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A-4 Skyhawk 60th Anniversary | Photos

International Skyhawks

The little Douglas A-4 Skyhawk first flew on June 22, 1954, and was originally designed to carry a single tactical nuclear weapon from the deck of an aircraft carrier to its target, not necessarily to return to its carrier. The Skyhawk was so right that it was easily adapted to take on other roles, and in fact Skyhawks are still in service today. Skyhawks formed the backbone of Navy light attack squadrons during the Vietnam War, and later versions flew as trainers and aggressor aircraft, in the latter role into the 21st century in U.S. service. A total of 2,960 were built, most serving with the Navy and Marine Corps, but 770 A-4s served with other air arms. The Skyhawk’s diminutive size, light weight, and simplicity made it attractive both to nations employing smaller British World War II-built carriers as well as those who wanted a reliable, high-performance fighter bomber to operate from land bases. In addition to the United States, four foreign nations (Argentina, Indonesia, Israel, and Kuwait) flew the Skyhawk in combat, where it acquitted itself well.


Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...