Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly designated AD before the 1962 unification of Navy and Air Force designations) is an American single-seat attack aircraft in service from 1946 to the early 1980s, which served during the Korean War and Vietnam War. The Skyraider had an unusually long career, remaining in front-line service well into the Jet Age (when most piston-engine attack or fighter aircraft were replaced by jet aircraft); thus becoming known by some as an “anachronism”. The aircraft was nicknamed “Spad”, after the French World War I fighter.

It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC), and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF), and others. It remained in U.S. service until the early 1970s.

The Skyraider was produced too late for use in World War II, but became the backbone of United States Navy aircraft carrier and United States Marine Corps strike aircraft sorties in the Korean War (1950–1953), with the first ADs going into action from Valley Forge with VA-55 on 3 July 1950. Its weapons load and 10-hour flying time far surpassed the jets that were available at the time. On 2 May 1951, Skyraiders made the only aerial torpedo attack of the war, hitting the Hwacheon Dam, then controlled by North Korea.

On 16 June 1953, a USMC AD-4 from VMC-1 piloted by Major George H. Linnemeier and CWO Vernon S. Kramer shot down a Soviet-built Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, the only documented Skyraider air victory of the war. AD-3N and -4N aircraft carrying bombs and flares, flew night-attack sorties, and radar-equipped ADs carried out radar-jamming missions from carriers and land bases.

The AD-4NA is a designation of 100 AD-4Ns without their night-attack equipment, but fitted with four 20 mm cannon, for service in Korea as ground-attack aircraft.

Country: USA

First flight: 18 March 1945

Years of production: 1945—1957

Production: 3,180 planes

Crew: 1

Length: 38 ft 10 in (11.84 m)

Wingspan: 50 ft 0.25 in (15.2464 m)

Height: 15 ft 8.25 in (4.7816 m)

Powerplant: Wright R-3350-26WA Duplex-Cyclone

Power: 2,700 HP (2,000 kW)

Maximum speed: 322 mph (518 km/h, 280 kn)

Range: 1,316 mi (2,118 km, 1,144 nmi)

Ceiling: 28,500 ft (8,700 m)

Empty weight: 11,968 lb (5,429 kg)

Armament: 4x 20 mm AN/M3 cannon

Bourget Museum (ParisFrance)

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