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 A-4 Skyhawk

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PostSubject: A-4 Skyhawk   Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:07 pm

A-4 SKYHAWK












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DETAILS :


Role : Ground-attack aircraft
National origin : United States
Manufacturer : Douglas Aircraft Company ; McDonnell Douglas
Designed by : Ed Heinemann
First flight : 22 June 1954
Introduced : October 1956
Retired : 2003 (USN) ; 1998 (USMC)
Status : Active with non-U.S. users
Primary users : United States Navy ; United States Marine Corps
Number built : 2,960
Unit cost : US$860,000 each for the first 500 units
Variants : A-4AR Fightinghawk ; A-4SU Super Skyhawk



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SPECIFICATIONS :


General Characteristics :

Crew : 1 (2 in TA-4J, TA-4F, OA-4F)
Length : 40 ft 3 in (12.22 m)
Wingspan : 26 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Height : 15 ft (4.57 m)
Wing area : 259 ft² (24.15 m²)
Airfoil : NACA 0008-1.1-25 root, NACA 0005-0.825-50 tip
Empty weight : 10,450 lb (4,750 kg)
Loaded weight : 18,300 lb (8,318 kg)
Max takeoff weight : 24,500 lb (11,136 kg)
Powerplant : 1× Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A turbojet, 9,300 lbf (10,000+ USMC A-4M and OA-4M) (41 kN)



Performance :

Maximum speed : 585 kn (673 mph, 1,077 km/h)
Range : 1,700 nmi (2,000 mi, 3,220 km)
Service ceiling : 42,250 ft (12,880 m)
Rate of climb : 8,440 ft/min (43 m/s)
Wing loading : 70.7 lb/ft² (344.4 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight : 0.51
G-limit : -3/+8 g



Armament :

Guns : 2 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Colt Mk 12 cannon, 100 rounds/gun
Missiles :
4 × AIM-9 Sidewinder
AGM-45 Shrike ARM (anti-radiation missile)
MBDA Exocet
AGM-65 Maverick ASM (air-to-surface missiles)
AGM-62 Walleye glide bomb
AGM-12 Bullpup ASM (air-to-surface missiles)
Bombs :
9,900 lb (4,490 kg) on five external hardpoints
Rockeye Mk.20 Cluster Bomb Unit
Rockeye Mk.7/APAM-59 Cluster Bomb Unit
Mk.81 (250 lb/113 kg) and Mk.82 (500 lb/227 kg) general-purpose bombs
Various tactical nuclear missiles and bombs
Mk.76 practice bombs



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BACKGROUND


The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The delta winged, single turbojet-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D under the US Navy's pre-1962 designation system.

Fifty years after the aircraft's first flight, and having played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, and the Yom Kippur War, a few of the nearly 3,000 Skyhawks produced remain in service with several air arms around the world, including active duty on the aircraft carrier of the Brazilian Navy.



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DESIGN


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 AD 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 diminutive Skyhawk soon received the nicknames "Scooter", "Kiddiecar", "Bantam Bomber", "Tinker Toy Bomber", and, on account of its nimble performance, "Heinemann's Hot-Rod".

The aircraft is of conventional post-World War II design, with a low-mounted delta wing, tricycle undercarriage, and a single turbojet engine in the rear fuselage, with two air intakes on the fuselage sides. The tail is of cruciform design, with the horizontal stabilizer mounted above the fuselage. Armament consisted of two 20 mm (.79 in caliber) Colt Mk 12 cannons, one in each wing root, with 200 rpg, plus a large variety of bombs, rockets, and missiles carried on a hardpoint under the fuselage centerline and hardpoints under each wing (originally one per wing, later two).

The choice of a delta wing, for example, combined speed and maneuverability with a large fuel capacity and small overall size, thus not requiring folding wings, albeit at the expense of cruising efficiency. The leading edge slats were designed to drop automatically at the appropriate speed by gravity and air pressure, saving weight and space by omitting actuation motors and switches. Similarly the main undercarriage did not penetrate the main wing spar, designed so that when retracted only the wheel itself was inside the wing and the undercarriage struts were housed in a fairing below the wing. The wing structure itself could be lighter with the same overall strength and the absence of a wing folding mechanism further reduced weight. This is the opposite of what can often happen in aircraft design where a small weight increase in one area leads to a compounding increase in weight in other areas to compensate, leading to the need for more powerful, heavier engines and so on in a vicious cycle.

The A-4 pioneered the concept of "buddy" air-to-air refueling. This allows the aircraft to supply others of the same type, eliminating the need of dedicated tanker aircraft— a particular advantage for small air arms or when operating in remote locations. A designated supply A-4 would mount a center-mounted "buddy store", a large external fuel tank with a hose reel in the aft section and an extensible drogue refueling bucket. This aircraft was fueled up without armament and launched first. Attack aircraft would be armed to the maximum and given as much fuel as was allowable by maximum take-off weight limits, far less than a full tank. Once airborne, they would then proceed to top-off their fuel tanks from the tanker using the A-4's fixed re-fueling probe on the starboard side of the aircraft nose. They could then sortie with both full armament and fuel loads. While rarely used in U.S. service since the KA-3 Skywarrior tanker became available, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet includes this capability, with a view to the imminent retirement of dedicated tankers.

The A-4 was also designed to be able to make an emergency landing, in the event of a hydraulic failure, on the two drop tanks nearly always carried by these aircraft. Such landings resulted in only minor damage to the nose of the aircraft which could be repaired in less than an hour. Ed Heinemann is credited with having a large "K.I.S.S." sign put up on the wall of the drawing office when the aircraft was being designed. Whether this is true, the A-4 certainly is a shining example of the application of that principle to aircraft design.

The Navy issued a contract for the type on 12 June 1952, and the first prototype first flew from Edwards Air Force Base, California on 22 June 1954. Deliveries to Navy and U.S. Marine Corps squadrons (to VA-72 and VMA-224 respectively) commenced in late 1956.

The Skyhawk remained in production until 1979, with a total of 2,960 aircraft built, including 555 two-seat trainers. The last production A-4, an A-4M issued to a Marine squadron (VMA-223) had the flags of all nations who had operated the A-4 series aircraft painted on the dorsal avonics 'hump'.



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VARIANTS




XA4D-1 ::

Prototype


YA4D-1 (YA-4A, later A-4A) ::

Flight test prototypes and pre-production aircraft.


A4D-1 (A-4A) ::

Initial production version, 166 built


A4D-2 (A-4B) ::

Strengthened aircraft and added air-to-air refueling capabilities, improved navigation and flight control systems, provision for AGM-12 Bullpup missile, 542 built.


A-4P ::

Remanufactured A-4Bs sold to Argentine Air Force known as A-4B by the Argentines.


A-4Q ::

Remanufactured A-4Bs sold to Argentine Navy.


A-4S ::

50 A-4Bs remanufactured for Republic of Singapore Air Force.


TA-4S ::

Seven trainer versions of the above. Different from most TA-4 trainers with a common cockpit for the student and instructor pilot, these were essentially rebuilt with a 28 in (710 mm) fuselage plug inserted into the front fuselage and a separate bulged cockpit (giving better all round visibility) for the instructor seated behind the student pilot.


TA-4S-1 ::

Eight trainer versions of the above. These were designated as TA-4S-1 to set it apart from the earlier batch of seven airframes.


A4D-3 ::

Proposed advanced avionics version, none built.


A4D-2N (A-4C) ::

Night/adverse weather version of A4D-2, with AN/APG-53A radar, autopilot, LABS low-altitude bombing system. Wright J65-W-20 engine with 8,200 lbf (36.5 kN) takeoff thrust, 638 built.


A-4L ::

100 A-4Cs remanufactured for Marine Corps Reserves and Navy Reserve squadrons. Fitted with A-4F avionics (including the fuselage "hump") but retaining J-65 engine and three-pylon wing.


A-4S-1 ::

50 A-4Cs remanufactured for Republic of Singapore Air Force.


A-4SU ::

This is an extensively modified and updated version of the A-4S, exclusively for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), fitted with a General Electric F404 non-afterburning turbofan engine, and modernized electronics.


TA-4SU ::

This is an extensively modified and updated version of the TA-4S & TA-4S-1 to TA-4SU standard.


A-4PTM ::

40 A-4Cs and A-4Ls refurbished for Royal Malaysian Air Force, incorporating many A-4M features (PTM stands for Peculiar to Malaysia).


TA-4PTM ::

Small number of trainer versions of above (PTM stands for Peculiar to Malaysia).


A4D-4 ::

Long-range version with new wings cancelled; A-4D designation skipped to prevent confusion with
A4D.


A4D-5 (A-4E) ::

Major upgrade, including new Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A engine with 8,400 lbf (37 kN) thrust, strengthened airframe with two more weapon pylons (for a total of five), improved avionics, with TACAN, Doppler navigation radar, radar altimeter, toss-bombing computer, and AJB-3A low-altitude bombing system. Many later upgraded with J52-P-8 engine with 9,300 lbf (41 kN) thrust; 499 built.


TA-4E ::

Two A-4Es modified as prototypes of a trainer version.


A4D-6 ::

Proposed version, none built.


A-4F ::

Refinement of A-4E with extra avionics housed in a hump on the fuselage spine (this feature later retrofitted to A-4Es and some A-4Cs) and more powerful J52-P-8A engine with 9,300 lbf (41 kN) thrust, later upgraded in service to J52-P-408 with 11,200 lbf (50 kN), 147 built. Some served with Blue Angels acrobatic team from 1973 to 1986.


TA-4F ::

Conversion trainer - standard A-4F with extra seat for an instructor, 241 built.


OA-4M ::

23 TA-4Fs modified for Forward Air Control duties for the USMC.


EA-4F ::

Four TA-4Fs converted for ECM training.


TA-4J ::

Dedicated trainer version based on A-4F, but lacking weapons systems, and with down-rated engine, 277 built new, and most TA-4Fs were later converted to this configuration.


A-4G ::

Eight aircraft built new for the Royal Australian Navy with minor variations from the A-4F; in particular, they were not fitted with the avionics "hump". Subsequently, eight more A-4Fs were modified to this standard for the RAN. Significantly the A-4G were modified to carry four underwing Sidewinder AIM-9B missiles increasing their Fleet Defense capability.


TA-4G ::

Two trainer versions of the A-4G built new, and two more modified from TA-4Fs.


A-4H ::

90 aircraft for the Israeli Air Force based on the A-4F. Used 30 mm (1.18 in) DEFA cannon with 150 rpg in place of US 20 mm (.79 in) guns. Later, some A-4Es later locally modified to this standard. Subsequently modified with extended jetpipes as protection against heat-seeking missiles.


TA-4H :

25 trainer versions of the above. These remain in service, and are being refurbished with new avionics and systems for service till at least 2010.


A-4K :

Ten aircraft for Royal New Zealand Air Force. In the 1990s, these were upgraded under Project KAHU with new radar and avionics, provision for AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-9 Sidewinder, and GBU-16 Paveway II laser-guided bomb. The RNZAF also rebuilt an A-4C and ten A-4Gs to A4K standard.


TA-4K ::

Four trainer versions of the above. A fifth was later assembled in NZ from spare parts.


A-4M ::

Dedicated Marine version with improved avionics and more powerful J52-P-408a engine with 11,200 lbf (50 kN) thrust, enlarged cockpit, IFF system. Later fitted with Hughes AN/ASB-19 Angle Rate Bombing System (ARBS) with TV and laser spot tracker, 158 built.


A-4N ::

117 modified A-4Ms for the Israeli Air Force.


A-4KU ::

30 modified A-4Ms for the Kuwaiti Air Force. Brazil purchased 20 of these second-hand and redesignated them AF-1. Now used in Brazilian Navy on carrier duty.


TA-4KU ::

Three trainer versions of the above. Brazil purchased some of these second-hand and redesignated them AF-1A.


A-4AR ::

36 A-4Ms refurbished for Argentina. Known as Fightinghawk.


TA-4R ::

Refurbished two-seat training version for Argentina.


A-4Y ::

Provisional designation for A-4Ms modified with the ARBS. Designation never adopted by the US Navy or Marine Corps.



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IMAGE GALLERY


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PostSubject: Re: A-4 Skyhawk   Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:19 pm

That looks pretty awesome!

Max speed of 673mph, WOAH
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PostSubject: Re: A-4 Skyhawk   Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:36 am

Nice pictures..get to know a lot....
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