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TA-4J Skyhawk aka “The Scooter”, “Heinemman’s Hot-Rod”

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was designed as single-seat subsonic carrier-capable light attack aircraft, developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s. The delta-winged, single turbojet engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy’s pre-1962 designation system. The Skyhawk is a relatively lightweight aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg), and has a top speed of 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h). The aircraft’s five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs, and other munitions. It is capable of carrying a bomb load equivalent to that of a World War II-era Boeing B-17 bomber and can deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system and a “loft” delivery technique. The A-4 was originally powered by the Wright J65 turbojet engine; from the A-4E onwards, the Pratt & Whitney J52 engine was used.

Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Sixty years after the aircraft’s first flight in 1954, some of the 2,960 produced (through February 1979) remain in service with the Argentine Air Force and the Brazilian Naval Aviation. The example you see in front of you is the 2-seat training version, this replaced the TF-9J Cougar, known as the TA-4J. The TA-4J served as the advanced jet trainer in white and orange markings for decades until being replaced by the T-45 Goshawk. Additional TA-4Js were assigned to Instrument Training squadrons at all the Navy master jet bases under RCVW-12 and RCVW-4. The Instrument squadrons initially provided jet transition training for Naval Aviators during the time period when Naval Aviation still had a great number of propeller-driven aircraft and also provided annual instrument training and check rides for Naval Aviators. The Paint scheme on our TA-4J of you is that of the Blue Angels the US Navy Jet Demonstration team – The A-4’s nimble performance also made it suitable to replace the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II when the Navy downsized its aircraft for the Blue Angels demonstration team until McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets were available in the 1980s.

TA-4J SKyhawk


Dimensions & Capacity

Crew: 2 Pilot & Instructor
Length: 40 ft 1.5 in (12.230 m)
Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
Empty Weight: 9,853 lb (4,469 kg)
Max Take Off Weight: 24,500 lb (11,113 kg)


Speed: 585 kn (673 mph, 1,083 km/h) at sea level
Range: 1,008 nmi (1,160 mi, 1,867 km)


Guns: 2× 20 mm (0.79 in) Colt Mk 12 cannon, 100 rounds/gun
Hardpoints: 4× under-wing & 1× under-fuselage pylon stations with a capacity of 8,500 lb (3,900 kg),with provisions to carry combinations of:

Rockets: 4× LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× 127 mm Mk 32 Zuni rockets)


  • 6× Rockeye-II Mark 20 Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU)
  • 6× Rockeye Mark 7/APAM-59 CBU
  • Mark 80 series of unguided bombs (including 3 kg and 14 kg practice bombs)
  • B43 nuclear bomb
  • B57 nuclear bomb
  • B61 nuclear bomb

Other: up to 3× 370 US gallons (1,400 L) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight/extended range/loitering time


  • Air-to-air missiles:
  • 4× AIM-9 Sidewinder
  • Air-to-surface missiles:
  • 2× AGM-12 Bullpup
  • 2× AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile
  • 2× AGM-62 Walleye TV-guided glide bomb
  • 2× AGM-65 Maverick

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