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McDonnell-Douglas A-4G Skyhawk

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The McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk is a variant of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft developed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The model was based on the A-4F variant of the Skyhawk, and was fitted with slightly different avionics as well as the capacity to operate AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The RAN received ten A-4Gs in 1967 and another ten in 1971, and operated the type from 1967 to 1984.

In Australian service the A-4Gs formed part of the air group of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, and were primarily used to provide air defense for the fleet. They took part in exercises throughout the Pacific region and also supported the training of RAN warships as well as other elements of the Australian military. The Skyhawks did not see combat, and a planned deployment of some of their pilots to fight in the Vietnam War was cancelled before it took place. Ten A-4Gs were destroyed as a result of equipment failures and non-combat crashes during the type's service with the Navy, causing the deaths of two pilots.

The RAN had no need for most of its fixed-wing aircraft after Melbourne was decommissioned in 1982, and the ten remaining A-4Gs were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 1984 where they were initially used for training purposes. Between 1986 and 1991 these aircraft were upgraded and re-designated A-4Ks. Two of the former A-4Gs crashed during 2001, resulting in the death of a pilot. The RNZAF's Skyhawks were retired in 2001. Eight A-4Ks, including six former A-4Gs, were sold to Draken International in 2012 and are in service supporting United States military training exercises.


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