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The A-4 is the lightest and smallest jet fighter built by the United States. The single engined, single-seated attack jet served with distinction as both a land and carrier based attack aircraft.
In an attempt to reverse the trend toward larger and more expensive aircraft, the A-4 was intended to be the jet powered successor to Ed Heinemann's AD Skyraider design.
Initially designed as a simple attack aircraft, the A-4 was continually upgraded and was able to utilize the latest ground attack weapons.
After more than 22 years of production over 2,900 A-4s were built.
This A-4 last served with VF-45, one of the US Navy's air combat training units. Unlike "Topgun," which took a few pilots from each squadron, units like VF-45 taught entire squadrons how to fight. The A-4s were stripped of unnecessary equipment, painted to simulate adversary aircraft and flown by pilots that specialized in dogfighting. They were trained in possible adversaries tactics and flew aircraft well suited to simulate many early MiGs flight characteristics.