A7 Corsair II and Patrol Boat
05/11/2008 - 20:00pm

In 1962, the United States Navy began preliminary work on VAX (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Experimental), a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk with greater range and payload. A particular emphasis was placed on accurate delivery of weapons to reduce the cost per target. The requirements were finalized in 1963 and in 1964, the Navy announced the VAL (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Light) competition. Contrary to USAF philosophy, which was to employ only supersonic fighter bombers such as the F-105 Thunderchief and F-100 Super Sabre, the Navy felt that a subsonic design could carry the most payload the farthest distance.

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Patrol Boat, River (sometimes Riverine and Pibber), or PBR, is the US Navy designation for a type of rigid-hulled patrol boat used in the Vietnam War from March 1966 until the end of 1971. They were deployed in a force that grew to 250, the most common craft in the River Patrol Force, Task Force 116, and were used to stop and search traffic in areas such as the Mekong Delta, the Rung Sat Special Zone, the Saigon River and in I Corps, in the area assigned to Task Force Clearwater, in an attempt to disrupt weapons shipments. In this role they frequently became involved in firefights with enemy soldiers on boats and on the shore.

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