With specially commissioned artworks and dynamic combat ribbon diagrams, this volume reveals how the 'last of the gunfighters', as the F-8 was dubbed by its pilots, prevailed against the growing MiG threat of the Vietnamese People's Air Force.
When the Vietnam War began, the F-8 was already firmly established as a fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. It entered combat as an escort for Alpha strike packages, braving the anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles alongside the A-4 Skyhawk bombers and meeting MiGs for the first time on 3 April 1965. Although the Crusader was nicknamed 'last of the gunfighters', its pilots employed 'secondary' AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles in all but one of their MiG kills, with guns also used as back-up in three. Its 20 mm guns were unreliable as they often jammed during strenuous manoeuvres, although they were responsible for damaging a number of MiGs. However, in combat the F-8 had the highest 'exchange ratio' (kills divided by losses) at six-to-one of any US combat aircraft involved in the Vietnam War.
Through the copious use of first-hand accounts, highly detailed battlescene artwork, combat ribbon diagrams and armament views, Osprey's Vietnam air war specialist Peter E. Davies charts the successful career of the F-8 Crusader over Vietnam.