAL 3322/3265/497

Other Stats...
F-4's took the biggest single total unit losses when combining the three services with a total of 758 aircraft(includes RF-4s).
More F-105s were lost over North Vietnam than any other single aircraft type with 274. Not surprising given its wide use up North. Same with the USN A-4s with a total of 177 lost over the North.



the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2952 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 26658 times:

You also missed the F-100, F-5, and A-37...

The F-102 actually was fairly sucessful in the ground attack role over the Ho Chi Min trail, using its belly pack of 24 2.75" rockets. There are also stories of it using Falcon AAMs against hot truck engines.

Edit: forgot about the A-26, and remanufactured P-51s (cavaliers).

[Edited 2005-04-17 06:03:31]


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 26650 times:

But did we lose a YO-3A?


Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineFredplt From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 26624 times:

SATL
I was talking individual airframe hours, not fleet hours. Just seems kinda fishy to me that the doors somehow just fell off, there are a lot of locks back there, and there is a lot of redundancy. I am sure you know, you've seen it too!


User currently offlineDuce50boom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 26622 times:

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 11):
Quoting Fredplt (Reply 10):
though no other C5 in the 35+ thousand hours in the A models and 20+ thousand in the B models have ever had the same problem.

Those hours seem kind of low. Are you talking individual airframe hours or total fleet hours?

SATL,

I thought they were total fleet hours myself. Now that Fredplt has told us they're individual airframe hours I'm convinced the AF includes time spent on jacks as flight hours too.  Smile


User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 26615 times:

Quoting JasperEMA (Reply 6):
The RF8 the RF101 took a pasting as they did post strike recce and had to fly straight and level at a constant altitude over men with lots of guns who had just been bombed(then theRF8 had to land on a small deck on the sea)

The difference in the relative fortunes of the RF-8 and the RA-5 showcase my point about Vulnerability Reduction (and the point about relative simplicity from a previous thread). The RF-8 had the virtue of more damage tolerant fuel and hydraulic systems than the RA-5. The Crusader's systems were rock simple compared to the space age Vigilante. Indeed the RA-5 was cutting edge state-of-the-art with the first ever operational autothrottle system and innovative full moving tail surfaces that became standard in later designs such as the F-14, F-15, and is still in evidence in the Su-33. Anyway, all that avant-garde flight control technology(along with first ever digital electronics and other ahead of its time systems) meant the Vigi had some serious vulnerability issues. In short, a glass jaw hydraulic system. Well, the attitude at the time was that the blazing speed of the aircraft (very significant Susceptibility Reduction Attribute) would solve the problem. Not so when the aircraft had to operate below FL100 blowing along at 700 KIAS or better, and the Vietnamese would throw up a wall of barrage fire. Some of the much shown footage you see of an aircraft flaming over Hanoi and the subsequent wreckage being pulled from a lake is one such case of a Vigi being a victim of a lack of Vulnerability Reduction in design as much as a credit to the NVN AAA.
It took next to nothing to disable the hydraulics on the Vigi and the majority of the 26 lost were because of loss of hydraulics, subsequent fire and or loss of flight control; the F-8 could take the same hits and still be controllable and not burning..
What this led to was that the Vigi took the highest loss rate per sorties in the USN inventory and at one point was banned by a Task Group Commander from flying up North (lots of politics in this decision though). What wasn't politics was that nearly 10 percent of the total USN POW population was comprised of Vigi pilots.
http://winjack3.com/images/a-5/ra-5-11.jpg

[Edited 2005-04-17 11:54:00]


the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineFredplt From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 26569 times:

Those total flight hours may be kinda high, I will check the totals for you guys and get back to you, my point was that I highly doubt the doors jst "flew off". Something had to have caused them to seperate from the aircraft!

User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 26559 times:

Quoting Fredplt (Reply 18):
Those total flight hours may be kinda high, I will check the totals for you guys and get back to you, my point was that I highly doubt the doors jst "flew off". Something had to have caused them to seperate from the aircraft!

The informed 'speculation" I've heard over the years is that the VC did not want Vietnameses children in U.S. homes, so bombed the aircraft. It was an operation Baby Lift mission that crashed.

FWIW: I believe the requirement to "pin" the ramp door (and hence the aisle way requirement for C-5 baggage pallets) was a result of this accident. Makes the flight hours point mute if true.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 867 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 26528 times:

Thanks for your responses all, The numbers still amaze me,

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
There were over 5,000 UH-1 Hueys shot down

I doubt there is an air force in the world that could sustain those kind of losses in a conflict today.

What was the main cause, AAA, sams, air to air or just golden BBs?


User currently offlineFredplt From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 26515 times:

Still not sure, I think that the pins may had something to do with it, but that is the first thing that the loads do when the door is closed. I was told that the center door showed proof that there was an explosion of some type, but no one really knows, kinda a conspiracy threory now!

User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 26469 times:

Vietnam helo losses...

http://www.vhpa.org/heliloss.pdf

1 205 was destroyed (Air America)
270 AH-1G were destroyed
1 AH-1J was destroyed
1 BELL was destroyed
14 CH-21C were destroyed
2 CH-34 were destroyed
1 CH-37B was destroyed
1 CH-37C was destroyed
7 CH-3C were destroyed
7 CH-3E were destroyed
94 CH-46Awere destroyed
58 CH-46Dwere destroyed
83 CH-47Awere destroyed
20 CH-47B were destroyed
29 CH-47C were destroyed
12 CH-53Awere destroyed
2 CH-53C were destroyed
9 CH-53Dwere destroyed
9 CH-54Awere destroyed
2 H-37A were destroyed
21 HH-3E were destroyed
7 HH-43Bwere destroyed
6 HH-43F were destroyed
2 HH-53Bwere destroyed
7 HH-53Cwere destroyed
147 OH-13S were destroyed
93 OH-23Gwere destroyed
45 OH-58Awere destroyed
842 OH-6A were destroyed
3 SH-34G were destroyed
8 SH-3A were destroyed
3 SIOUX were destroyed
60 UH-1 were destroyed
1 UH-1A was destroyed
357 UH-1B were destroyed
365 UH-1C were destroyed
886 UH-1D were destroyed
90 UH-1E were destroyed
18 UH-1F were destroyed
1313 UH-1H were destroyed
1 UH-1N was destroyed
6 UH-2A were destroyed
6 UH-2B were destroyed
176 UH-34Dwere destroyed
Total helicopters destroyed in the Vietnam War was 5,086 out of 11,827



the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineGhostbase From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 354 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 26467 times:

Probably worth remembering that the US involvement in S.E. Asia was over a very long period of time; something like October 1961 when the 15th and 45th TRS flew the RF-101C as part of the 'Pipe Stem' operation, to April 1975 and operation 'Frequent Wind' which resulted in the sad loss of the C-5A 68-0218. It was also a very harsh operating environment and I would suspect that, like the figures I quoted above for the F-102 and the F-104, the number of losses to actual enemy action were a proportion that varied greatly by aircraft type.


Quoting Spacepope (Reply 13):
The F-102 actually was fairly sucessful in the ground attack role over the Ho Chi Min trail, using its belly pack of 24 2.75" rockets. There are also stories of it using Falcon AAMs against hot truck engines.

This was Project 'Stove Pipe' in late 1965 involving the 509th FIS based at Tan Son Nhut and apparently they did use AIM-4D Falcon missiles; the cost ratio for killing each truck must have been astronomical! According to the book I am looking at Convair did propose an F-102 'Fighter Bomber' conversion which would have added external pylons to the Deuce to carry bombs, rockets and the AGM-12 Bullpup. The USAF never took up the proposal.

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 12):
F-4's took the biggest single total unit losses when combining the three services with a total of 758 aircraft(includes RF-4s).

Must admit I always thought it was the F-105 that suffered the greatest losses, perhaps that was relative to the number of aircraft built. The F-4 was actively involved in the conflict from the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 to August 1973 when operations in Cambodia ceased.

 ghost 



"I chase my dreams but I never seem to arrive"
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 24, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 26423 times:

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 22):
1 BELL was destroyed

Sort of makes you wonder.

270 AH-1G were destroyed
1 AH-1J was destroyed
147 OH-13S were destroyed (and) 3 SIOUX were destroyed
45 OH-58A were destroyed
60 UH-1 were destroyed (and)
1 UH-1A was destroyed
357 UH-1B were destroyed
365 UH-1C were destroyed
886 UH-1D were destroyed
90 UH-1E were destroyed
18 UH-1F were destroyed
1313 UH-1H were destroyed
1 UH-1N was destroyed

On top of all those Bell products, one "Bell" was destroyed.
P-39?
P-63?
X-1?
X-2?


"Total helicopters destroyed in the Vietnam War was 5,086 out of 11,827"
The numbers have to be off slightly. The one "Bell" has to have been an unspecified one off the list. Also "60 UH-1" destroyed, well there was no such thing as a UH-1. They all had a model, so sixty more destroyed have to be found on the list of specific models. Obviously some duplication there.

BTW, I remember reading that Lady Bird Johnson was a huge stockholder in Textron, which owned Bell Helicopter. Business was good!



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
25 SATL382G : yeah, probably some database errors and misidentifications. Still a lot better than 5,000 UH-1s (of whatever variant) alone..
26 SlamClick : Similar problem with the POW/MIA numbers. Two quick examples: A guy told me once that he was in a formation of Hueys at about 3000' or so and looked
27 Post contains images SATL382G : There's gotta be a diffference between "missing in action" and "missing in ACTION BABY!" if you know what I mean...
28 Post contains links Sidishus : There is another table in the link that doesn't paste well here, that Gary Roush said would differ slightly from the one I pasted in which he describ
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