Double Ugly Books: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk 'Ahit'


Ra'anaan Weiss & Yoav Efrati


Double Ugly Books, 2015


Scott Van Aken


120 pages, Landscape format, softcover.
ISBN: 978-3-935687-19-5

In the 1960s, the majority of Israel's weapons purchases were from France. The US was reluctant to sell to them as it felt it had to keep the weapons sales balanced between the various countries in the region. So initial attempts to buy A-4s were rebuffed. Get a change in US administrations and that policy went out the window. Of course, it did not hurt that the Soviets were increasing weapons sales to surrounding nations.

The request for A-4s was accepted, though several of the systems in Navy A-4E/Fs were not included with the deal. This required the IAF to use locally developed systems to replace them. The first batch of purpose built Skyhawks was the A-4H, which can be spotted by a UHF antenna mounted on the forward top of the fin, giving it a squared off look. Later an upgraded Skyhawk based on the USMC's A-4M was purchased, becoming the A-4N.

During the 1973 war, losses were quite high among the A-4 group and so A-4E/F aircraft were pulled from carriers in the Med and sent to Israel. Due to the shortness of that conflict, few of these saw action, but they did boost the IAF's fleet. Eventually all the early Skyhawks were upgraded and had an exhaust extension installed, which kept the shrapnel from a missile hit from damaging the elevator or rudder controls.

By 1982, the Skyhawk was not considered capable enough for front-line duty and was only used where the defenses were minimal or non-existent. Once the type was removed from regular service, it was used by reserves and training units until its final flight in 2015. Even then, the story was not over as many former Israeli A-4s are flying in civilian hands by companies specializing in target towing or other ancillary activities.

This book covers the history of the A-4 in IAF service, but the real draw of this series is the incredibly depth of the detail images. All three major versions, A-4H, A-4M and TA-4J are covered in great detail, making this book a real 'must have' for both the enthusiast and the modeler. It truly is one you need to have on you shelves.

March 2018

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