Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA1417 A-4KU Skyhawk BuNo.160188, Free Kuwait Air Force, Gulf War, Dhahran AB, Saudi Arabia Jan 1991

Designed by the McDonnell-Douglas chief engineer Ed Heinemann the A-4 Skyhawk met all the requirements of the US Navy and exceeded many. It was half the maximum weight, could carry four times the weapon load and small enough that it didn’t need folding wings for carrier duty. This small aircraft would earn many nicknames “Heinemann’s Hot Rod” "Scooter", "Bantam Bomber", "Tinker Toy Bomber". The Skyhawk proved to be one of the most popular US naval aircraft exports of the postwar era. Because of its small size, it could be operated from the older, smaller WWII-era aircraft carriers.

In 1976 Kuwait purchased 30 A-4KU and 6 TA-4KU aircraft and operated them until 1997. The Skyhawks entered service with Nos. 9 and 25 Squadrons. When Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait some of the A-4KUs were able to get airborne and actually attacked the advancing forces but weren’t able to halt the aggression. Once the Kuwait airfields were taken over the A-4KUs were flown to Saudi Arabia where the crews and equipment were integrated into the Royal Saudi Air Force operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the time they Kuwait aircraft were in Saudi Arabia they became known as the Free Kuwait Air Force and carried out 1,361 sorties with a loss of only 1 aircraft. After Desert Storm the A-4KUs were eventually replaced by F/A-18C/D Hornets. After Desert Storm 20 A-4KU and 3 TA-4KUs were sold to the Brazilian Navy for use on their aircraft carrier Minas Gerais. One of the A-4KUs was aircraft 809 had BuNo.160188 c/n 14556 and it went to the Brazilian Navy as AF-1 serial N-1005.

Specifications for the A-4K Skyhawk
Country of Origin – United States of America
Manufacturer – Douglas Aircraft Company
First Flight – June 22, 1954
Crew – 1
Length – 41 ft 3 in (12.57 m) Wingspan _ 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m) Height – 14 ft 10 in (4.53 m)
Power Plant – 1 X Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A producing 9,300 lb st thrust Maximum Speed – 730 mph @ sea level (1,167 km/h) Maximum Rate of Climb – 8,440 ft/min (43m/sec) Ceiling – 49,000 ft (14,935 m) Range – 2,025 miles (3,241 km)
Weight Empty – 11,800 lbs (5,352 kg) Maximum – 24,500 lbs (11,113 kg)