American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

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A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

A-4 Skyhawk

Page 1

A-4s during the war in Southeast Asia
On August 5, 1964, 64 aircraft, including 15 A-4Es from the Constellation and 16 A-4Cs from the Ticonderoga, made the Navy’s first strike at North Vietnam. Downed by AAA, one unfortunate pilot began the longest POW experience ever endured by an American. DOUGLAS A-4F

When direct intervention in Vietnam began, the Navy operated 15 attack carriers. Each CAW (Carrier Air Wing) had three attack squadrons; two with A-4s, and A-4s also equipped twelve Marine squadrons.

Continuous carrier air strikes began in February 1965, and in June 1965, Marine A-4 squadrons began rotating to Chu Lai, Vietnam, for land-based close-support missions that continued until June 28, 1973. Every type of non-nuclear weapon available to the A-4 was used during that war.

The need to release Skyhawks for active duty led to a two-place trainer version, retaining most of the armament capabilities. Two prototypes were completed as the TA-4E and the first flew June 30, 1965. Beginning in May 1966, 238 TA-4F two-seaters were produced, followed by 293 TA-4J trainers with J52-P-6 engines.

Both surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles became a serious threat in Vietnam when a Navy VA-23 A-4E was killed by an SA-2 on August 11, 1965. An avionics pod with ECM gear atop the fuselage was soon added to the last new Navy Skyhawk, the A-4F first flown August 31, 1966. With a new engine, ejection seat, and wing landing spoilers, the original A-4F was followed by 146 production examples, beginning in June 1967. Their ECM hump was also retrofitted on all A-4Es in service, proving a defense against SAMs, but light AAA still made low-altitude strikes costly.

Skyhawk development continues
The Douglas company had become McDonnell Douglas on April 28, 1967. Production at Palmdale provided Australia with eight new A-4G and two TA-4G trainers for its carrier, the HMAS Melbourne. The first flight was on July 19, 1967, with a J52-W-8A engine like those on the A-4F, and ten refurbished A-4Es were added in 1971. DOUGLAS A-4H for Israel, October 1967

Authority to proceed on 48 single-seat A-4Hs, the first American planes officially sold to Israel, was granted on October 10, 1966. The first was painted with U.S. Navy serial number and markings when it flew on October 27, 1967. It was similar to the A-4F, but for a drag chute and two 30-mm DEFA guns with 150 rpg to replace the 20-mm guns.

Israeli also acquired 60 used A-4E, 17 TA-4F and received a total of 90 A-4H and ten TA-4H aircraft by 1969. Skyhawks became the main IAF attack force during the three-year “War of Attrition” begun in March 1969, targeting hostile radar and weapons sites.

A long Skyhawk life at Navy shore stations was assured by the decision to upgrade 100 A-4Cs to the A-4L configuration. New engines and avionics were installed, and the first flew on August 21, 1969. Weapons options still included a Mk 28 nuclear store, two 564-pound AGM-12B Bullpups, or 12 300-pound bombs.

New Zealand bought ten single-seat A-4Ks and four TA-4K two-seaters for her Navy, the first flown on November 10, 1969, with delivery beginning in the following January. Malaysia and Indonesia acquired second-hand aircraft from Israel.

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