Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was an American attack aircraft originally designed to operate from United States Navy aircraft carriers. The aircraft was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company (later McDonnell Douglas) and was originally designated the A4D under the US Navy's pre-1962 designation system. 

Fifty years after the first flight of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, and having played key roles in Vietnam, the Falklands and Yom Kippur wars, some of the nearly 3,000 Skyhawks produced remain in service with several air arms around the world, including active duty on a carrier.

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
Class Aircraft
Type Attack
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1954
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Douglas Aircraft Company 2960 View

Role Attack aircraft, fighter, aggressor aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
McDonnell Douglas
First flight 22 June 1954
Introduction October 1956
Retired 2003, U.S. Navy
1998, USMC
Status In service with non-U.S. users
Primary users United States Navy (historical)
United States Marine Corps(historical)
Israeli Air Force
Argentine Air Force
Produced 1954-1979
Number built 2960
Unit cost US$860,000 (average cost for first 500 units, 1950s)
Variants Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk
McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk
ST Aerospace A-4SU Super Skyhawk

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 ft (24.15 m)
  • 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 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A turbojet, 9,300 lbf (10,000+ USMC A-4M and OA-4M) (41 kN)


  • Maximum speed: 585 knots (673 mph, 1,077 km/h)
  • Range: 1,700 nm (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/ft (344.4 kg/m)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.51


  • Guns: 2 x 20 mm (0.787 in) Colt Mk 12 cannon, 100 rounds/gun
  • Missiles: 4 x AIM-9 Sidewinder
  • AGM-45 Shrike ARM (Anti-Radiation Missile), AGM-65 Maverick ASM (Air-to-Surface Missiles), AGM-62 Walleye Glide bomb, AGM-12 Bullpup ASM (Air-to-Surface Missiles), Rockeye Mk.20 Cluster Bomb Unit, Rockeye Mk.7/APAM-59 Cluster Bomb Unit, Mk.81 (250 lb) and Mk.82 (500 lb) free fall or retarded bombs, various tactical nuclear missiles and bombs, Mk.76 Practice Bombs\
  • Bombs: 9,900 lb (4,490 kg) on five external hardpoints

End notes