— Naval Training Center, Great Lakes Museum —
McDonnell/Douglas A-4D (A-4)
The Douglas A-4D "Skyhawk" was designed by the late Ed Heinemann in response to a Navy requirement for a fast (but compact) long-range, light-weight carrier jet capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. Because of its small size and ease with which flight deck personnel could handle it, A-4Ds became known variously as either "Scooters" or "Tinker Toys."
The A-4 set a world speed record of more than 695 mph in 1959 for Class C aircraft over a 500K km course. Fitted with two 150 gallon under wing drop tanks, two A-4Ds flew 2,082 miles non-stop without in-flight refueling in a demonstration of the plane's long-range capability.
The A-4 Skyhawk participated in the first raids of the Vietnam War and became one of the primary strike aircraft thereafter. The A-4 "Skyhawks" suffered more losses than any other carrier-based aircraft in Vietnam with the loss of 195 aircraft in combat.
The A-4 "Skyhawk" was the backbone of the Navy and Marine Corps light jet attack forces from the late 1950s into the 1980s. Development of the "Skyhawk" series continued during these years and included many improvements, updates and advancements adding to the A-4's versatility, performance and maintenance.
The first production Skyhawk was delivered in 1956 and the last in 1979. In total 2,960 Skyhawks were delivered to the fleet. A two-seat trainer version of the A-4 was in use by the Navy until 1999.
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company Type: Carrier-based light attack bomberCrew: Pilot onlyDimensions: Wing Span 27'6"; Length 40';
Height 14' 11" Weight: Empty, 10,465 pounds Max Takeoff, 24,500 poundsPerformance: Max speed 645 knots at sea level
Bombs: Max Load 10,000 lbs
Max Centerline 3,500 lbs
Each wing (inboard) 2,200 lbs
Each wing (outboard)1,000 lbs
Guns: Two 20 mm cannons
The aircraft carried armament ranging
from conventional "Iron Bombs" to such
sophisticated weapons as the Gatling Gun,"Bullpup","Walleye", "Shrike" and, in one case, "Sidewinder" air-to-air missile.