Douglas A-4C Skyhawk
Designed as a replacement for the propeller driven A-1 Skyraider, the Douglas A4 Skyhawk first flew in 1954, entered service with the US Navy in 1956 and served in the US for almost 50 years. Of the 3000 built many are still in service around the world today.
The A4 was designed as a simple, cheap and easy to maintain attack aircraft and saw service right through the Vietnam War. It is sometimes said that an A4 dropped the last bomb of that conflict.
The A4, while agile and nimble, was not intended to be used as a fighter and only one air-to-air victory was recorded in Vietnam when in May 1967, Lieutenant Commander Theodore R. Swartz of VA-76 shot down a MiG 17 using a Zuni unguided rocket.
The VAC A4 is a veteran of Vietnam, having served with VA-192 "Black Diamonds" where it was heavily damaged by AAA fire in 1965. Despite a 6' hole, the aircraft was safely brought home to the USS Bonhomme Richard by Lt Rick Milson, was repaired and continued to serve.
The A4 was used extensively by other air forces, most notably the Israeli and Argentine Air Forces. In the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, A4's saw hard fighting as the primary attack platform for the Israeli Air Force.
In 1982, the A4 went to war again during the Falklands Conflict, when Argentine A4's, operating at the extreme extent of their range, were used to attack the Royal Navy Task Force in San Carlos Water, pressing home bombing attacks on Royal Navy ships despite being low on fuel and 500 miles from the nearest base. While the A4's suffered heavy casualties they are credited with sinking and damaging several ships including HMS Coventry and HMS Antelope.
The VAC A4 was restored from the ground up by Skyhawk Ventures, first flying again on August 5th 2011. In January 2014 she joined the valiant Air Command where she now flies at least twice a month.