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Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

US Navy & US Marine Corps Version
Author: Andy Evans
RRP: £19.99

The Skyhawk was designed by Douglas Aircraft's Ed Heinemann in response to a US Navy call for a jet-powered attack aircraft to replace the older Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Heinemann opted for a design that would minimise its size, weight, and complexity. The result was an aircraft that weighed only half of the Navy's weight specification. It also had a wing so compact that it did not need to be folded for carrier stowage. The US Navy operated the A-4 in both regular Navy and Naval Reserve light attack squadrons. Although the A-4's use as a training and adversary aircraft would continue well into the 1990s, the Navy began removing the aircraft from its frontline attack squadrons in 1967, with the last ones being the ‘Super Foxes’, retiring in 1976. The Marine Corps would not take the Skyhawk’s replacement, the A-7 Corsair instead they kept their Skyhawks in service and ordered a new A-4M model.

The last USMC Skyhawk was delivered in 1979, and they were used until the mid-1980s before they were replaced by the equally small, but more versatile AV-8 Harrier, and VMA-131, ‘Diamondbacks’ retired its last four OA-4Ms Skyhawks on 22 June 1994. Trainer and single seat versions of the Skyhawk remained in Navy service, however, finding a new lease on life with the advent of adversary training, where the nimble A-4 was used as a stand-in for the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 in dissimilar air combat training (DACT). It served in that role at Topgun until 1999. The A-4's nimble performance also made it suitable to replace the F-4 Phantom when the Navy downsized its aircraft for the Blue Angels demonstration team, until F/A-18 Hornets were available in the 1980s. The last Navy Skyhawks, TA-4J models belonging to the composite squadron VC-8, remained in military use for target towing, and as adversary aircraft, and were officially retired in May 2003. As the series title ‘Real to Replica’ suggests, the book also contains colour profiles, walk arounds, and how to build plastic models of the A-4 in popular scales, making this an ideal reference for the enthusiast and modeller alike.

Product description

ISBN: 9781739297701
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 280mm x 216mm
Pages: 84
Photos/Illus: 280