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Artifact Friday: A-4 Skyhawk

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Happy Black Friday everyone! It is the day when Americans find great deals on store items nationwide!

So in honor of the deals of the day, we are presenting one of the

coolest "deals" the Navy received on a jet aircraft.

In the 1950s, the jet age changed the face of the U.S. military, creating a need for new aircraft to replace older aircraft such as the Navy’s A-1 Skyraider.

The U.S. Navy put out bids for the design of a new jet carrier aircraft, and Douglas Aircraft Company won. Their design was smaller, lighter, and faster than the previous aircraft developed by this company.

It maximized speed while minimizing size which created a unique airplane that was perfect for landing on aircraft carriers.

It has a delta-wing shape, tricycle landing gear, and was powered by one Turbojet engine. It's unique shape and size earned it many nicknames including the "Tinker Toy Bomber", the "Scooter", and the "Kiddiecar".

The A-4 Skyhawk first flew in June 1952, and it entered Navy and Marine service two years later. The first aircraft served with VA-72 and VMA-224 respectively.

The A-4 Skyhawk was the Navy and Marine Corps’ main heavy attack aircraft carrying out some of the first strikes of the Vietnam War.

They served until the A-7 Corsair II took over for the light attack role in 1967.

The Navy cycled out A-4s completely in the late 1970s, but the Marine Corps did not want to use the Navy’s A-7 Corsair II and instead kept the A-4 for their missions.

A-4 Skyhawks retired officially from active duty on all fronts in 2003.

Our Skyhawk is on display in “Jet Alley” close to the edge of the museum. It holds a place of recognition with our other jets including the A-7 II “Corsair”, the T-2 “Buckeye”, and the T-33 “Shooting Star”.

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