LMAASA A-4AR - "The ultimate Skyhawk"

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An Introduction:

Hello Guys!, today i bring to you the A-4AR, probably one of the last versions of the A-4 Skyhawk to ever see service, this little plane has a bit more than what meets the eye, as it was heavily modified to meet certain modern requirements (much like the Super Skyhawk and the Kahu projects that were done at the same time or previous to it, this Skyhawk saw the replacement of its radar, engine and the integration of modern countermeasures, avionics and some armament. In this suggestion we are going to explore this aircraft “from wing to wing” going over all its changes.

History & Service

Where it all began…

The life of the A-4 Skyhawk in Argentina dates back to the late 60s, the Argentine Air Force would be the first user in the region and among the first export customers of the aircraft, the original A-4B (or A-4P as its known by the US). The Original Bravos would mean a great in crease of capabilities, an example of this was the Air-Air Refueling capacity, a first for the FAA.


The first batch of A-4Ps while on the US

The FAA would end up incorporating a second batch, after the total retirement of the Gloster Meteors and anticipating the possible retirement of the Sabres, by this time, the metallic livery was diched and the more well known darker colors were adopted.

Conflicts and embargos…

As tensions were on the rise with neighboring Chile, the FAA would incorporate a second A-4 model, this time the aircraft were standard A-4C bought as were from the US, given the desperation of the possible conflict, this units were rapidly put on operational status, they were in some aspects more capable than the A-4Ps, the C had better navigational equipment, more hardpoints and could even carry Air-Air missiles, something that the Ps lacked.


A-4C(s) on exercises

After negotiations and even Papal intervention, the crisis was resolved, but things wouldn’t remain calm, as years later another crisis erupted in war, the 1982 Malvinas conflict. In this conflict the A-4s played a significant role striking British land and Sea targets, despite the squadrons suffering notable losses, the A-4s managed to inflict significant damage to the British fleet, sinking and damaging various vessels.


Famous Picture taken from HMS Coventry during a low level attack by A-4P(s)

After the war the C/P squadrons merged, its original logistical chain was cut by the embargos but saved by Israel (who operated the type and had been a supplier during the war), by this time the age and standards of the fleet were starting to concern the FAA, who in 1986 submitted for a replacement, given the fact that the old examples did not comply with the modern standards to carry their missions. During the rest of the 80s, the FAA would “explore” export options in Russia and China, but given their massively different logistical chain and support for it, they were discarded.

Scooter my old friend…

As relations between the US and Argentina came back to a good spectrum, negotiations for the purchase of a replacement started, the FAA would evaluate various models but the one that would stay was the A-4M, the last installment of the Skyhawk, the US would offer a first deal of 50 airframes “as were” but this was rejected. In the end, a deal for 36 modernized units was signed in 1994 for a total of 365 million dollars, this included the aircraft, their modernization, simulators, training and spares.


An un-upgraded A-4M with Argentine serials while on test flight on the US

The aircraft were selected among the newest A-4Ms that had been recently decommissioned from service, the initial aircraft were going to be modernized in the US, while a large number were going to be done at FMA, now under the control of Lockheed Martin (LAMAASA). Changes and upgrades contemplated:

  • Overhaul of Airframes and Engines

  • Addition of the AN/APG-66V2(ARG-1) radar

  • Addition of Jammers

  • Modern Navigation systems

  • Chaff and Flare dispensers

  • Homologation of modern armament (AIM-9L/M, AGM-65, etc)

The new A-4AR was “a world ahead” its older brothers in Argentine service, as the New addition offered all the capabilities the P & C offered, and added a lot more, from Chaff and Flares, Jamming equipment, IFF, capacity to use guided munitions, modern GPS and navigation equipment. The aircraft entered service in 1997 when they first arrived to Argentina, where they replaced the combined fleet of A-4P/C in the “Grupo 5 de Caza”, they service is not very noteworthy, as their only deployment involving other nations were in exercises and providing protection during the G20 summit, to this very day the A-4AR still operating in the FAA.


Pictured the A-4AR(s) along an A-4C and A-4P

Specifications

Spoiler

Crew: 1

Dimensions:
Length: 12.76 m
Wingspan: 8.22 m
Height: 4.74 m
Wing Surface: 79.24 m²

Weight:
Empty weight: 4870 kg
Max takeoff weight: 11.130 kg
Engine: Curtiss Wright J-65-W-20
Power: 8400 Lbf of thrust

Performance:
Max speed: 1080 Km/h
Never Exceeded speed: 1230 K/hm
Service ceiling: 12880 m
Climb-rate: 42 m/s

Armament:
Internal Weapons:
×2 Colt Mk.12 20mm cannons.

Suspended Armament: (5 Pylons, up to 4500kg)

  • General Purpose bombs: 115kg/125kg/250kg/etc (Mk.82, BK/BR-250, Mk.17, IMI 115)
  • Aerial Rockets: FFAR/ZUNI
  • Air-Air Missiles: Shafrir 2 (placeholder), AIM-9L/M (up to 4 of them)
  • Others: AGM-65 (homologated in the US, but not purchased), DARDO standoff Bomb (tested)

Miscellaneous:

  • RWR
  • Ballistic computer
  • Chaff/Flares

Pictures:

Spoiler









Sources:

Spoiler

Books/Magazines
ALAS Numero 4 “A-4 Skyhawk”
Aeroespacio Magazine
ARES Magazine

Sites:
Historias de Aviones: El A-4AR en la FAA. Por Hernan Longoni
LM A-4AR Fightinghawk :: Militar Argentino :: Blog
A-4AR Fighting Hawk
Douglas A-4AR
Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk - Wikipedia
Todo sobre el A-4 Skyhawk | Zona Militar

4 Likes

+1 for WT.
which TT is closest to argentina in your opinion? ie who should receive it or needs it? i presume itll be at around 10.0?

2 Likes

+1

Personally I would like to see it added with an Argentine air sub-tree to Germany.

Either that or in a SA/Argentine tech tree.

3 Likes

Im guessing Germany (since all Argentine vehicles are there), or the US since its a purely American modernization of the Skyhawk. I wouldnt mind any of those, as for BR…doesnt x4 AIM-9L/M at 10.0 seems a bit low? (10.7 maybe?)

4 Likes

well the A-10 has the same amount at 10.0 so idk snail knows all lol

Found this image of the FAS-850 Dardo II standoff bomb.

2 Likes

There are pics of various aircraft while testing the DARDO II, i seem that i forgot to add the ones of the A-4AR!

Idk how it could glide bombs be added to WT, but this are the specs of it taken straight from the expo

3 Likes

The A-4AR had not modernized its internal weapons? Didn’t they have the 30mm DEFA?

+1 for WT.
Maybe in the tree of attackers in Germany? 10.0?

Sadly it would probably go for USA

2 Likes

You mean rightfully? This thing has literally no connection to Germany and sure as hell shouldn’t be there. Don’t try pulling the Hunter argument, because that is the same BS and should be removed.

This vehicle belongs either in the US tree or a South American tree.

It’s essentially an Ayit but with AIM-9L, I’d say 9.7, maybe 10.0 depending on what variant of AGM-65 it gets. Of course the coming split of BR in ground and air is going to completely fuck up the BRs of attackers so who knows. Anyways, Germany could really use a competent CAS aircraft between the G.91 and F-4F and this would be perfect.
AIM-9M would be broken and necessitate putting this up to a BR where it would be useless, at least 11.0. So 9L would be better.

Smin confirmed that all argentinian vehicles go to germany a while ago. If nothing has changed then this would go to germany.

3 Likes

It rightfully should be German. With the TAMs, Argentina is a strong contender for a German subtree. Germany also has a greater need for the vehicle. Between 9.3 and 10.3, the two nations have the following vehicles with AGMs or guided bombs.

Germany:
Hunter F.58- 2x AGM-65B
MiG-23BN- 2x Kh-23M

USA:
F-100D- 2x AGM-12B
A-10A- 6x AGM-65B
F-4C- 4x AGM-12B/C
F-8E- 2x AGM-12B
A-10A (Late)- 6x AGM-65D
A-7D- 6x AGM-65A
F-105D- 4x AGM-12B/C
F-111A- 4x AGM-12B
F-5C- 4x AGM-12B
A-6E- 5x GBU-10

So Germany has 2 aircraft with a total of 2 MCLOS AGMs and 2 good AGMs
The US has 10 aircraft with a total of 20 MCLOS AGMs, 18 good AGMs, and 5 laser-guided bombs.
Additionally, the US has the USMC A-4M (that really should’ve been added a while ago IMO) that this variant was based on, with identical performance but a wider A2G ordinance (Paveways, FLIR).

1 Like

It doesn’t matter if Germany needs it or not, this is NOT a vehicle that should be in the German tree. It is an American vehicle, and deserves to be in the US tree, or South America. Germany especially doesn’t need a subtree.

A-4M doesn’t have any LGBs and can’t self designate.

I feel this would make an exceptional event or premium vehicle, as this would make it the ultimate SkyHawk aside from except for the Fighter Weapons School (TOP GUN) upgraded A-4. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t want this as a Tech tree vehicle, its just that the US never deployed a more advanced A-4 than the A-4M.

Although visually they are similar, their avionics are different.

US can get the A-4M

AIM9L is too much for 10. I think it will be difficult to balance.
A-10A late carries limas and mavericks and goes at 10.3 despite being a flying turtle.

In case the Latin American TT never arrives, it should be in the German TT.
First because it needs it and second because the snails have already said many times that Argentine vehicles would go there (although this is always subject to change, the only exception to the change would be a Latin American or Argentine tree).

I respect your opinion, but the way the snail proceeds, if it is needed on the tree, they will simply put it there (in this case, especially since they have already said on many occasions that Argentine vehicles will go to the German TT). You may or may not like it, but I am simply basing it on facts.
The only reason why it has not been implemented yet is because perhaps there are other plans for this plane in its own tree (Grom already mentioned this when the Pucara was coming)

2 Likes

6x 65D and 4x 9L vs 4 total 65B (?) or 9L, plus the BRRRTT, rockets or bombs, and 8x the countermeasures of the A-4M.
I can definitely see the argument for 10.0, but not 10.3 when 10.3 has vehicles such as the AMX, A-10, and FRS.1(e)

If necessary, limit it to a pair of missiles purely for balance reasons.

We’ll see how split BRs pan out that would determine the Fightinhawk’s BR in that system

1 Like

don’t bother with this guy he is oppressed with keeping anything that has a hint of USA in the USA tech tree

3 Likes

I had forgotten this. This probably considerably increases the chances of balancing these vehicles.

1 Like