McDonnell/Douglas  Aircraft

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat subsonic carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s.

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

Design/Development

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat subsonic carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s. The delta winged, single turbojet engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy's pre-1962 designation system.

The Skyhawk is a relatively lightweight aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg) and has a top speed of more than 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h). The aircraft's five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions. It was capable of carrying a bomb load equivalent to that of a World War II-era Boeing B-17 bomber, and could deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system and a "loft" delivery technique. The A-4 was originally powered by the Wright J65 turbojet engine; from the A-4E onwards, the Pratt & Whitney J52 was used.

 

Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Sixty years after the aircraft's first flight in 1954, some of the 2,960 produced (through February 1979) remain in service with several air arms around the world.

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The Skyhawk was designed by Douglas Aircraft's Ed Heinemann in response to a U.S. Navy call for a jet-powered attack aircraft to replace the older Douglas AD Skyraider (later redesignated A-1 Skyraider). Heinemann opted for a design that would minimize its size, weight, and complexity. The result was an aircraft that weighed only half of the Navy's weight specification. It had a wing so compact that it did not need to be folded for carrier stowage. The first 500 production examples cost an average of $860,000 each, less than the Navy's one million dollar maximum. The diminutive Skyhawk soon received the nicknames "Scooter", "Kiddiecar", "Bantam Bomber", "Tinker Toy Bomber", and, on account of its speed and nimble performance, "Heinemann's Hot-Rod".

Douglas
Douglas A-4M Skyhawk

S 1 May 1967, an A-4C Skyhawk piloted by Lieutenant Commander Theodore R. Swartz of VA-76 aboard the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, shot down a North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-17 with an unguided Zuni rocket as the Skyhawk's only air-to-air victory of the Vietnam War.

  • History

    Role Attack aircraft, fighter, aggressor aircraft

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company

    McDonnell Douglas

    First flight 22 June 1954

    Introduction October 1956

     

  • Primary Users

    Retired USMC (1998), U.S. Navy (2003)

    Israeli Air Force (2015)

    Status In limited service with non-U.S. users

    Primary users United States Navy (historical)

    United States Marine Corps (historical)

    Israeli Air Force (historical)

    Argentine Air Force (historical)

  • General Info

    Produced 1954–1979

    Number built 2,960

    Unit cost

    US$2.8–3.8 million

    Variants Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk

    McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk

    ST Aerospace A-4SU Super Skyhawk

Douglas A-4M Skyhawk "Kiddie car"

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The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat subsonic carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s.

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