A-4E Skyhawk: Heinemann's Hot-Rod grows up
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A new squadron vehicle is coming to War Thunder! This time, one of the better jet attackers in the game, the American A-4E Skyhawk with a new powerful engine and increased combat load

History

The beginning of the jet era and the escalation of the Cold War forced the US naval aviation command to look for a replacement for the very successful carrier-based piston-engine AD Skyraider, with the possibility of delivering a tactical nuclear weapon in the area of ​​operation of an aircraft carrier group.With the beginning of the military campaign in Korea, the Douglas Aircraft Company began developing a carrier-based attack aircraft with an unconventional approach - instead of pursuing engine power, usually bringing weight and large size to the aircraft, Ed Heinemann’s team concentrated on finding ways to lighten the construction, keeping it under 12,000 lbs.

The projected aircraft was a fairly compact, lightweight jet fighter-attacker with a delta-shaped wing and a competently lightweight design. This is how the A-4A Skyhawk was born, one of the first jet-based carrier-based aircraft capable of carrying a nuclear bomb. The aircraft was distinguished by its simplicity of design, practical controls with excellent flight characteristics for its time. Soon, in 1956, the A-4B version appeared, capable of carrying a huge variety of mounted weapons on three suspension points, including guided missiles.

Thus, "Skyhawk" had become a truly universal carrier-based aircraft, capable of solving the entire spectrum of tasks for US Naval Aviation. A rather noticeable drawback of the attack aircraft was still the limited range of action, also army types always wanted to increase the weapon load. In 1961, Douglas presented an improved version of the aircraft with five pylons for armament and a new engine, which compensated for a heavier combat load, and also increased the range of the attack aircraft. It was the A-4E that became one of the most massive Skyhawk modifications and formed the image of a modern carrier-based attack aircraft. The "E" version was actively involved in the Vietnam War, and later, up till the end of the 80’s, was used to simulate enemy aircraft in training dogfights.

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War Thunder pilots and tankers know well the American A-4B attack aircraft, one of the best ground strikers in the game. Good speed and controllability, as well as a luxurious selection of sets of guided and unguided weapons make it an excellent choice in any game mode, especially destroying enemy ground vehicles. We're introducing a new version of this attacker for squadron players. The A-4E Skyhawk with a new engine and an increase to five pylons, is an excellent addition to the top tier US tank setup and a very comfortable vehicle for air missions.

The A-4E's weapon selection is almost the same as the A-4B's, but you can now take more deadly gifts into battle for any type of enemy. In addition to the 2x Colt 20mm cannons, you will find a long list of mounted weapons in a wide variety of combinations. AIM-9B Air-to-air missiles, AGM-12B and AGM-12C air-to-surface missiles, up to 36  Zuni and 171 Mighty Mouse rockets, bombs of up to 2,000 lbs (including 14x500lbs and 20x250lbs combinations) to a total payload of 7000 lbs, additional gun pods - choose from many sets for each mission!

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Interesting: On December 5, 1965, a ‘Broken Arrow’ incident occurred in the Philippine Sea near the Japanese island of Kikaijima. During transportation on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga, an A-4E with a pilot and a 1Mt nuclear bomb suspended under the fuselage rolled overboard and sank. So far, no aircraft, pilot, or bomb has been found.

The new J52-P-6 engine is more powerful and more economical than the previous one, but overall it retains the familiar A-4B flight characteristics: the A-4E max speed under ideal conditions and without load is 584 knots (about 1080 kmh), but most often you will have to operate at speeds of about 400-500 mph over land or sea, which is pretty good for an attack aircraft. After the A-4E drops its payload, it becomes noticeably faster and more maneuverable in order to quickly get to an airfield for reload and refuel. Flares can help you to escape from a fighter fired missile or AA missile from the ground. Overall, the A-4E is an harmonious and comfortable jet attack aircraft, capable of carrying a significant payload and withstanding any enemy.

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The A-4E Skyhawk will be available for research in one of the next updates.

Unite in squadrons with friends, apply for other squadrons, or create your own to receive truly unique war Thunder squadron vehicles!

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