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TA-4J-3_opThe basic role of the TA-4J Skyhawk was a two-place, lightweight, high-performance trainer capable of operating from an aircraft carrier or shore base.

The TA-4J Skyhawk entered production in June 1969. It became the longest-serving of the Skyhawks as the US Navy’s standard advanced jet trainer until replaced in the early 1990’s with the T-45A Goshawk.

The TA-4J descended from the Navy and Marine Corps single-seat light attack aircraft designed in the early 1950s by a team of Douglas Aircraft engineers lead by Ed Heinemann. The first Skyhawk prototype flew in June 1954.

The Skyhawk was one of the most successful attack aircraft in US Navy and Marine Corps service. Single-seat Skyhawks were much used by Navy and Marine Corps squadrons during the Vietnam War.

Its low delta wing of 27 feet 6 inches (8.4m) was small enough not to require folding on aircraft carrier decks.

During service, the Skyhawk acquired several nicknames, including Heinemann’s Hot Rod, Mighty Mite, Scooter, Tinker Toy, and Bantam Bomber.


Span: 27 ft 6 in (8.4m)
Length: 43 ft 7 in (13.3m)
Height: 15 ft. 7 in (4.75m)
Max weight:
12,273 lbs. (5,567kg)
24,500 pounds (11,113kg)
Armament: Two 20mm guns, one in each wing root, and a variety of external stores could be installed on the TA-4J for Air Combat Maneuvering and Strike Warfare training.
Engine: One 8,500 lb (37.8kN) static thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6B turbojet.
Max permissible speed @ 9,000 ft (2743m) pressure altitude: 702 mph (1,130km/hr)
Crew: Instructor pilot and student pilot
Cost: $ 860,000
Tail Number: 153671
Years in Service: 1969 – 2003
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Maximum Speed: 660 mph (1062km/hr)
Cruising Speed: 587 mph (945km/hr)
Max Range:
1,350 miles (2,172km)
2,200 miles (3,541km)
Service Ceiling: 38,700 ft (11,796m)