Role Attack aircraft, fighter, aggressor aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight 22 June 1954; 66 years ago
Introduction 1 October 1956; 64 years ago
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
Number built 2,960
Variants Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk
Douglas A2D Skyshark / Douglas McDonnell FH Banshee / McDonnell FH1 Phantom I /
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk / Douglas A-3 Skywarrior / Douglas F-4E Phantom II /
Douglas F3H Demon / Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Douglas F-101 Voodoo / Douglas X-3A Stiletto/ McDonnell AV-8B Harrier II Douglas F3D Skyknight
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single-seat subsonic carrier-capable light 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 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h). The aircraft’s five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs, and other munitions. It is capable of carrying a bomb load equivalent to that of a World War II–era Boeing B-17 bomber, and can 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 engine was used.
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”. The XA4D-1 prototype set a world speed record of 695.163 mph on 15 October 1955.
You are definitely intrigued to discoverDouglas A-4M Skyhawk (1954)
Top Aces, formerly Discovery Air Defense Services, a private Canadian company contracted by the Canadian Forces, Australian Defence Forces, and Bundeswehr to provide air combat and fighter training, imported and registered ten A-4N and TA-4J aircraft. Discovery upgraded and modified the jets to be capable of Electronic Warfare training.[third-party source needed] Top Aces also operates A-4Ns under contract for training of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). Another major civil user of A-4s for training support to military forces is US-based Draken International, which operates ex-New Zealand A-4Ks as part of a diverse fleet of jets. A-4s have previously been operated in the target support role in Germany by Tracor Flight Systems.
On 27 July 2014, USS Bataan began deploying USMC AV-8Bs over Iraq to provide surveillance of Islamic State (IS) forces. Surveillance operations continued after the start of Operation Inherent Resolve against IS militants. In early September 2014, a USMC Harrier from the 22nd MEU struck an IS target near the Haditha Dam in Iraq, marking the first time a USMC unit dropped ordnance in the operation.
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