January 1968 found the VPAF in one of its characteristic growth/renewal stages.
35) The VPAF had scaled back its flight activity for a couple months, preferring to not engage USAF assets because targets in North Vietnam were not at risk.
Coincident with the scale back in VPAF operations was a change in the U.
F-4 Phantom II vs MiG-21, USAF & VPAF in the Vietnam War.
Recruitment into the VPAF was not easy and required a solid patriotic background, even if the individual had never even driven a car, let along flown a plane, which many had not.
At the same time, the VPAF would be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to use their forces in a more decisive role, working towards the day when they would have the strength and experience to openly challenge American air forces for air superiority over their own country.
Just as with the ground war in the south, the VPAF came out in force only when they believed that they had the opportunity to damage significantly American forces.
During the Rolling Thunder campaign of 1965-1968, the VPAF openly challenged U.
By late 1966, the VPAF was operating a substantial number of the very capable MiG-21s, and was becoming more confident and aggressive as a result.
The VPAF licked its wounds for some time, but by mid-April apparently was ready to challenge the Americans again.
This loss may have set back the VPAF a bit, but it is obvious that they had not given up on the idea of mounting an open challenge for air superiority.