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The military necessities of Vietnam led to the utilization of Providers in many operations demanding more than simple cargo hauling. Some were made into gunships equipped with multiple cannons and sensors for night attacks on enemy positions. Others were equipped to fly "Ranch Hand" missions where they sprayed defoliant over jungle terrain. Yet another mission was for dropping single bombs that, upon detonation, cleared an area of jungle suitable for helicopters to use as landing pads.
Their high tail and short landing gear made for easier loading of combat equipment and their top speed and takeoff ability could be improved by the installation of a jet engine under each wing.
Some C-123s were converted to role of slurry bombers for use by the United States Forest Service in the role of fighting fires.
Between the time of the prototype's first flight on September 1, 1954 and 1958, Fairchild produced more than 300 Providers.