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 2 DOUGLAS A-4L (retrofit of A-4C)

Although the heavier Vought A-7 had been chosen by the Navy to replace the Skyhawks, the Marines still preferred the smaller type, and procured the A-4M, first flown as a reworked A-4F on April 10, 1970. That model introduced a new engine model, improved canopy, refueling probe, drag chute, and doubled the ammunition load to 200 rpg. Delivery of 134 to five Marine squadrons began in February 1971, and their weapons could include three Bullpups, the usual bomb load, or their choice of nuclear stores. DOUGLAS A-4N

Israel also bought 117 designated A-4N, on May 2, 1972, interspersed among A-4M production. Similar to the Marine type, but for 30-mm DEFA guns, their first flight was made June 8. During 1973’s Yom Kippur war, 28 refurbished A-4Es and 13 A-4Ms were rushed to the IAF to replace more than 50 Skyhawks lost, mostly to SAM missiles. Altogether the IAF acquired 355 A-4s of different models.

In October 1970, the EA-4F designation was promulgated for two-place TA-4Fs equipped to simulate electronic aggressors. Another TA-4F conversion by the Navy was the OA-4M tactical control model of 1978. While the A-4Fs were retired from fleet squadrons in 1975, the A-4L remained with reserve units, and the renowned Blue Angels team used F-4Fs from 1974 to 1987. DOUGLAS A-4M

Douglas also made foreign sales by refurbishing retired Navy Skyhawks. The first customer was the Fuerza Aerea Argentina (FAA), which bought 25 A-4Bs whose delivery with J65-W-16A engines began in June 1966. These aircraft, plus 25 more in 1969, and 25 A-4Cs in 1976, were redesignated A-4P on May 2, 1972, by the U.S. Navy for book keeping, although the FAA continued using the original names. Sixteen more A-4Bs with W-20 engines became A-4Qs when shipped on the Argentine Navy’s light carrier, the 25 de Mayo, in April 1972.

Reworked Skyhawks sent abroad were 40 A-4S and three TA-4S aircraft with J65-W-20 engines and 30-mm Aden guns for Singapore, refurbished from old A-4Bs in 1974. Kuwait ordered 30 A-4KU and 6 TA-4KU new aircraft on November 7, 1974, and the first flew on July 20, 1976.

The last Skyhawks from the factory were 24 additional A-4Ms, and the last acceptance on February 27, 1979, completed a total of 2,960 Skyhawks, including 555 two-seaters. That nearly 23-year run is one of the great successes of Navy aircraft design. The last Marine Skyhawk squadron, VMA-211, retired its last A-4M in February 1990.

The Skyhawk’s last Fight
When the Falklands War began in 1982, 36 A-4B, 16 A-4C, and 10 A-4Q Skyhawks remained available to Argentina. They flew 249 sorties against British ships and positions from May 12 to June 13, sinking the destroyer Coventry, two frigates, a landing ship, and lost 22 A-4s in action, mostly to Sea Harriers and SAMs.

After older Argentine Skyhawks retired, and the political situation changed, replenishment by 36 upgraded ex-Marine A-4Ms began in October 1997. But the last Skyhawks to fight were 20 A-4KUs that escaped from Kuwait and flew against the Iraqi invaders in January 1991.

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