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A-4 Skyhawk

The Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk is a lightweight, single engine attack aircraft. The mission of an A-4 attack squadron is to attack and to destroy surface targets in support of the landing force commander, escort helicopters, and conduct other operations as directed. Developed in the early 1950s, the A-4 Skyhawk was originally designated the A-4D as a lightweight, daylight only nuclear capable strike aircraft for use in large numbers from aircraft carriers. There are numerous models of the A-4 in use. The A-4M and the TA-4F are currently used by Marine Corps Reserve squadrons. All models have two internally mounted 20mm (.8 inch) cannons, and are capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons under day and night visual meteorological conditions. The A-4M uses a heads-up display and computer aided delivery of its bomb load with the angle rate bombing system. The Marine Reserve has two squadrons of A-4s with 12 aircraft each. Additionally, each squadron has two TA-4 aircraft.


  • Cantilever Low Wing Monoplane, with 33 degree swept back wings
  • Single seat, high performance, light attack and ground support aircraft
  • Outstanding low speed control and stability during takeoff and landing
  • Wingspan: 26 ft 6 in
  • Length (excluding IFR Probe): 40 ft 3-1/4 in
  • Height: 15 ft
  • Deliveries began in November 1962
  • 765 A-4 aircraft worldwide.
  • Pound for pound, the A-4 aircraft is one of the most effective and versatile light attack aircraft produced.
  • The Skyhawk is 34 years old; yet export models are still highly regarded and undergoing modern avionics, weapons, and engine upgrades to maintain their flying prowess into the next century.
  • Contractor: McDonnell Douglas
    Power Plant:
  • Single, Pratt & Whitney, J-52-P-408A non-afterburning, turbojet engine that develops 11,220 pounds of thrust
  • Accommodations: One pilot
  • Maximum speed: 586 knots (with a 4,000 pound bomb load)
  • Initial climb rate: 8,440 ft/min
  • Maximum ferry range: 2,000 nautical miles
  • Countermeasures: Not applicable
  • Mounts two 20 mm guns internal to the wing structure
  • Has one fuselage and four wing racks and carries a variety of external stores.
  • May be provisioned for Sidewinder, Shrike, and Walleye missiles and 1,000 pound bombs.
  • Mission and Capabilities:
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 24,500 pounds
  • Six "G" load maximum
  • Fuel capacity of both wing and fuselage internal and three external tanks: 1,800 U.S. gallons
  • Typical dry weight: 10,465 pounds
  • Primary avionics systems include: UHF-ARC-159, VHF-ARC-114, RAD/ALT-APN-194, TACAN-ARN-118, ILS/VOR-ARA-63/ARN-14, CHAFF-ALE-39, IFF-APX-72, RADAR-APG-53-A, Secure Comm-KY28/58, AN/ALQ-126, Countermeasures AN/ALQ-162, HUD AN/AVQ-24 and Navigational Computer AN/ASN-41.
  • External Dimensions

    Wing span 8.38m        
    Wing span over missiles         
    Wing chord at root 4.72m        
    Wing chord at tip         
    Wing aspect ratio         
    Width, wings folded         
    Length overall 12.29m        
    Height overall 4.57m        
    Tailplane span 3.45m        
    Distance between fin tips         
    Wheel track 2.37m        


    Wings, gross 24.16m2        
    Ailerons (total)         
    Leading-edge flaps (total)         
    Trailing-edge flaps (total)         
    Vert Tail Services (total) 4.65m2        
    Horz Tail Services (total) 4.54m2        
    Tailerons (total)         

    Weights and Loadings

    Weight empty 4,899kg        
    Maximum fuel weight
    Internal (JP5)
    External: (JP5)
    Maximum external stores load         
    Take off weight (normal) 11,113kg
    Fighter mission
    Attack mission
    Maximum wing loading (attack mission)         

    Performance (At Maximum Takeoff Weight)

    Max level speed 561 knots        
    Max speed, intermediate power         
    Approach speed         
    Acceleration from 460 knots to 920 knots
    at 10,670 m
    Combat ceiling         
    T-O run @ 23,000lbs take-off weight 832m        
    Minimum wind over deck:
    Combat Radius (km) 575 KM
    Combat radius, interdiction, hi-lo-lo-hi         
    Combat endurance, CAP 150 nm
    from aircraft carrier
    Ferry range, unrefueled 1,740nm      

    VRML 3-D Model

    A-4F Skyhawk
    VRML by Soji Yamakawa

    Sources and Resources

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    Maintained by Robert Sherman
    Originally created by John Pike
    Updated Thursday, December 24, 1998 7:07:20 AM