The story behind the A-4 light attack jet

The National Interest:
How the A-4 Skyhawk Ruled the Skies
A Navy pilot told me back in the mid 1960's that as originally designed the plane was to carry nuclear bombs.  It was designed without a landing gear with the thought that the carrier might not be around after an mission.  In the attack the pilot was to pull the stick back on approaching a target as means to throw the bomb higher into the air to give the pilot time to escape the blast radius.

Needless to say, the pilots did not like not having a landing gear.  It was added which turned it into the conventional bomber it became.

This story is a long and interesting piece about the plane and does not include the nuclear weapons aspect above.

BTW, I think John McCain was flying and A-4 when he was shot down over North Vietnam.


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