Douglas F3D Skyknight "1948"

The Douglas F3D Skyknight (later designated F-10 Skyknight) is an American twin-engined, mid-wing jet fighter aircraft manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California.

Douglas F3D Skyknight "1948"

RoleFighter aircraft
National originUnited States
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft Company
First flight23 March 1948
Primary usersUnited States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Number built265
Developed intoDouglas F6D Missileer



Douglas F3D Skyknight "1948"

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Douglas F3D Skyknight "1948""

The Douglas F3D Skyknight (later designated F-10 Skyknight) is an American twin-engined, mid-wing jet fighter aircraft manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California. The F3D was designed as a carrier-based all-weather night fighter and saw service with the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The mission of the F3D was to search out and destroy enemy aircraft at night.[1]

The F3D Skyknight was never produced in great numbers but it did achieve many firsts in its role as a night fighter over Korea. While it never achieved the fame of the North American F-86 Sabre, it did down several Soviet-built MiG-15s as a night fighter over Korea with only one air-to-air loss of its own against a Chinese MiG-15, which occurred on the night of 29 May 1953. The Skyknight played an important role in the development of the radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missile which led to further guided air-to-air missile developments. It also served as an electronic warfare platform in the Vietnam War as a precursor to the EA-6A Intruder and EA-6B Prowler.

Douglas F3D Design

The F3D was not intended to be a typical sleek and nimble dogfighter, but as a standoff night fighter, packing a powerful radar system and a second crew member. It originated in 1945 with a US Navy requirement for a jet-powered, radar-equipped, carrier-based night fighter. The Douglas team led by Ed Heinemann designed around the bulky air intercept radar systems of the time, with side-by-side seating for the pilot and radar operator.[6] The result was an aircraft with a wide, deep, and roomy fuselage. Instead of ejection seats, an escape tunnel was used, similar to the type used in the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior.[6]

The XF3D-1 beat out Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation’s G-75 two-seat, four-engined, Westinghouse J30-powered night fighter design (similar layout to their Tigercat), and a contract was issued on 3 April 1946. The US Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) also issued a contract to Grumman for two G-75 (BuAer designation XF9F-1) experimental aircraft on 11 April 1946 in case the Skyknight ran into problems. Grumman soon realized that the G-75 was a losing design but had been working on a completely different, single-engined day fighter known as the Grumman G-79 which became the Grumman F9F Panther

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Douglas F3D Skyknight (1948)

The Skyknight was the only Korean War jet fighter that also flew in Vietnam. EF-10Bs served in the Electronic warfare role during the Vietnam War until 1969. The large interior provided ample room for electronic equipment. U.S. Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadron One VMCJ-1 Golden Hawks began operating the EF-10B on 17 April 1965 under Lt. Col Wes Corman at Da Nang Air Base Republic of Vietnam with six aircraft.[28] No more than 10 EF-10Bs were in Vietnam at one time. The Electronic Warfare (EW) Skyknight was a valuable Electronic countermeasure (ECM) asset to jam the SA-2 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) tracking and guidance systems.[5] VMCJ-1 made history when its EF-10Bs conducted the first USMC airborne radar jamming mission on 29 April 1965 to support a USAF strike mission. Four EF-10Bs also supported a massive strike on the SAM sites near Hanoi on 27 July 1965.


Crew: 2

Length: 45 ft 5 in (13.84 m)

Wingspan: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m) 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m) folded

Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.90 m) wings spread, 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m) wings folded

Empty weight: 14,989 lb (6,799 kg)

Gross weight: 23,575 lb (10,693 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 26,731 lb (12,125 kg)

Powerplant: 2 × Westinghouse J34-WE-36 turbojet engines, 3,400 lbf (15 kN) thrust each 

Maximum speed: 460 kn (530 mph, 850 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Cruise speed: 395 kn (455 mph, 732 km/h)

Stall speed: 80.6 kn (92.8 mph, 149.3 km/h) with approach power

Combat range: 995 nmi (1,145 mi, 1,843 km) on internals

Ferry range: 1,195 nmi (1,375 mi, 2,213 km) 

Service ceiling: 36,700 ft (11,200 m)

Rate of climb: 3,570 ft/min (18.1 m/s)

Wing loading: 58.9 lb/sq ft (288 kg/m2


Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.787 in) Hispano-Suiza M2 cannon, 200 rpg

Rockets: 2 × 11.75 in (298 mm) Tiny Tim unguided rockets

Missiles: 4× Sparrow I air-to-air missiles (F3D-2M)

Bombs: 2 × 2,000 lb (910 kg) bombs

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On 29 NovemPost Vietnam The U.S. Navy continued to use the F-10s for avionics systems testing. The F-10 was used as a radar testbed to develop the APQ-72 radar. The nose of an F-4 Phantom was added to the front of an F-10B. Another F-10 had a modified radome installed by the radar manufacturer Westinghouse.

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