McDonnell Douglas A4G Skyhawk

McDonnell Douglas A4G Skyhawk
Type
Carrier-borne light attack fighter bomber
Manufacturer
McDonnell Douglas
Origin
USA
Number Ordered
20
First Delivered
22 Nov 1967
Last Delivered
8 July 1971
Length
44 feet
Height
15 feet
Weights 10,100
Dimensions Wing Span: 27 ft 6 in
Speed 657.6 knots
Range
2000 miles (ferry)
Engines One Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A, 9,300 lbs thrust
Performance Ceiling: 40,000 ft
Armament
Guns: 2 x 20mm cannon (100 rounds per gun), Bombs - Missiles - Rockets

An A4 prior to launching from the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

An A4 prior to launching from the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.
The Douglas A4 Skyhawk was designed for aircraft carrier operations with the US Navy and US Marine Corps as a small attack aircraft with high load carrying capacity. The prototype first flew on 22 June 1954.
The Royal Australian Navy ordered eight A4-G fighters and two TA-4G trainers from the US which were accepted on 26 July 1967. The aircraft were brought to Australia in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and subsequently landed in Jervis Bay from where they were transferred to nearby NAS Nowra.
The 8 fighter aircraft were allotted to VF 805 Squadron whose primary roles included air defence, maritime strike and support to the Army when configured in land attack role. The Skyhawks proved to be both formidable and versatile aircraft with the ability to carry large weapon pay loads. An in-flight refuelling capability enabled them to extend their radius of action to press home coastal and shipping attacks far from their parent aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.
Following the initial order for ten airframes an additional ten A4-F variants were procurred from the US Navy and brought up to A4-G standards prior to delivery in 1971. Altogether ten of the the aircraft were lost between 1973 and 1980 highlighting the inherent risks associated with naval aviation.
Following the decomissioning of HMAS Melbourne in 1982 all of the remaining Skyhawks were withdrawn from service and eventually disposed of. Examples of both the A4-G and TA-4G may be found on display at the RAN Fleet Air Arm Museum located at NAS Nowra, Nowra, NSW.

A pair of Skyhawks perform a low flypast of HMAS Melbourne

A pair of Skyhawks perform a low flypast of HMAS Melbourne

Two A4-G Skyhawks in formation c.1981

Two A4-G Skyhawks in formation c.1981