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A-4 Skyhawk McDonnell Douglas
A-4 Skyhawk
Attack Bomber

DESCRIPTION:
In 1952, the US Navy and Marines requested a new tactical attack jet weighing 30,000 lb. The Navy was quite surprised when the Douglas Aircraft Company claimed to be able to meet the design specifications with an aircraft weighing only half as much. Not only did the resulting A-4 fully meet all performance requirements, but the aircraft also set a world speed record in 1954. The A-4 was designed from experience gained in the Korean War that made clear the need for an aircraft with greater range and payload, suitable for use on aircraft carriers, and able to provide close-in support for ground forces. The Skyhawk proved a great success in Vietnam and also became popular with many foreign militaries. Although nearly 30 years old at the time of the Falkland Islands conflict, A-4s operating from Argentine land bases successfully attacked and sank a number of British ships. The last of 2,960 Skyhawks was built in 1980, though upgrade programs continued well into the 1990s.

Data below for A-4S-1
Last modified 17 March 2012

HISTORY:
First Flight (XA4D-1) 22 June 1954
(A-4A) 14 August 1954
Service Entry

October 1956

CREW: one: pilot

ESTIMATED COST:

$860,000 [1955$]

AIRFOIL SECTIONS:
Wing Root NACA 0008-1.1-25
Wing Tip

NACA 0005-.825-50

DIMENSIONS:
Length 41.71 ft (12.72 m)
Wingspan 27.50 ft (8.38 m)
Height 14.98 ft (4.57 m)
Wing Area 260 ft² (24.2 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

WEIGHTS:
Empty 10,250 lb (4,649 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff 22,500 lb (10,205 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: unknown
Max Payload

8,200 lb (3,720 kg)

PROPULSION:
Powerplant (A-4F) one Pratt & Whitney J52-8A turbojet
(A-4M) one Pratt & Whitney J52-408 turbojet
(A-4S-1) one General Electric F404-100D turbofan
Thrust (A-4F) 9,300 lb (41.37 kN)
(A-4M) 11,200 lb (49.82 kN)
(A-4S-1) 10,800 lb (48.04 kN)

PERFORMANCE:
Max Level Speed at altitude: 595 mph (955 km/h) at 34,000 ft (10,365 m) [A-4F]
at sea level: 700 mph (1,130 km/h)
Initial Climb Rate 8,440 ft (2,570 m) / min
Service Ceiling 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
Range typical: 800 nm (1,480 km)
ferry: 1,790 nm (3,310 km)
g-Limits unknown

ARMAMENT:
Gun two Mk 12 20-mm cannons (200 rds ea) or
two DEFA 552/553 30-mm cannons (150 rds ea)
Stations five external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-9 Sidewinder, Shafrir
Air-to-Surface Missile AGM-12 Bullpup, AGM-62 Walleye, AGM-65 Maverick, Gabriel III
Bomb Mk 82/83/84 GP, nuclear, cluster bombs
Other rocket pods, ECM pods, refueling pods, torpedoes

KNOWN VARIANTS:
XA4D-1 First prototype, powered by one Wright J65-2 turbojet
YAD-1 or YA-4A Preproduction test model with Wright J65-4 or J65-4B turbojets
A4D-1 or A-4A First production model; 146 built
A4D-2 or A-4B Improved A-4A with strengthened rear fuselage, in-flight refueling capability, and an improved Wright J65-16 turbojet engine; 542 built
A4D-2N or A-4C One-seat attack model with terrain-following radar, an autopilot, and J65-16C engine; 638 built
A4D-3 Proposed all-weather attack model with a Pratt & Whitney engine, not built
A4D-5 or A-4E Improved model with a new Pratt & Whitney J52-6A turbojet engine and increased payload; 494 built
A4D-6 Proposed attack model with a Pratt & Whitney TF30 turbofan engine and enlarged fuselage, not built
TA-4E Prototype two-seat trainer based on the A-4E with a lengthened fuselage and decreased fuel capacity
TA-4F Production model of the TA-4E trainer with a Pratt & Whitney J52-8A engine; 240 built
A-4F First model with an enlarged fuselage "hump" containing avionics and allowing increased fuel capacity, final attack model built for the US Navy; 146 built
A-4G Export version of the A-4E originally built for the Royal Australian Navy and later sold to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1984; 8 built
TA-4G Two-seat trainer based on the A-4G built for the Royal Australian Navy and later sold to the Royal New Zealand Navy
A-4H Export version of the A-4E built for the Israeli Air Force, equipped with a braking parachute and the 20-mm guns were replaced by 30-mm caliber guns; 90 built
TA-4H Two-seat trainer based on the A-4H for Israel; 10 built
TA-4J Two-seat trainer for the US Navy; 291 built
A-4K Export version of the A-4F built for the Royal New Zealand Air Force; 10 built
TA-4K Two-seat trainer based on the A-4K for the RNZAF; 4 built
A-4KU Export version of the A-4M built for Kuwait; 30 built
TA-4KU Two-seat trainer based on the A-4KU for Kuwait; 6 built
A-4L A-4C airframes rebuilt for use by the US Naval Reserves
A-4M Improved attack model for the US Marine Corps with a new bombing system, radar warning receivers, internal ECM jammers, a heads-up-display, payload dispensers, and an uprated engine; 162 built
A-4N Attack model for Israel based on the A-4M; 267 one-seat and 27 two-seat models built
A-4P Re-built A-4B aircraft acquired by the Argentine Air Force
A-4PTM Re-built A-4C/L aircraft with new radios, gunsights, avionics, and increased payload capacity sold to Maylasia; 34 converted
TA-4PTM Two-seat trainers for Malaysia similar to the A-4PTM; 6 converted
A-4Q Re-built A-4B aircraft acquired by the Argentine Navy
A-4S, A-4S-1 Re-built A-4B aircraft bought by the Singapore Air Force
A-4SU, TA-4S Two-seat trainers based on the A-4S series and purchased by Singapore
A-4Y unknown
OA-4 Forward air control model

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD:

Vietnam War (USN, USMC, 1965-1973)
Yom Kippur War (Israel, 1973)
Falklands War (Argentina, 1982)
Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (Kuwait, 1991)

KNOWN OPERATORS:

Argentina, Fuerza Aérea Argentina (Argentine Air Force)
Argentina, Comando de Aviación Naval Argentina (Argentine Naval Aviation)
Australia (Royal Australian Navy)
Brazil, Força Aeronaval da Marinha do Brasil (Brazilian Naval Air Arm)
Indonesia, Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Udara (Indonesian Air Force)
Israel, Tsvah Haganah le Israel - Heyl Ha'Avir (Israeli Defence Force - Air Force)
Kuwait, al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya (Kuwaiti Air Force)
Malaysia, Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (Royal Malaysian Air Force)
New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Air Force)
New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Navy)
Singapore (Republic of Singapore Air Force)
United States (US Marine Corps)
United States (US Navy)
United States (US Naval Reserve)

3-VIEW SCHEMATIC:

A-4 Skyhawk


SOURCES:
  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 354.
  • Bonds, Ray, ed. The Modern US War Machine: An Encyclopedia of American Military Equipment and Strategy. NY: Military Press, 1987, p. 192-193.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 610, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 262-264, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, TA-4 Skyhawk.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 170, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
  • Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Combat Today. NY: Crescent Books, 1983, p. 118-119.
  • Laur, Timothy M. and Llanso, Steven L. Encyclopedia of Modern U.S. Military Weapons. NY: Berkley Books, 1995, p. 8-10, Skyhawk (A-4).
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 146-147, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 31, Boeing (Douglas) A-4 Skyhawk.
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 107-108, 142, Singapore Technologies Aerospace A-4SU Super Skyhawk, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 111, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.





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