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Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Production History

Original Page Authored by Wynn (Captain Hook) Foster

Prior to October 1962, there were six Skyhawk designations:  A4D-l, A4D-2, A4D-2N, A4D-3 (none built), A4D-4 (none built), and A4D-5.  The letter "A" stood for the aircraft mission: Attack.  The "4D" indicated it was the fourth attack aircraft manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company (later McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing).  The number following the dash indicated the numerical sequence within that model, the A4D-2N, for example, being a night/all-weather version of the A4D-2.
Early in the A4D's history, Douglas Aircraft referred to any export verison of the A4D as the "DA101". This designation saw little useage.
Legend has it that the current military aircraft designation system took root one day in 1962 when then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was confused during a discussion of two Navy fighter aircraft -- the Douglas F4D Skyray and the McDonnell F4H Phantom. Mr. McNamara apparently was surprised to discover that the two F4s were different aircraft.  Consequently, Mr. McNamara decreed that a standard designation system be established and, since October 1962, all military aircraft have been identified by the new (and current) system: The initial letter designates the aircraft mission -- "A" for Attack, "F" for Fighter, "T" for Trainer, etc.; the dash number represents the numerical sequence within that mission (A-l, A-3, A-4, A-6, A-7, etc.); and the final letter represents an alphabetical sub-sequence within the numerical sequence (A-4A, A-4B, A-4C, etc.).

When the 1962 change hit the Navy inventory, the letter designating the manufacturer was dropped.  The A4D-1 became the A-4A, the A4D-2 became A-4B, the A4D-2N became A-4C, and the A4D-5 became A-4E.  The A-4D designation was skipped to avoid confusion with the earlier A4D.  The A4D-3 and A4D-4 reached the design stage but were never produced; A4D-6 lost the VAL (light attack) competition to the Vought A-7 Corsair II; and the A-4F came along after the designation change.

From Tommy Thomason, a profile comparison.

Most of the others in the Skyhawk alphabetical sequence were straight forward, but some were a bit esoteric:
  • The A-4G, similar to the A-4F, was manufactured for the Royal Australian Navy.
  • The A-4H, a modified version of the A-4F, went to the Israelis.
  • The A-4I designation was not used.
  • The "J" designation was used only for the trainer version.
  • The A-4K was manufactured for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
  • The A-4KU version went to Kuwait.
  • The A-4L was an upgraded version of the A-4C, assigned to the U.S. Naval Reserve units.
  • The A-4M was specially manufactured for the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • The A-4N was a version of the A-4M, delivered to the Israeli Air Force.
  • The "Oh" designation (A-4O) was not used, probably to avoid confusion with the OA-4M (see below).
  • The A-4P and A-4Q series were "remanufactured" A-4Bs sold to Argentina, the "P" for the air force, the "Q" for the naval air arm.
  • The A-4PTMs (Peculiar To Malaysia) were surplus A-4Bs and A-4Cs.
  • The "R" designation was skipped.  The A-4S designation was given to A-4B airframes reworked for the Singapore Air Force.
  • U.S. versions of the two-seat Skyhawk were the TA-4E, quickly changed to TA-4F, the TA-4J, and two special variants, the OA-4M and EA-4F.
  • Export variations of the two-seater were TA-4G {Australia), TA-4H (Israel), TA-4K (New Zealand), TA-4KU (Kuwait), TA-4PTM (Malaysia), and TA-4S (Singapore).


What did the early Skyhawks cost? Per "Douglas A-4 Skyhawk" by Peter Kilduff, $860,000 per copy for the first 500 units. Some other figures offered for the original production cost of a Skyhawk: A-4C = $587,000.; A-4E = $750,000.; A-4M = $860,000.

On this page you will find the original production run allocation. BuNo of Skyhawks resold will be listed in their appropriate country or private company page.

XA4D-1 (XA-4A)

  • Original R.G. Smith A-4 "Concept Blueprint"

  • On June 12, 1952, the U.S. Navy contracted with Douglas Aircraft Company of El Segundo, California, to build one prototype XA4D-1 Skyhawk attack aircraft.

  • In October 1952, after review of the proposed design, the Navy ordered an additonal 19 A-4s.

  • Literally "hand built," XA4D-1, BuNo 137812, was the first of an eventual 2,960 Skyhawks to roll off the Douglas Aircraft Company assembly line.  Powered by a Curtiss-Wright J65-W-16A engine, it had a one-piece windscreen, no tailhook or refueling probe, and the "sugar scoop" exhaust baffle was not yet conceived.

  • The first Skyhawk flight, flown by Douglas test pilot Robert Rahn, took place at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 22, 1954.

  • Most production features of later Skyhawks were installed and tested on 137812 during its lifetime, which explains various photographs of the aircraft displaying differing features.




YA4D-1 (YA-4A)
A4D-1 (A-4A)



  • Nine of the first 19 Skyhawks were designated YA4D-1 for flight testing purposes.

  • The second Skyhawk, BuNo 137813, was largely assembled by hand, and first flew on August 14, 1954.

  • The third Skyhawk, BuNo 137814, was the first production line-built and was redesignated A4D-1.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137815 crashed on a test flight on January 31, 1955. killing Douglas test pilot James Verdin.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137816 was used as the carrier suitablility test aircraft.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137817 was the weapons systems test aircraft.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137820 was used for bomb testing.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137820, flown by Navy Lieutenant Gordon Gray, set a 500-kilometer closed course world speed record of 695.163 MPH on October 15, 1955, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

  • A4D-1 BuNo. 137821 was used for locked slats and wing fence testing.

  • A4D-1 BuNo 137824 was used for electronics testing.

  • The first factory-to-fleet delivery of an A4D-1 was made to VA-72 at NAS Quonset Point, RI on 26 September 1956. Shortly thereafter, the first Pacific fleet Skyhawk deliveries were made to VF(AW)-3 at NAS Moffett Field, CA, and VMA-224 at MCAS El Toro, CA.  In all, 18 Navy and Marine squadrons took delivery of the A4D-1 (A-4A).

  • When delivery to fleet units of later versions of the Skyhawk began, some A4D-1 (A-4A) airframes were assigned to Naval Reserve squadrons and re-designated TA-4A, although no structural modifications were involved.

  • A total of 166 A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawks were produced.

    A4D-1 (A-4A) BuNos:
    137812 - 137831  (20)
    139919 - 139970  (52)
    142142 - 142235  (94)


A4D-2 (A-4B)


  • Before delivery of the A4D-1 to fleet units, an improved version, the A4D-2 (A-4B) was ordered into production.

  • Improvements incorporated in the A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk were a stronger, "inside-out" rudder construction; a pressure fueling system with a probe for air-to-air refueling; external fuel tanks; stronger landing gear; additional navigation equipment; an improved air-to-ground ordnance delivery system; and an externally-carried "buddy store" package for air-to-air fueling of other aircraft.

  • The first A4D-2 (A-4B) flight occurred on March 26, 1956, flown by Douglas test pilot Dru Wood.

  • Fleet delivery of the A4D-2 (A-4B) began in September 1957.

  • When delivery to fleet units of later versions of the Skyhawk began, some A4D-2 (A-4B) airframes were assigned to Naval Reserve squadrons and re-designated TA-4B, although no structural modifications were involved.

  • A total of 542 A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawks were manufactured, many of which were later modified and/or refurbished and sold to foreign countries (q.v.).

  • A4D-2 (A-4B) BuNos:
    142082 - 142141   (60)
    142416 - 142423    (8)
    142674 - 142953  (280)
    144868 - 145061  (194)



A4D-3


Photo from Vatche Mitilian
  • As a follow-on to the A4D-2 (A-4B), Douglas proposed the A4D-3, equipped with a more economical, more powerful (8,500 lb thrust vs. 7,700 lb) Pratt and Whitney J52 engine; a terrain clearance radar system; an all-attitude bombing and navigation system; and improved instrumentation and auto-pilot for all-weather flight.  The proposal could not be supported by the Navy's existing austere budget, however, and the project was cancelled before production began. Some of the A4D-3 capabilities were incorporated into the later A4D-5 (A-4E)
    Cancelled Bureau Numbers were 145157 thru 145156 (10).


A4D-2N (A-4C)


  • As a compromise to the canceled A4D-3, production of the A4D-2N, an up-scale version of the A4D-2, was authorized.  The Curtiss-Wright J65 engine was retained and improvements included an auto-pilot and all-attitude gyro system; a low-altitude bombing system; terrain clearance radar; and angle of attack instrumentation.

  • The first A4D-2N (A-4C) flight occurred on August 21, 1958 and first fleet delivery was to VMA-225 in February 1960.

  • In 1961, two A4D-2 Skyhawks (BuNos 148490 and 148483) were borrowed by the U.S. Army and modified by Douglas for evaluation in competition with the Northrop N-156 (predecessor of the F-5) and an Italian Fiat G-91, for operations from unimproved airfields near front lines.  Modifications of the Army Skyhawk included large dual wheels on beefed-up main landing gear mounts; a heavier wing to house the larger landing gear; and installation of an A-3 Skywarrior drag chute.  Flown by Douglas test pilot Dru Wood, the modified "Army" Skyhawk won the competition, but the project was canceled when Army funds were diverted to helicopter procurement.

  • The A4D-2N was redesignated A-4C in September of 1962. At that time, the A4D-2N was still in production and the production line was moved from the El Segundo plant to the Long Beach plant. Final assembly was done at a government-owned plant in Palmdale, CA.

  • In 1969, Douglas was contracted to modify 100 A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawks to the A-4L designation (see below).

  • A total of 638 A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawks were manufactured.

    A4D-2N (A-4C) BuNos
    145062 - 145146   (85)
    147669 - 147849  (181)
    148304 - 148317    (14)
    148435 - 148612  (178)
    149487 - 149646  (160)
    150581 - 150600   (20)




A-4L (Upgraded Charlies)


  • From 1969 to 1972, a program was in place to provide state-of-the-art tactical and ECM equipment upgrade for 100 A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawks, redesignated A-4L, for use by U.S. Naval Reserve squadrons.

  • The initial A-4L modification, which included an up-rated J65 engine, relocation of avionics gear, and installation of wing-lift spoilers, was accomplished at the Douglas factory.  Thereafter, modificatons were accomplished via Douglas-manufactured kits installed at Naval Aviation Repair Facilities.

  • The first A-4L flew on August 21, 1969 and delivery to Reserve units began in December of that year.

    A-4L Skyhawk BuNos:
    145065; 145076; 145077; 145078; 145092; 145101; 145103; 145114; 145117; 145119;
    145121; 145122; 145128; 145133; 145141; 147669; 147671; 147690; 147703; 147706;
    147708; 147717; 147723; 147727; 147736; 147750; 147754; 147761; 147768; 147772;
    147780; 147782; 147787; 147793; 147796; 147798; 147802; 147807; 147815; 147825;
    147827; 147836; 147843; 148306; 148307; 148316; 148436; 148446; 148453; 148479;
    148487; 148490; 148498; 148505; 148530; 148538; 148555; 148578; 148581; 148586;
    148588; 148600; 148602; 148611; 149497; 149500; 149502; 149506; 149508; 149516;
    149518; 149531; 149532; 149536; 149539; 149540; 149551; 149555; 149556; 149569;
    149573; 149579; 149583; 149591; 149593; 149594; 149604; 149607; 149608; 149620;
    149623; 149626; 149630; 149633; 149635; 149640; 149646; 150586; 150593; 150598.


A4D-4


Photo from Vatche Mitilian

The 1958 proposal for the A4D-4 was cancelled in the project design stage. It was a proposal for a long range all weather aircraft for delivery of a special weapons load at low atitudes. It incorporated a swept wing design, with two "Whitcomb Bodies" to reduce drag. Wingspan would have been 10ft., and would have incorporated a folding wing. The design included seven hardpoints. It never made it past the drawing board stage.


A4D-5 (A-4E)



  • In February 1959, Douglas submitted a proposal for an A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk as a follow-on to the A4D-2N (A-4C).  Proposed improvements included installation of the lighter weight, 8,500 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P6A engine; re-design of the fuselage center section and inlet ducting; addition of two wing station "hard points" for increased weapons-carrying; increased airframe strength; and navigation and bombing systems upgrades.

  • Initially, conversion of two A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawks was authorized. The first A4D-5 (A-4E) flight took place on July 12, 1961 and a production contract for an additonal 498 was approved shortly thereafter.

  • Delivery of A-4E Skyhawks began in January 1963.

  • Some A-4Es were subsequently retro-fitted with the 9,300 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A engines and the upper fuselage "hump back" avionics pod characteristic of the later A-4F model. (AFC-325)

  • Eight new A-4Es (and two TA-4Es) were sold for use in the Royal Australian Navy, delivered in 1967.

  • A-4E BuNo 152101 was converted to the prototype A-4F.

  • A total of 499 A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawks were manufactured.

    A4D-5 (A-4E) BuNos
    148613 - 148614    (2)
    149647 - 149666   (20)
    149959 - 150138  (180)
    151022 - 151201  (180)
    151984 - 152100  (117)


A4D-6




1963 proposal for engine and airframe improvements utilizing the new FT-30 engine, none built. Douglas had submited an earlier proposal known internally as the A4D-6, or A-4F (not to be confused with the later produced A-4F). This proposal was re-worked to reflect the requirements for the "VAL" competition requirements. The A4D-6 lost the VAL (light attack) competition to the Vought A-7 Corsair II.


A-4F



  • Ordered in 1965, the A-4F was similar to the A-4E, but with addition of nose wheel steering, wing lift spoilers, and the upgraded Escapac 1-C3 ejection seat.
  • The first A-4F flight (converted A-4E, BuNo 152101) took place on August 31, 1966, and fleet deliveries began in early 1967.
  • A unique recognition feature that first appeared on the A-4F was the "bent" aerial fueling probe.  The probe was so configured to preclude electronic inteference with the wide-angle target acquisition system.
  • The characteristic avionics pod "humpback" configuration was added to the A-4F after fleet deliveries began. The upper fuselage location was selected because there was no convienently accessible internal fuselage space available for add-ons.  (The humpback pod eventually was retro-fitted to all operational A-4Es and some A-4Cs.)
  • Also subsequent to fleet delivery, 100 A-4Fs were retro-fitted with the 11,200 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 engine.  The resultant improved performance was a principal reason the A-4F was selected for use by the Blue Angels (see below).
  • In 1969, two A-4F airframes (BuNos 155042 and 155049) were reworked into the A-4M configuration for flight test purposes (see below).
  • In 1971, eight A-4Fs (BuNos 155051, 155052, 155055, and 155060 - 155064) were redesignated A-4G and sold for use with the Royal Australian Navy.
  • Beginning in 1973, 18 A-4Fs were specially reconfigured for use by the Blue Angels (see below).
  • A total of 147 A-4F Skyhawks were manufactured.

    A-4F BuNos:
    152101 (Converted A-4E)    (1)
    154172 - 154217   (46)
    154970 - 155069  (100)



A-4M (Skyhawk II)


  • For flight test purposes, two A-4Fs (BuNos 155042 & 155049) were re-worked into A-4M configuration.

  • Designed specifically for use by the U.S. Marine Corps, the A-4M improvements included the 11,200 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 engine; a smokeless burner can; a larger, increased-visibility canopy; a ribbon-type drag chute; and a repositioned IFF antenna atop a squared-off vertical fin.

  • With Douglas test pilot Walt Harper at the controls, the first A-4M flight took place on April 10, 1970, at the Douglas Palmdale, California facility.

  • Fleet introduction began on February 26, 1971, to VMA-324 at MCAS Yuma, AZ.

  • Note on last 24: "I suggested to Ev Alvarez at a model manager meeting in 1978 that the last production series of 24 A-4Ms with the increased TO/landing/trap weights, Laser Maverick and the Angle Rate Bombing System plus Sidewinder should be re-designated A-4Ys. I was pulled out of the trunk of a black limo that night and sent back to NWC wrapped in duct tape. The HQMC/OPNAV AV-8B mafia was ruthless in championing their new aircraft funding!" Jigger.

  • Subsequent improvements in a majority of the A-4Ms included "head-up" cockpit instrumentation; integrated weapons display & delivery systems; "laser spot" target acquisition & tracking; advanced ECM & defensive ECM; and a new electrical generator.

  • In 1994, Argentina purchased 36 surplus A-4Ms (see below).

  • A total of 158 A-4M Skyhawks were built. the last of the 2,960 Skyhawks manufactured was delivered to the fleet on February 27, 1979.

    A-4M BuNos
    158148 - 158196  (49)
    158412 - 158435  (24)
    159470 - 159493  (24)
    159778 - 159790  (13)
    160022 - 160045  (24)
    160241 - 160264  (24)


TA-4E

  • To meet training needs and to release single-seat airframes for needed use in the Vetnam War, in 1964 the Skyhawk contract was modified to permit construction of a two-seat version.

  • Two incomplete airframes, BuNos 152102 and 152103, were taken off the A-4E production line and designated as TA-4E prototypes.

  • To allow for a second cockpit, and necessary controls and instrumentation, a 28-inch "plug" was constructed to lengthen the fuselage.

  • The Pratt & Whitney 9,300 lb thrust J52 engine was selected to power the "T" version.  Other modifications included Escapac 1C-3 ejection seats; wing lift spoilers; and nose wheel steering.

  • An initial "show" version of the TA-4E, consisting of a wooden mock-up forward fuselage mounted on a single-seat airframe, was displayed at the 1965 Paris Air Show to generate interest in an export production.

  • The first TA-4E flight occured on June 30, 1965.  Shortly thereafter, the TA-4E version was redesignated TA-4F.


TA-4F


  • The TA-4F became operational in May 1966, assigned to the Pacific Fleet replacement training squadron, VA-125, at NAS Lemoore, CA.

  • Twenty-three TA-4Fs were converted to the OA-4M designation for FastFAC (Fast Forward Air Controller) missions in the Vietnam War.  Basically, the OA-4M was a TA-4F equipped with A-4M electronics.

  • Four TA-4Fs, redesignated EA-4F, were equipped with sophisticated electronic equipment for fleet training.

  • Most other TA-4Fs eventually were converted for training purposes and redesignated TA-4J (see below).

  • A total of 241 TA-4Fs were produced.

    TA-4F BuNos
    152102 - 152103   (2)
    152846 - 152878  (33)
    153459 - 153531  (73)
    153660 - 153690  (31)
    154287 - 154343  (57)
    154614 - 154657  (44)


    OA-4M BuNos (Converted from TA-4F)
    152856, 152874, 153507, 153510, 153527, 153529, 153531, 154294,
    154306, 154307, 154328, 154333, 154335, 154336, 154340, 154623,
    154624, 154628, 154630, 154633, 154638, 154645, 154651
    (Some OA-4M BuNos were eventally sold to Argentina.)

    EA-4F BuNos (Converted from TA-4F)
    152852, 152869, 153481, 154655


    Known TA-4F BuNos converted to TA-4J configuration
    152103, 152847-152850, 12853-152855, 152858-152859, 152861-152864, 152867-152868, 152870-152872, 152875, 152878, 153409, 153460-153469, 153471, 153473-153479, 153482, 153486, 153490, 153492, 153495-153498, 153500, 153502, 153512-153513, 153515-153518, 153521-153522, 153524-153526, 153528, 153530, 153661-153664, 153667, 13669-153672, 153674-153681, 153683-153685, 153687-153690, 154287-154293, 154295-154300, 154303, 154305, 154310, 154312-154315, 154317-154319, 154322-154323, 154327, 154330, 154332, 154338, 154341-154343, 154614-154619, 154626, 154631-154632, 154634-154636, 154649-154650, 154653, 154656-154657.


TA-4J

  • In 1968, a contract was let to produce the TA-4J, a trainer version of the TA-4F.

  • The TA-4J differed from the TA-4F through the removal of the tactical weapons system and aerial tanker components, and utilization of the J52-P6 engine instead of the higher-rated J52-P8.

  • The TA-4J first flew on December 17, 1968 and first entered operational service in mid-1969, assigned to training squadron VT-17 at NAS Kingsvlle, TX.

  • Later, TA-4J deliveries were supplemented by conversion of numerous TA-4Fs to the "J" designation through removal of ordnance system components.

  • A total of 281 TA-4Js were built.

    TA-4J BuNos
    155070
    155072 - 155119  (48)
    156891 - 156950  (60)
    158073 - 158147  (75)
    158453 - 158527  (75)
    158712 - 158623  (12)
    159099 - 159104    (6)
    159795 - 159798    (4)


Argentine Air Force A-4P and A-4AR (All previous owned)


  • In 1965, Argentina contracted to purchase 50 surplus U.S. Navy A-4B Skyhawks for the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, or FAA).

  • After the aircraft were reworked at the Douglas facility in Tulsa, OK, they were redesignated A-4P "Caza" (Hunter).  Twenty-five A-4B/A-4Ps were delivered to the FAA in 1966 and another 25 (A-4B/A-4P) were delivered in 1970.   Argentina also purchased four A-4Bs (BuNos 144894, 144932, 145017, and 145053) for FAA non-operational use as spare parts sources. In Argentina, these aircraft will simply known as "Bravos".

  • In 1975, Argentina purchased an additional 25 A-4C Skyhawks for the FAA.

  • In 1994, Argentina contracted to purchase 36 surplus A-4M Skyhawks, to include engine refurbishments, rewiring, and avionics upgrades.  Delivery of the refurbished aircraft, redesignated A-4AR Fightinghawks, began 1997.


Argentina Navy A-4Q (All previous owned)


  • CANA (Commando Aviacion Naval Argentina) purchased A-4B Skyhawks in 1971. These A-4B were reworked at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Argentina designated these reworked airframes A-4Q. CANA assigned numbers 0654 through 0669 to its 16 A-4Q aircraft, the numbers being painted on the vertical stabilizer. In addition radio call signs of 3-A-301 through 3-A-314 were painted on both sides of the mid-fuselage.


Australia A-4G


  • In 1966, construction was begun on eight new single-seat and two two-seat Skyhawks, for use by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).  Patterned after the A-4F and TA-4F, the RAN Skyhawks were designated A-4G and TA-4G and were optimimized for an air defense role (Sidewinder air-to-air missile capability).  Other features included the J52-P8A engine, nose wheel steering, wing spoilers, and the Escapac 1-C3 ejection seat.

  • The first A-4G flight was made on July 19, 1967 by Douglas test pilot Jim Stegman, who also made the first TA-4G test flight two days later.

  • Delivery of the first 10 aircraft (two TA-4Gs and eight A-4Gs) began on July 26, 1967.  Ten more Skyhawks (two TA-4Fs and eight A-4Fs), modified to "G" configuration, were delivered to the RAN in 1970.

  • In 1984, ten surviving Australian Skyhawks were sold to New Zealand (see below).

    A-4G RAN# = BuNo (1967 Delivery)
    882 = 154903, 883 = 154904, 884 = 154905, 885 = 154906,
    886 = 154907, 887 = 154908, 888 = 154909, 889 = 154910

    TA-4G RAN# = BuNo (1967 Delivery)
    880 = 154911, 881 = 154912

    A-4F/A-4G RAN# = BuNo (1970 Delivery)
    870 = 155051, 871 = 155052, 872 = 155055, 873 = 155060,
    874 = 155061, 875 = 155062, 876 = 155063, 877 = 155069

    TA-4F/TA-4G RAN# = BuNo (1970 Delivery)
    878 = 154647, 879 = 154648


Brazil -- A-4KU / AF-1 (All previous owned)


  • In 1997, Brazil purchased 23 surviving Kuwaiti (q.v.) Skyhawks (20 A-4KU, three TA-4KU).  Redesignated AF-1 and AF-1A, respectively, the aircraft were delivered to Brazil in 1998 and, after extensive upgrading, became operational with the Brazilian navy in early 2001.


Israel A-4H and A-4N


  • In August 1966, Israel contracted to purchase 48 modified A-4F Skyhawks, redesignated A-4H.  By 1968, the A-4H contract was expanded to 90 airframes.

  • The A-4H configuration included removal of the avionics "humpback," and installation of a modified IFF system and a drag chute.  After delivery to Israel, 20-mm cannons were replaced with 30-mm cannons.

  • In addition to the single-seat A-4H, 25 two-seat TA-4H (modified TA-4J) Skyhawks were delivered to Israel between 1969 and 1975.

  • As the result of heavy Israeli aircraft losses during the 1973 "Yom Kippur" war, 46 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps A-4Es were transferred to Israel, most of which were subsequently upgraded to the A-4H configuration.

  • Between 1972 and 1976, 117 specially modified A-4M Skyhawks, designated A-4N, were delivered to Israel.  The A-4N variant was equipped with the uprated Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 engine, two 30-mm cannons, head-up display, and state-of-the-art weapons and anti-missile defense systems.

  • Israel eventually transferred 33 of its Skyhawks to Indonesia.

  • A total of 232 new "H" and "N" Skyhawks were delivered to Israel.

    155242 - 155289 (48)
    157395 - 157428 (34)
    157918 - 157925  (8)

    Israeli 25 TA-4H BuNos
    157429 - 157434  (6)
    157926 - 157929  (4)
    159546 - 159556 (11)

    Israeli 117 A-4N BuNos
    158726 - 158743 (18)
    159035 - 159052 (18)
    159075 - 159098 (24)
    159515 - 159545 (31)
    159799 - 159824 (26)

    Israeli A-4E BuNos
    A undetermined number of U.S.N. A-4E aircraft were sold to Israel to replace combat loses. Believed to be aprox. 46. See Indonesia below for the 31 "Echos" sold to them.


Indonesia A-4E, TA-4H and TA-4J (All previous owned)


  • 1980: November 1979 Indonesia purchased 14 A-4E and two TA-4H Skyhawks from Israel, delivery began in 1980. A-4E/TA-4H side numbers 0401-0416 (16)
  • 1981: One Israeli A-4E transferred to replace lost Indonesia Skyhawk. (0417)
  • 1982: 16 A-4E Israeli Skyhawks transferred to Indonesia. Side numbers assigned 0431-0446 (16)
  • 1999: Two TA-4J BuNo 154315 and 154454
  • 1999: Total Skyhawks delivered to Indonesia equals 35 aircraft, see Indonesia unit pages.


Kuwait A-4KU


  • In late 1974, Kuwait contracted to purchase 36 Skyhawks, 30 single-seat airframes designted A-4KU, and six dual cockpit TA-4KUs.

  • Basically, the A-4KU was an A-4M, with specially tailored communications equipment, but lacking nuclear weapon delivery, Shrike and Walleye missile, and ECM components.

  • The TA-4KU was a TA-4J with a 11,200 lb thrust Pratt and Whitney J52-P408 engine. The Kuwaiti two-seaters were the only "T" Skyhawks manufactured with that engine installed.

  • The A-4KU first flew on July 20, 1976, the TA-KU on December 14, 1976, and all 36 aircraft were ferried to Kuwait in 1977-1978.

  • After the 1991 Desert Storm war, the Kuwaiti Skyhawks were retired from service, but stored in near-pristine condition, and eventually sold to Brazil (see above).

    Kuwaiti # = BuNos
    A-4KU:   801 - 830 = 160180 - 160209 (30)
    TA-4KU: 881 - 886 = 160210 - 160215  (6)

Malaysia A-4PTM (All previous owned)


  • In 1980, Malaysia purchased 88 surplus Skyhawks airframes for refurbishment, redesignated as A-4PTM (Peculiar To Malaysia), and assignment to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).  However, inflationary costs eventually reduced the buy to 40 airframes.

  • Upgrading of the A-4PTMs by the Grumman Aerospace facility at St. Augustine, FL, included rewiring; addition of two ordnance wing stations; rework of the J65 engines; and installation of improved avionics and ordnance gear, the enlarged A-4M canopy, and a drag chute.

  • An undetermined number of the single-seat PTM Skyhawks were rebuilt into two-seat TA-4PTM configuration similar to the TA-4.

  • The PTM Skyhawks were delivered to the RMAF in late 1985 and early 1986, and had a relatively short service life.  Except for six TA-4PTMs retained for aerial tanker duty, the Maylasian Skyhawks were all retired by SEP 1999.

  • All Malaysia Skyhawks were former U.S.N. A-4C and A-4L models.


New Zealand A-4K and TA-4K


  • Fourteen Skyhawks (10 single seat and four "T" birds), designated A-4K and TA-4K, were ordered by New Zealand in July 1969.

  • The Kiwi Skyhawks essentially were A-4F airframes, inluding the "hump back" avionics package and modified to include drag chutes, APX-72 IFF antennae, and Sidewinder air-to-air missile capability.

  • The A-4K first flew in September 1969 and all 14 aircraft were delivered to New Zealand in 1970.

  • In 1984, New Zealand purchased 10 Australian Skyhawks (eight A-4G, two TA-4G).

  • From 1985 to 1989, New Zealand conducted a major Skyhawk upgrade program that included installation of "glass" cockpits, HUDs (Head Up Displays), new acquisition/tracking radars and navigation systems; removal of the avionics "hump"; re-sparring of the wing; and improved landing gear and control surfaces.

  • New Zealand Skyhawks were retired from service in 2001.

    A-4K/TA-4K NZ# = BuNos
    A-4K:   6201 - 6210 = 157904 - 157913
    TA-4K: 6251 - 6254 = 157914 - 157917
    A-4G/TA-4G NZ# = BuNos
    A-4G:   6211 = 154903, 6212 = 154904, 6213 = 154905, 6214 = 154908,
        6215 = 155052, 6216 = 155061, 6217 = 155062, 6218 = 155063
    TA-4G: 6255 = 154910, 6256 = 154911


Singapore A-4S/A-4SU (All previous owned)


  • In 1972, Singapore purchased 40 surplus U.S. A-4B airframes, designated A-4S, for use by the Royal Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

  • Refurbishment of the first eight A-4S Skyhawks, by Lockheed Air Services in the U.S., included installation of the 8400 lb thrust Curtiss J65-W-20 engine; wing lift spoilers; 30-mm cannons; state-of-the-art optical gunsight, communications equipment, and Sidewinder air-to-air missile capability; and two additional ordnance wing stations.  The remaining 32 A-4S airframes were shipped to and upgraded in Singapore.

  • The A-4S first flew on July 14, 1973.

  • A-4B (A-4S) Known Sold to Singapore:
    Total 56 (40 in 1972 and 16 more in 1980). See the Singapore Unit pages for BuNos.

  • Singapore's TA-4 variants were unique. To maintain engine commonality, A-4S airframes were given an new, 28 inch longer, cockpit section to provide room for a second cockpit. However, rather than using the single canopy characteristic of other "T" birds, each TA-4S cockpit had a separate canopy. The second canopy had a more "bubble" appearance than the front canopy. Singapore was thus able to avoid the requirement of a second type of engine for their trainers because the standard TA-4 used the J-52 rather than the A-4S J-65 engine.

  • In 1980, Singapore purchased an additional 86 Skyhawks from U.S. suplus (70 A-4Cs, 16 A-4Bs).

  • From 1984 to 1989, the RSAF conducted a Skyhawk service life extension program.  Many of the A-4S airframes were extensively re-built and modernized.  Redesignated A-4SU (SUper), upgrading included replacement of J65 engines with the 11,000 lb thrust F404-GE-100D; new refrigeration, hydraulic pump, air turbine starter, electrical power, and oil cooler systems; new sensors, cockpit instrumentation, state-of-the-art avionics; and improved air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance carrying and control capability.
    The re-engineered A-4SU "Super Skyhawks" became operational in 1988.

  • All Singapore Skyhawks were former U.S.N A-4B and A-4C models.




Single-Seat Skyhawks Produced:    2,405
"T" Version Skyhawks Produced:       555
Grand Total Skyhawks Produced:   2,960



page | by Dr. Radut