The TA-4J is a two-seat trainer version of the Skyhawk that provided advanced training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots.
The Douglas TA-4J was the two seat trainer version of the A-4 Skyhawk.555 two-seat trainer models were constructed. The trainer version replaced the TF-9J Cougar until it was replaced by the T-45 Goshawk. The TA-4 did not have the ability to use the inflight buddy refueling pod, but the midair refueling probe was retained. The outer underwing pylons were removed, reducing the number of pylons to three. The deletion of the offensive weapons capability resulted in a reduction in the empty weight of 230 pounds. A lower-rated J52-P-6 engine was installed. The twin 20-mm cannon were retained, but one or both of these guns were usually removed in the field. The TA-4Js were painted in a white with red trim painting scheme, which replaced the grey and white scheme of fleet Skyhawks. The TA-4J flew for the first time on December 17, 1968. It entered service with VT-21 in mid-1969. The primary role of the TA-4J was to train carrier pilots. Many TA-4F airframes were converted to TA-4J configuration by removal of their offensive weapons systems. Several TA-4Js were used in support roles, including that of adversary aircraft.
They were retired from front line squadrons in 1978. The Marines began retiring them in the mid-1980s and were complete by 1994. The US Navy retired their last aircraft in 2003.
The museum's Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk, Navy Bureau of Aeronautics No. 158073, c/n 14110, was built about 1972. It served with Training Squadron SEVEN VT-7 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, beginning on 3 March 1972. Then it served with Training Squadron TWENTY-ONE __VT-21 Redhawks__ at __NAS Kingsville,__ Texas, beginning on 23 August 1982. The aircraft made many landings on the __USS Lexington__ in the Gulf of Mexico. From 1986 until 1994 the TA-4 was with Training Wing TWO TW-2 (COMTRAWING-2) at __NAS Kingsville__, Texas, where it was finally retired between September and December 1994. It was then transferred to museum duty and in May 1995, the jet was put on static display at __Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth__ until 2009. While there, it was repainted in its current tan camouflage of desert adversary aircraft in 2002. The aircraft arrived at the Fort Worth Aviation Museum in 2009. This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum.