Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA1420 Douglas A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 150092, VMA-121, MCAS, Chu Lai, Vietnam, 1960s

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 A-4M assigned to front-line squadrons would be replaced in the mid 1980s by the AV-8 Harrier II. 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.

VMA-121 “Green Knights” and their A-4s were ferried to Chu Lai Air Base in South Vietnam and began operations on December 1, 1966. On June 4, 1967 the unit redeployed to Iwakuni, Japan until September 5, 1967 when they returned to Chu Lai AB for another tour. On January 31, 1969 VMA-121s Vietnam tour ended when they left for MCAS Cherry Point, NC where they were re- equipped with Grumman A-6 Intruders and designated VMA(AW)-121. On October 4, 1968 A-4E became the property of VMA-223 “Bulldogs” also at Chu Lai AB.

A-4E Skyhawk Specifications
1 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A turbojet, 8500 lb. Thrust
Max speed 673 mph at sea level with a clean aircraft 636 mph at sea level with a Mk. 28 nuclear weapon Cruising speed 498 mph Stall speed 139 mph Combat ceiling (clean aircraft) 40,500 feet Runway to 20,000 ft – 4 minutes
Flight distances
230 miles with a Mk. 28 weapon 680 miles with 2 X 300-gallon drop tanks Ferry range 2130 miles Dimensions
Wingspan 27 ft 6 in Length 41ft 4 in Height 15 ft Wing area 260 sq ft
Weights 9,624 lb. Empty 18,300 lbs. Gross 22,950 lbs. Maximum Armament 2 x 20 mm cannon with 200 rounds/gun
Maximum weapons load 8,200 lbs. carried on 5 pylons - 2 pylons under each wing and 1 center-line pylon