List of A-4 Skyhawk operators

List of A-4 Skyhawk operators

The List of A-4 Skyhawk operators lists the counties and their air force units that have operated the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk:

Military operators


;Argentine Air Force
* 50 A-4P (ex A-4B US Navy ) V Air Brigade, Argentine Air Force
* 25 A-4C (ex US Navy) IV Air Brigade, Argentine Air Force
* 36 A-4AR (ex A-4M US Marine Corps) V Air Brigade, Argentine Air Force

;Argentine Navy
* 16 A-4Q (ex A-4B US Navy) 3rd Fighter/Attack Squadron, Argentine Navy
* unknown number of A-4E, TA-4J and A-4M as spare parts


;Royal Australian NavyAustralia ordered ten A-4G Skyhawks in October 1965 to replace all of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm's de Havilland Venom fighters which operated from HMAS "Melbourne", the Royal Australian Navy's only active carrier. The Australian incorporated modifications such as being fitted to carry four AIM-9 Sidewinder heat seeking air-to-air missiles, the Skyhawk was purchased primarily for fleet air defence duties when embarked aboard the small World War II -surplus light carrier "Melbourne "which could not operate other larger fighters of the era. These aircraft retained the strike capabilities of its US counterparts and could carry 250lb or 500lb bombs, 2.75in or 5in rocket pods and other stores for use in the maritime strike, close air support, or fleet defense roles. Changes were also made to the avionics fit and the aircraft did not have the A-4F's dorsal "hump."Wilson 1993, p. 151.]

The first two Australian A-4Gs were handed over to the Royal Australian Navy on 26 July 1967 with all ten aircraft transported to Australia from the United States onboard HMAS "Melbourne" in November 1967. An order for a further eight A4-Gs and two TA-4Gs was placed in March 1970. These aircraft were former USN A-4Fs and TA-4Fs and were modified to A/TA-4G standard and arrived in Australia in August 1971 onboard the troop transport HMAS "Sydney". All of the A-4Gs operated from HMAS "Melbourne" and were based at the naval air station HMAS "Albatross". The TA-4Gs could not be operated from "Melbourne" as the carrier was too small to enable them to be safely operated. The Australian Skyhawks were gradually withdrawn from service from 1982 after HMAS "Melbourne" was decommissioned without being replaced in June 1982; the last flight took place on 30 June 1984. [Wilson 1993, p. 171-172.]

Two Fleet Air Arm squadrons were equipped with A-4Gs:
* 805 Squadron [] (Eight A-4G and briefly two TA-4G, followed by a total of ten ex-USN A-4F and TA-4F modified to G standard. Withdrawn from use 1983). Ten aircraft lost in crashes. During the A-4G Skyhawk era the Squadron was designated VF-805 conforming with USN squadron designations. The 'VF' signaled the Fleet Defense role of the Skyhawk. V=Fixed Wing, F=Fighter. Over the life of the aircraft there were a number of different squadron aircraft paint schemes.Wilson 1993, p. 161.]
* VC-724 Squadron (six A-4G plus 4 TA-4G, withdrawn from use 1982). This squadron was the Skyhawk Operational Flying School where pilots were converted to the A-4G and learned the necessary operational skills. When VF-805 ceased flying A-4Gs, its aircraft were reassigned to VC-724 squadron.

Following the withdrawal of the A-4G from Australian service, eight surviving A-4G and two TA-4Gs were sold to New Zealand's Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1984 and were subsequently upgraded to A-4K specifications and later with the RNZAF "Kahu" program, with HOTAS, Maverick missile capability, and glass cockpit. Ironically, the RAN paid for some of the New Zealand aircraft to undertake target towing and maritime strike training roles. [Wilson 1993, p. 174-176.]

A TA-4B model [a single seat airframe, the same physically as an A-4B] , altered to appear like the A-4G models used by VF-805 squadron, has been loaned to [ Australia's Museum of Flight] at HMAS "Albatross" [NAS Nowra] by the US Department of Navy.


;Brazilian Navy
* 20 AF-1 (ex-A-4KU) for use with aircraft carrier NAeL "São Paulo" for training purposes and combat.
* Three AF-1A (ex-TA-4KU)


;Indonesian Air ForceIndonesia had used 33 A-4E/TA-4E Skyhawk II (ex-Israeli Air Force) until 2003. The first prototype was flying at 5 May 1980 from Halim Perdana Kusuma AFB, Jakarta. The aircraft were transport from Eliat(Israel) as part of Alpha Project in 1980. The aircraft were completely shipping through sea in 23 months. In service until 2003 they were replaced by two Russian Su-27SK and two Su-30MK. However, the Indonesian Air Force is planning to reactivate the A-4 Skyhawks by buying spare parts, after USA ended its weapons and spare part sales embargo. The aircraft made its final flight on 5 August 2005 from Makassar (Sulawesi) to Madiun (Java).


;Israeli Air ForceThe Israeli Air Force once operated several squadrons of A-4s. Besides carrying out most of the hazardous bombing missions, one shot down a Syrian MiG-17 with unguided Air-to-Ground rockets. An A-4 was also involved in an unusual midair collision with an F-15 Eagle in 1983. The Eagle returned to base and landed despite losing its entire right wing while the A-4 was destroyed. Remaining aircraft are currently being used for pilot training.


;Kuwaiti Air ForceThe A-4KU survivors of Operation Desert Storm were replaced by F/A-18 Hornet and sold to Brazil.


;Royal Malaysian Air ForceThe Royal Malaysian Air Force acquired a total of 88 A-4C and A-4L aircraft, although only 40 were rebuilt to A-4PTM (Peculiar To Malaysia) standard, which included a new bombing computer, body refurbishments and wiring updates. The remaining 48 aircraft were stored for spare parts.These aircraft are stored at the Kuantan Air Force base / Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport on Malaysia's eastern coast.

The Skyhawk has been replaced in the attack role by the more sophisticated Boeing F/A-18D Night Strike Hornet (eight purchased), BAE Systems Hawk 200 (18 acquired) and BAE Systems Hawk 100 (ten acquired).


;Royal New Zealand Air Force
* No. 2 Squadron RNZAF
* No. 14 Squadron RNZAF - One A-4K and three TA-4Ks were allocated to No. 14 Squadron in the early 1970s for strike-conversion training.
* No. 75 Squadron RNZAF

Ten A-4K and four TA-4K were purchased by the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1969 as English Electric Canberra replacements, and shipped to New Zealand aboard an aircraft carrier in 1970. The A4K is broadly comparable to the A-4F and G, although featuring extra avionics in a dorsal "hump", as adopted by later A-4Fs, bent probe and drogue refuelling, and other minor changes. In 1984, ten ex-Australian A-4Gs were purchased. Under project KAHU, all aircraft updated to the A-4K Kahu standard, essentially by adopting the avionics from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, giving them the ability to use laser guided bombs, as well as AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles. Kahu is Māori for hawk [ [ Maori dictionary] ] . Miniaturization enabled the hump to be removed from the older New Zealand aircraft at the same time. The A-4Ks operated from Ohakea in New Zealand and Nowra in Australia equipped 2 and 75 Squadron RNZAF.

The survivors were retired in 2001, and were to be sold in 2005 to a private US flight training firm in a $150 million deal. However, this deal has been subject to delays from the US State department due to concerns about allowing a squadron of reasonably capable combat aircraft to be operated privately in the United States. The aircraft are currently being stored at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, just outside of Blenheim in the South Island. Two additional A-4Ks exist - one an ex-US early model brought up to the A-4K standard in the mid-1970s, solely for museum display; it is preserved at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum at Wigram, Christchurch. In 2001, another TA-4K Kahu was assembled in New Zealand entirely from spare parts, again for museum display; it is preserved at Ohakea. This is presumably the last "production" A-4. [ [ "New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials and Aircraft History" article at the "ADF serials" website] ] [ [ "Douglas A-4K/TA-4K Skyhawk for New Zealand" article by Joe Baugher] ] [ [ "Kiwi Skyhawk Operations and Squadrons" article at "The A-4 Alley" website] ]


;Republic of Singapore Air ForceIn total, around 150 airframes, all A-4Bs and Cs, were purchased by Singapore. The first batch joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1974. Some were modified in the late 1980s to A-4SU and TA-4SU standard with General Electric F404 engines and modernized avionics. All aircraft have since been scheduled for retirement, with a few used as training aircraft and the final four due for retirement in 2007.


Units that flew the A-4 before retirement:

United States Navy

*VA-12 [ [ VA-12 Flying Ubangis] ]
*VA-15 [ [ VA-15 Valions] ]
*VA-22 [ [ VA-22 Fighting Redcocks] ]
*VA-23 [ [ VA-23 Black Knights] ]
*VA-34 [ [ VA-34 Blue Blasters] ]
*VA-36 [ [ VA-36 Roadrunners] ]
*VA-43 [ [ VA-43 (VF-43) Challengers] ]
*VA-44 [ [ VA-44 (VF-44) Hornets] ]
*VA-45 [ [ VA-45 (VF-45) Blackbirds] ]
*VA-46 [ [ VA-46 Clansmen] ]
*VA-55 [ [ VA-55 Warhorses] ]
*VA-56 [ [ VA-56 Champions] ]
*VA-64 [ [ VA-64 Black Lancers] ]
*VA-66 [ [ VA-66 Waldos] ]
*VA-72 [ [ VA-72 Blue Hawks] ]
*VA-76 [ [ VA-76 Spirits] ]
*VA-81 [ [ VA-81 Sunliners] ]
*VA-83 [ [ VA-83 Rampagers] ]
*VA-86 [ [ VA-86 Sidewinders] ]
*VA-93 [ [ VA-93 Blue Blazers] ]
*VA-94 [ [ VA-94 Mighty Shrikes] ]
*VA-95 [ [ VA-95 Green Lizards] ]
*VA-106 [ [ VA-106 Gladiators] ]
*VA-112 [ [ VA-112 Broncos] ]
*VA-113 [ [ VA-113 Stingers] ]
*VA-125 [ [ VA-125 Rough Raiders] ]
*VA-126 [ [ VA-126 (VF-126) Bandits] ]
*VA-127 [ [ VA-127 (VF-127) Batmen] ]
*VA-133 [ [ VA-133 Blue Knights] ]
*VA-134 [ [ VA-134 Scorpions] ]
*VA-144 [ [ VA-144 Roadrunners] ]
*VA-146 [ [ VA-146 Blue Diamonds] ]
*VA-152 [ [ VA-152 Fighting Aces] ]
*VA-153 [ [ VA-153 Blue Tail Flies] ]
*VA-155 [ [ VA-155 Silver Fox] ]
*VA-163 [ [ VA-163 Saints] ]
*VA-164 [ [ VA-164 Ghost Riders] ]
*VA-172 [ [ VA-172 Blue Bolts] ]
*VA-192 [ [ VA-192 Golden Dragons] ]
*VA-195 [ [ VA-195 Dambusters] ]
*VA-212 [ [ VA-212 Rampant Raiders] ]
*VA-216 [ [ VA-216 Black Diamonds] ]
*VC-1 [ [ VC-1 Blue Alii (Warriors)] ]
*VC-2 [ [ VC-2 Falcons] ]
*VC-5 [ [ VC-5 Checkertails] ]
*VC-7 [ [ VC-7 Redtails] ]
*VC-8 [ [ VC-8 Redtails] ]
*VC-10 [ [ VC-10 Challengers] ]
*VC-12 [ [ VC-12 (VFC-12) Fighting Omars] ]
*VC-13 [ [ VC-13 (VFC-13) Saints] ]
*VF-171 [ [ VF-171 Aces (Detachment Key West)] ]
*VSF-1 [ [ VSF-1 Warhawks] ]
*VSF-3 [ [ VSF-3 Chessmen] ]
*VSF-76 [ [ VSF-76 Saints] ]
*VSF-86 [ [ VSF-86 Gators] ]
*VT-86 (NAS Pensacola through 1989)
*Navy Fighter Weapons School

United States Marine Corps

*VMA-124 Whistling Death
*VMA-131 Diamond Backs
*VMA-133 Dragons
*VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers (Now flying AV-8B Harrier II)
*VMA-214 Black Sheep (Now flying AV-8B Harrier II)
*VMA-223 Bulldogs (Now flying AV-8B Harrier II)
*VMA-225 Vagabonds (Now VMFA-225 operating the F/A-18 Hornet)
*VMA-311 Tomcats (Now flying AV-8B Harrier II)
*VMA-322 Fighting Gamecocks
*VMA-324 Devildogs
*VMA-331 Bumblebees
*H&MS-12 Outlaws (OA-4M)

United States Navy Reserve

* US Naval Air Reserve Squadrons at NAS Twin Cities, VA-811 and VA-813 also flew A-4A and A-4B aircraft 1963-69 or so.
* US Naval Air Reserve Squadrons at NAS Glenview, NAS Jacksonville, NAS Alameda, had A-4's.
* NAS Oceana VC(VFC)-12
* NAS Fallon VC(VFC)-13

Civilian operators


;Collings FoundationThe Massachusetts-based non-profit organization operates one ex-US Navy TA-4J "N524CF" (was BuNo 153524) as part of its "living history" flight program. It was acquired from AMARC in 2004, and is now based out of Houston, Texas. The organization offers licensed pilots the opportunity to purchase dual instruction time in the aircraft.


Related content

*A-4 Skyhawk
*A-4AR Fightinghawk
*A-4SU Super Skyhawk

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