TA-4J Skyhawk

The TA-4J is a two-seat trainer version of the Skyhawk that provided advanced training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots.

Warbird Overview

The TA-4J is a two-seat trainer version of the Skyhawk that provided advanced training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots.


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 mid-air 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 high-visibility white and red trim paint scheme, which replaced the grey and white scheme of fleet Skyhawks. The TA-4J first flew on December 17, 1968, and 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 to support other 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 its last aircraft in 2003.

  • Fact #1

    The two-seat Skyhawk was derived from the well-regarded Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.

  • Fact #2

    Served as the primary Advanced Jet Trainer for both the Navy and Marine Corps during the 1970s through the 1990s operating from land bases or aircraft carriers.

  • Fact #3

    They were also the first Fast FAC aircraft used in Vietnam as a replacement of the TF-9 Cougars.

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
Length: 40 feet, 3 inches
Wingspan: 26 feet, 6 inches
Height: 15 feet
Empty Weight: 10,450 pounds
Max. Takeoff Weight: 24,500 lb (11,136 kg)d
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A turbojet
Max. Speed: 673 mph
Range: 1,700 nm
Rate of Climb: 8,440 ft/min

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 operating in the Gulf of Mexico. From 1986 until 1994 this TA-4 was with Training Wing TWO TW-2 (COMTRAWING-2) at NAS Kingsville, Texas, where it was finally retired in late 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 a tan camouflage of a desert adversary aircraft in 2002. The aircraft arrived at the Fort Worth Aviation Museum in 2009. It is being repainted in the red and white Navy training paint scheme of VT—21 and VT-23. This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Scheduled to open as soon as possible Body work done. Need to prewash then apply base coat primer, then paint in VT-21 livery colors.

Note: Scheduling is always a moving target depending on weather and workload. All schedules are subject to changes.

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