The A-4, also known as the Bantam Bomber and Scooter, was a small, subsonic aircraft which was originated during the 1950s. The A-4 dramatically bucked the trend toward ever bigger, faster, and more complicated tactical jet airplanes in favour of simplicity and low cost. Although originally optimised for the delivery of a nuclear bomb, it proved to be far more versatile in service and as a consequence the A-4 enjoyed a 25-year production run and operation for many more years by not only the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps but in the service of the foreign air forces to whom it had been supplied. For several years the U.S Navy’s famed Blue Angels aerobatic team employed it for their air show demonstrations, a role for which it was ideally suited given its performance and maneuverability. Those same characteristics were utilised as a challenging adversary in the training of fighter pilots for air-to-air combat – A-4s flown by both the U.S Navy and the Israeli Air Force shot down faster Soviet-built fighters in combat operations.
This is a fully revised and updated edition of the definitive history of the A-4 written by one of the leading authorities on U.S. naval aviation.