Douglas A-4E/F Skyhawk in Navy Service (Naval Fighters Number 51)
By Steve Ginter
Publisher: Naval Fighters 2001 170 Pages
PDF 106 MB
Before the A4D-2N (A-4C) made its first flight, Douglas and the Navy io gearing up for a major improvement in the Skyhawk line. This would be known, initially, as the A4D-5, but all but four would be completed as A-4Es. On 30 July 1959, Douglas was given the go-ahead to produce two A4D-5 aircraft by diverting and modifying two A4D-2Ns from the production line. Besides improved avionics and electronics being installed in the new lengthened nose cone, two major improvements marked the A4D-5. These were a change in pow-erplants and the addition of two new wing hard points, for a total of five.
The new engine was the Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A which developed 8.500 pounds of thrust, which was an 800 pound increase over the A4D-2N. The J52 had a 27% lower fuel consumption rate than the J65-W-16A engine and therefore gave the A4D-5 a substantial increase in range over the A4D-2N. Many A-4Es received 9.300 pound thrust J52-P-8 engines later in their career and were dubbed Super Echos'.
The original Skyhawk had been designed for the nuclear strike mission, but with the addition of the two new pylons a shift to air support and conventional bombing was made. With the five pylons, the maximum weapons load increased to 8,200 pounds.