W.T. LARKINS COLLECTION
No. 7718. Northrop RF-61C Reporter (N9768Z c/n 3201) Aero Enterprises "Pregnant Widow"
Photographed at Fresno, California, USA, November 9, 1965, by W.T. Larkins

Ling-Temco-Vought A-7A Corsair II

04/30/2008. Derived from the P-61C Black Widow, the photo-reconnaissance version, capable of carrying up to 6 aerial cameras, was designated F-15, and the USAAF ordered 175 examples. As it transpired, only 36 F-15A’s were constructed from partially completed P-61C airframes, before the contract was unexpectedly terminated in 1947.

In 1948, when the USAAF became the USAF, the "F" for Photographic and the "P" for Pursuit were dropped, the latter was replaced by "F" for fighter, while the former became the pre-fix "R" for Reconnaissance. The P-61C became the F-61C, hence the F-15A became the RF-61C.

The pictured aircraft was the first production aircraft, an F-15A-1-NO, s/n
45-59300, that was accepted by the USAAF in September 1946. On February 6, 1948, the aircraft was loaned to the NACA Ames Lab, Moffett Field, Sunnyvale, California, and coded NACA 111, it was used to release recoverable aerodynamic test bodies from high altitude over Edwards AFB. It was returned to the USAF in October 1954 and in 1955 declared surplus, however, W.T. Larkins states:


Created April 30, 2008