Author Topic: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration  (Read 158743 times)

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #325 on: August 18, 2020, 04:54:13 AM »
My mate, FAAMAN, would be the dude to ask. He worked on our A-4G's back ... ooh, too long ago to mention ... let's just say "when I was working on S-2E/G's". ;)

It's technical experience and point of view would  be great appreciated Old Wombat 😯👍

MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #326 on: August 18, 2020, 05:03:06 AM »
Another question is what happens to the wing leading edge slats? This fold mechanism cuts them right in half. Where these actual flying aircraft or mock-ups for display purposes?

Great and importantly overlooked technical point on my behalf kerick!!
Is there any reason that they couldn't be configured as a two-peice system? I appriciate that it would require additional actuators and the likes, adding weight and complication.....but saying this, the model of Skyhawk I have planned as part of my Alternative ADF ORBAT will in fact compensate for these additional weight gains....

I also concur with Jeffry Fontaine on terms of the nature of the displays....I read somewhere that they where actually written off aircraft, gutted and modified for such purpose.....


MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #327 on: August 18, 2020, 05:10:09 AM »
Here is some more info and pics.
http://www.blueangels.org/Aircraft/Stick/A4/Truck/Truck.htm
I have no exact figures but it seems to me this modification would severely limit the Skyhawks. The increased weight and loss of fuel would make it impractical.
But this is whiff world so you build what you want the way you want and have fun doing it!


Great and valid points kerick
As for "the increased weight and loss of fuel would make it impractical", the model of Skyhawk I have planned as part of my Alternative ADF ORBAT will in fact compensate for these additional weight gains.... The oddity is, I'm under the impression that the Skyhawk was limited in terms of its full combat potential weapons/fuel load, when operating from the Majestic class carrier regardless, be it Australian, Argentinian or Brazilian...Can't say I've ever seen a Majestic-based Skyhawk on the cat bombed up like that of a US Navy Skyhawk on one of their ownarger and more capable carrier's...


MAD

Offline Kerick

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #328 on: August 18, 2020, 05:20:49 AM »
I suppose sense that leading edge slats were actuated by their own weight pulling them down and forward while air pressure at certain airspeed pushed them back you could redesign the rails they moved on to hold two sections per wing. That’s why you see many pics of parked or taxing Skyhawks with the slats down. Except the Blue Angles as theirs were fixed in the up position to prevent accidental movements while flying in close formation. Maybe not that big of a deal but would add some weight.

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #329 on: August 18, 2020, 06:39:14 AM »
Thanks for the clarification of the leading edge slats arrangement kerick, I have some idea of their principle and purpose, but not so much the terminology. 😞
I'm assuming that leading edge slats would remain critically important, what with the small size of the Majestic-class deck size/length, take off lift and approach speed......

MAD

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #330 on: August 18, 2020, 08:47:06 AM »
I do know that the leading edge slats were gravity operated (un-controlled) & were even known to kick out at inopportune moments under sufficiently high positive g-loadings - which would be one reason the Blue Angels fixed theirs in position. In a high-g turn it wasn't unknown for one slat to jam open , making flying the aircraft a bit of a chore.

I can, also, say that fitting a (proper) wing-fold system would almost completely eliminate your wing fuel tankage without reducing weight, due to the extra load-bearing ribs & hydraulics systems required, & I'm fairly sure the fold on that display version is right on/next to a hard-point, too, thus making it impossible to use & reducing weapons load.
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #331 on: August 18, 2020, 10:30:21 AM »
I can, also, say that fitting a (proper) wing-fold system would almost completely eliminate your wing fuel tankage without reducing weight, due to the extra load-bearing ribs & hydraulics systems required, & I'm fairly sure the fold on that display version is right on/next to a hard-point, too, thus making it impossible to use & reducing weapons load.

So the wing-fold would have to be dictated by the  wing hardpoints.

Again, going by the Majestic-class catapult capability/stroke length, short flight deck etc, I'm presuming that the A-4's maximum takeoff capabilities fuel and weapons load would never really been achieved regardless of wing-fold limitations...so I'm pondering whether this reduction in hardpoint capacity is really going to adversely effect the existing launch of the Skyhawk, if you know what I mean?

I'm still trying to find a picture of an Australian, Argentinian or Brazilian carrier-based Skyhawk with the heaviest weapons/drop tank etc....so as to emphasise what I'm trying to explain....

Oh, as for the reduced fuel issue pertaining to a reduced wing fuel tank, I have some ideas of compensation 😯😉


MAD
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 11:25:12 AM by M.A.D »

Offline jcf

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #332 on: August 18, 2020, 12:16:01 PM »
The issue with carrier borne aircraft is less an issue of how many can you carry and more an
issue of how many can you operate and how efficiently.

More aircraft = more pilots, more aviation fuel, more ordnance etc., more support crew across the
board and increased strain on the ship's systems. There are reasons why at a certain point the naval
air services start talking about adding bottoms rather than just adding aircraft.
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Offline Kerick

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #333 on: August 18, 2020, 12:55:15 PM »
Maybe a nice conformal fuel tank under the fuselage like the proposed F-4 Phantom upgrade. Add small hard points to the tank for individual Mk 82 500lb bombs.


Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #334 on: August 18, 2020, 01:36:26 PM »
The issue with carrier borne aircraft is less an issue of how many can you carry and more an
issue of how many can you operate and how efficiently.

More aircraft = more pilots, more aviation fuel, more ordnance etc., more support crew across the
board and increased strain on the ship's systems. There are reasons why at a certain point the naval
air services start talking about adding bottoms rather than just adding aircraft.

Thanks for your validd contribution jcf, I completely agree with this sensible enalogy.

What I'm trying to achieve is to supplement the inherent limitations of the Majestic-class' size and the effectiveness, as a cost effective carrier.
As much as I appriciate that the A-4G was acquired by the RAN prodomantly for air defence purposes, with a secondary attack role, the size of the Grumman S-2 Tracker would have encroached into the usable deck and hanger space of its Majestic class. Without wanting to give too much away from the backstory, I'm trying to achieve a more balanced carrier air group, which includes ASW aircraft, AEW, and fighter-bomber platforms - working on the premises of HMAS Melbourne's embarked air group peaked in about 1972, with four Skyhawks, six Trackers, and ten Westland Sea King.... So I'm thinking this must have been determined by the RAN the minimum effective allocation of given aircraft types to effectively conduct operations...with this I'm trying to fit at least two fixed-wing AEW aircraft, hence my attempt to make such room aboard the Majestic-class with folding-wing Skyhawk's. Add to this my want to add more flexibility to the RAN's carrier doctrine, by making Melbourne and her sister ship 😉 more swing-type carrier's, in which given certain circumstances/mission requirements, one or both of these RAN Majestic-class carrier's could be optimised for strike, ASW or a balanced mission profiles. So I'm working invite notion that if the ADF requires a long-range or sustained strike capability, a greater number of folded-wing  Skyhawk's could be embarked with minimal preparations, with say six Tracker's and six Sea Kings being taken off and replaced an air group of say twelve folded-wing Skyhawk's, two AEW aircraft four Tracker's and four Sea Kings, or something to that effect.....

MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #335 on: August 18, 2020, 01:40:06 PM »
Maybe a nice conformal fuel tank under the fuselage like the proposed F-4 Phantom upgrade. Add small hard points to the tank for individual Mk 82 500lb bombs.



kerick, we're obviously on the same wave length my friend - conformal tank is part of my thought process, which I won't give to much away, for the sake of my backstory in Alternative ADF ORBAT 😉

MAD

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #336 on: August 18, 2020, 02:07:25 PM »
Don't forget that the inner hard points, the ones you'd be losing, are the wet hard points, so you lose your capacity to carry drop tanks. They're also rated for the heaviest weapons load-out, too.

In all honesty, adding a wing fold to a Skyhawk is a losing proposition, with a negligible gain in reduced deck footprint being traded for considerable net loss across structural strength, weapons capacity, weight, range, agility & speed. Adding a conformal tank, say in the form of the "hump" common with A-4F's-&-beyond, would just increase the weight disadvantage.

It's a small aircraft, with a small deck footprint. So, unless your carrier is even smaller than a Majestic, there's no real reason to make it smaller.

I'm fairly sure, they could operate from Melbourne with their full combat load-out (or near it) but didn't unnecessarily (& I'm also fairly sure it was the condition of the deck which limited their capacity in later years - it wasn't good :-X).

As much as I, a Tracker Whacker, hate to say it, Ed Heinemann designed an excellent little attack fighter which is extremely difficult to improve upon.


PS: I'm not trying to be a Negative Nancy but the Skyhawk was selected by the RAN as its Fleet Air Defence fighter because it was the largest aircraft capable of performing that function successfully from the Melbourne. The FAD role requires the fighter to have the ability to fly off the deck carrying a full fuel load, including 2 drop tanks, & a full weapons load, including guns & 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinders. The A-4G could do that.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 02:18:24 PM by Old Wombat »
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #337 on: August 18, 2020, 05:19:20 PM »
Well Old Wombat, I can't argue with your practical knowledge and experience of carrier ops and the Melbourne.

Your statement "Don't forget that the inner hard points, the ones you'd be losing, are the wet hard points, so you lose your capacity to carry drop tanks. They're also rated for the heaviest weapons load-out, too." has gutted my perception and thought process, as I appriciate how critically important these two main plumbed hardpoints are.
If I persist in this designs pursuit, would you be inclined to support the notion of incorporating the wing-fold arrangement in between the 'main' and 'outer' hardpoints, so as to eleviate the loss of the critically important 'wet'/plumbed hardpoint? Granted by doing this eliminates much of what I'm attempting to achieve in terms of space saving, but it would still be a slight gain all the same (also think it will leave the majority of wing tank in place...)

As for your analogy of "Adding a conformal tank, say in the form of the "hump" common with A-4F's-&-beyond, would just increase the weight disadvantage.", what is it with everyone reading my mind today?😯😉😂 For this is exactly what I had in mind, as a means of compensation for the wing tank volume loss.

"I'm not trying to be a Negative Nancy", Nah, all good mate, I'm happy to take and obsorb your common sense and experience 👍

As a side note, if I may I've read that the RAN A-4G's "lacked the A-4F's ability to operate guided air-to-ground weapons.". Also of interest for my Alternative ADF ORBAT is the RAN's decision not to operate it's two-seat TA-4G trainers from Melbourne, "as their flight characteristics meant that they could not safely take off from the ship in the event of a "bolter" landing."
From the forums perspective, was there away around this issue of the TA-4G's flight characteristics? Or was it more about the size of the Majestic-class in general? Did Brazil or Argentina operate two-seat Skyhawk's from their Majestic-class carriers??

MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #338 on: August 18, 2020, 05:39:18 PM »
Only 4 EA-4F's appear to have been built.   Was there a foreign market for them in smaller air forces?


I suppose given their training focus they weren't ever really considered.  Mind you a dedicated EA-4 with say a pair of AN/ALQ-99 pods (see below) might be interesting to see:




With much of the associated RWR/ECM systems located in a specially modified Douglas D704 Buddy Pack refueling Pod, mounted on the centreline hardpoint.


MAD
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 05:41:39 PM by M.A.D »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #339 on: August 18, 2020, 08:07:34 PM »
... would you be inclined to support the notion of incorporating the wing-fold arrangement in between the 'main' and 'outer' hardpoints, so as to eleviate the loss of the critically important 'wet'/plumbed hardpoint?

If push came to shove, I'd suggest folds outboard of the outer hardpoints. Either way you're going to have to find a way to mechanically unify & synchronise the slats. Even less space saved but much easier technically.

As a side note, if I may I've read that the RAN A-4G's "lacked the A-4F's ability to operate guided air-to-ground weapons.".

True, but a conscious decision given that the RAN wanted the A-4G to be a Fleet Air Defence fighter, not an attack fighter (ie: optimised for air-to-air combat, rather than ground attack), so gave up the ability to operate air-to-surface missiles in favour of being able to operate air-to-air missiles (which other A-4's of the time couldn't).


Regarding the T-birds, I couldn't really tell you but I'd hazard that they were, generally, heavier with much of that extra mass being in the nose & that to fly at an appropriate landing speed for Melbourne they had to approached with a much greater nose-up attitude, making it hard to spot the deck, & much nearer their stall speed ..... but that's just me guessing.
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Offline Kelmola

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #340 on: August 18, 2020, 08:29:38 PM »
With much of the associated RWR/ECM systems located in a specially modified Douglas D704 Buddy Pack refueling Pod, mounted on the centreline hardpoint.
Didn't they use a similar solution with the EF-10 Skyknight before factory-made ALQ pods became available? I have a hazy recollection of seeing a photo of one with a standard droptank on one pylon and a droptank-like (and size) shape but with a couple fin aerials jutting out of odd places on the other.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #341 on: August 19, 2020, 03:17:54 AM »
I have merged the wing fold A-4G discussion from the Engineering Dept into this thread.
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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #342 on: August 19, 2020, 03:32:00 AM »
Whilst the A-4Gs were mainly for air defence (and carried up to 4 AIM-9s for it (as per below):



They could seemingly also use unguided rockets and dumb bombs though these would appear to be a rarity:



As for fitting on the HMAS Melbourne, I don't believe wing folding would add much benefit (ignoring the engineering implications) as it didn't seem to have much issue carrying what it needed anyway:

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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #343 on: August 19, 2020, 03:39:40 AM »
Looking a little further at the RAN A-4G's air defence capabilities, I wonder if one could 'shoehorn' something such as the radar (and even IR seeker) from a F-8 Crusader into the nose of a A-4G and thus , with the addition of AIM-9Cs, give it more all weather capability?  Sure it might have a big nose...
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Offline Kelmola

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #344 on: August 19, 2020, 06:02:45 AM »
Looking a little further at the RAN A-4G's air defence capabilities, I wonder if one could 'shoehorn' something such as the radar (and even IR seeker) from a F-8 Crusader into the nose of a A-4G and thus , with the addition of AIM-9Cs, give it more all weather capability?  Sure it might have a big nose...
The answer is probably "yes", because IRL A-4K Kahu (ironically, former A-4G's) and A-4AR Fightinghawk had the AN/APG-66 radar in the nose, which is the same as in F-16A/B. Of course the "black boxes" of the -66 benefit from miniaturization of electronics compared to the AN/APQ-84 and -94 in F-8, but at least there is an IRL precedent for installing an air-to-air capable radar into the A-4.

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #345 on: August 19, 2020, 11:38:49 AM »

The AN/APG-53A was predominantly a air-to-surface system wasn't it?
I was wondering if the Magnavox AN/APQ-94 fire control radar of the Vought F-8E Crusader would be able to be installed in the RAN's A-4G Skyhawk's? Im thinking incorporating its systems (black boxes) might deem the fitting of the camel hump (which the RAN had eliminated on its variant) to relocate systems and subsystem which would be displaced in the nose/forward fuselage area!
The thing I like about the Magnavox AN/APQ-94, is that its already an 'all-weather' tested and proven navalised system, and it would support the Aim-9C radar-guided Sidewinder variant - giving my RAN Skyhawk two 20mm cannon, 2 x Aim-9B (IR-guided) and 2 x Aim-9C (Radar-guided) Sidewinder AAM's!

I was contemplating including the F-8E's IRST sensor, thinking it would be an additional sensor (especially over vast open water), but from what I've read it was of limited reliability! So it might not have been worth the pain in the balls to incorporate into the little Scooter!

M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #346 on: August 20, 2020, 02:19:44 AM »
 :smiley:

Will need to look up exact dimensions of the various Crusader radar options.
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Offline kitnut617

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #347 on: August 20, 2020, 03:24:34 AM »

The AN/APG-53A was predominantly a air-to-surface system wasn't it?

The information link I got from Jon, when I was building my AF-82 project and wanted to have it have this radar, didn't really say it was better in ats mode or in ata.

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #348 on: August 21, 2020, 01:02:51 AM »
Would be useful to have a publication that details the development history, performance specs and related for all radars.  Might have to do some research...
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #349 on: August 22, 2020, 07:08:26 AM »
Been looking around regards the radar Greg, but I haven't had much joy.

MAD