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Thread: Skyhawks in 2012

  1. #1
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    Skyhawks in 2012

    After reading about the recent selection of the M-346 for the IASF's next trainer to replace the Skyhawk (20 examples left?) as well as the impending delivery of the same type for the RSAF (again to replace the remaining 4 A-4SU's and 7 TA-4SU's based in France) thought it might be fun to see what all could be brought up regarding the remaining A-4's still flying both in operational military service as well as civilian hands.

    From what I can gather, in addition to the two Air Forces listed above, the Brazilian Navy still has about a dozen or so A-4KU/TA-4KU's in service (called AF-1/AF-1A locally) and the Argentine Air Force has around 34 A-4AR/OA-4AR's in service. I'm not sure on the exact numbers in each of the four air forces, so if anyone has confirmation of that info please feel free to share.

    I'm curious to know more about the Brazilian Navy AF-1 upgrade program. This will be done by Embraer I believe. Have time tables been set for the work?

    I'd like to see Skyhawks flying for a while (provided they are safe of course) so hearing about new upgrade programs for these old warriors is always good news to me.

    On the civilian front, I can think of ATAC and BAe Systems flying the Skyhawk. Anyone know total numbers they fly and what variants? (Formerly Israeli examples I think?)
    Fox-4!

  2. #2
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    Old Airframes

    The last Skyhawks came off of the line in 1979. That would make even the youngest airframe 33 years old. I can't see a long future for any of them. Brazil intends to keep theirs until 2025 (Wikipedia). I bet those will be the last A-4s in military service anywhere. The USAF has aircraft in service much older than that, so anything is possible. I would see a market for retired BAe Hawks fulfilling the contractor roles the A-4/Alpha Jet fills now.

  3. #3
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    Brazil were lucky with their Skyhawks, they were some of the last built, they had no carrier cycles, low flight hours and their previous owner Kuwait kept them in pretty much the driest environment you could find.

    They are getting an upgrade similar to the F5M of the airforce with new avionics, a semi glass cockpit, new HUD, ELTA 2032 radar and more then likely the BVR Derby missile. Combined with their rebuilt Tracker/Trader Tanker and AEW aircraft we are talking the most potent capability over water in the entire region...nothing to be sniffed at!
    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

  4. #4
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    EL/M 2032? Interesting. They've put the Grifo in their upgraded F-5Es, with Derby integrated. Maybe the Marinha isn't interested in cooperation with the air force.

    This site gives the flight hours of some of Brazil's Skyhawks up to mid-2011. They had a lot of life in 'em when bought from Kuwait.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian

  5. #5
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    Yeah I pondered that as well Swerve, I am taking Radar choice with a pinch of salt at the moment.
    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

  6. #6
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    I read the Embraer was patterning the upgrade after the FAB's F-5 and AMX upgrades so the Grifo as fitted to the F-5's would make sense to me.
    Fox-4!

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    I believe there was some confusion about the radar in the F-5EM upgrade for a while, with it being widely reported as being the EL/M-2032. This was probably because Elbit was involved, & it was assumed that that implied an Israeli radar. In reality, as we now know for sure, Elbit & Embraer fitted the Grifo, as chosen by the Brazilian air force.

    This previous mix-up could, perhaps, be connected to the statements that the A-4 upgrade is based on the F-5EM & uses the EL/M-2032. Stranger things have happened on the internet.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian

  8. #8
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    That would make logical sense.

    I would be interested to read about the capabilities of the Grifo as it will be installed into the A-4's, and then compare it to what the ARG-1 (downgraded APG-66v2) is capable of on the FAA's A-4AR Fightinghawks.

    It would also be interesting to find a solid list of all the different stores carried by the Skyhawks of both nations.

    Outside of the Argy birds using the AIM-9M, I'm not sure what other munitions are available to them.
    Fox-4!

  9. #9
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    How does does the Brazilian upgrade compare to the ex-RNZAF skyhawks that were available for next to nothing recently ? IIRC they were fitted with APG-66 and had a range of weapon options including LGB's and Maverick

  10. #10
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    Good call on the Kiwi Skyhawks. They were quite well equipped I believe. Would be interesting to see them compared to the Argie and (when upgraded) Brazilian Navy birds...
    Fox-4!

  11. #11
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    Available for next to nothing in theory, but in practice the USA (State Dept., IIRC) blocked their sale to everyone who expressed an interest, including private buyers in the USA. I think they may have deteriorated by now, as the NZ govt. eventually decided it wasn't worth spending to keep them stored in tip-top condition.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian

  12. #12
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    It appears that half have gone to museums and another half are currently being prepared to go to a private buyer in the states - previous "sales" having fallen through.

    The timing would have been right for Brazil to pressure the USA into releasing them (had they wanted them) as the Brazilian Air Force Fighter competition would have been going on concurrently at the time. While they would have had higher hours than the Skyhawks they were using, they had been rewinged and were well maintained - and already upgraded and ready to go.

  13. #13
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    What engines were the Kiwi Skyhawks fitted with?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 19K11 View Post
    What engines were the Kiwi Skyhawks fitted with?
    Standard A-4F/A-4G/A-4K P&W J52 engine. NZ never did an engine mod like the Sing F404 A-4SU.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    Standard A-4F/A-4G/A-4K P&W J52 engine. NZ never did an engine mod like the Sing F404 A-4SU.
    I think the engine bay in the E/F model and its derivatives fitted with the J52 was smaller than that fitted to the earlier B/C model and its derivatives fitted with the J65 (like the A-4S for Singapore) - so much so that while you can fit a F404 into the early J65 Skyhawks, its too large for the J52 engined model

    Thus while Singapore may have been able to upgrade their A-4's with a better engine, its an option that wasn't available to the Kiwis

  16. #16
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    Exactly.

    The A-4A/B/C series had only 3 weapons pylons (belly and 1 under each wing), and the 7,700-8,400 lb thrust Wright J65 engine (weight 2,750 lb; length 130”; diameter 37.7”). These were modernized into the A-4L, A-4PTM, A-4P, and A-4Q.

    The A-4E/F/G/H/K/Ku/M/N series had 5 weapons pylons (belly and 2 under each wing) and the 8,500-9,300 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J52* (weight 2,118 lb; length 117”; diameter 30.2”). Some A-4M were modernized as A-4AR & the A-4Ku as AF-1.



    The Singapore A-4S & A-4Su were A-4Bs & Cs with the J65 that were modified with the wing improvements of the A-4F (wing spoilers and 2 pylons per wing), and it was these that received the 11,000 lb thrust General Electric F404-100D (weight 1,830 lb; length 94”; diameter 35”).




    * The A-4M/N/Ku had a 11,200 lb thrust J52-408 (weight 2,318 lb; length 117”; diameter 32.1”), and some A-4Fs were also retro-fitted with this engine.


    The Aussie A-4Gs and Kiwi A-4Ks were modifications of the A-4F, so the New Zealand A-4Ks could have been modified for the J52-408... but they didn't feel the benefit was worth the cost, apparently.
    Last edited by Bager1968; 13th June 2012 at 23:40.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the clarification on Skyhawk engines Bager. That was superb reading!
    Fox-4!

  18. #18
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    Shame the A-4PTM Skyhawks rebuilt for Malaysia by Grumman Aerospace were retired already by 1999 see http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...5962%2C6687509
    and http://a4skyhawk.org/common/a4ptm.htm and http://a4skyhawk.org/2c/productionhistory.htm

  19. #19
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    It appears that half have gone to museums and another half are currently being prepared to go to a private buyer in the states - previous "sales" having fallen through.


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