Israeli A-4 Skyhawks

Israel Defence Force (IDF)

Douglas Poster courtesy of Gary Verver;

Flying School Advanced Training Squadron (FSATS or FTS) [Photos]
#102 The Flying Tiger Squadron [Photos]
#109 The Valley Squadron
#110 The Knights Of The North Squadron
#115 The Flying Dragon Squadron
#116 The Flying Wing Squadron Photos]
#140 The Golden Eagle Squadron
#141 The Battering Ram Squadron, Flying Ibex , Goring Ram, or Goring Deer.
#143 The Smashing Parrot Squadron, Shattering Parrot, or Crushing Parrot.
This page is dedicated to
Israeli Air Force Ayit (Skyhawk) Pilots KIA

Israel was the largest customer for export Skyhawks. A contract for 48 was signed 02 June 1966. The first four (A-4Hs) arrived in Israel by ship at the port of Haifa in 29 December 1967. The Skyhawks were down-graded, some avionics removed, and were re-designated A-4H. They first flew as "Ayits" on 01 January 1986 with #109 Squadron at Ramat David. Side Numbers assigned were 03, 05, 07, and 09. After the number of Skyhawks passed one-hundred; a third number was added to the front of the side numbers. The IDF Ayit (Eagle) became operational in 1968 and was used extensively in combat operations.

1971: "...the Skyhawk had proven to be so successful in Israeli service that it actually blurred the differences between "light" and "heavy" [attack]". Page 30 of "Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units In Combat" by Shlomo Aloni.

AUG 1971: "Crystal" were upgraded A-4E and A-4H aircraft with higher rated engines, improved heads-up display, and improved weapons/navigation systems which brought them to an A-4N standard..

08 DEC 2004: Advanced Israel Air Force A-4 Performs its Inaugural Flight!

Y2004: RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. announced that the first upgraded Israel Air Force (IAF) A-4 "Ayit" had successfully completed its first flight. The A-4 "Ayit" is the IAF's advanced trainer. The upgraded aircraft has new electronics and the upgrade program was to be completed by the third quarter of 2005. 26 A-4N, 4 TA-4H, and 18 TA-4J aircraft were upgraded.

Per Defense Industry Daily 03-Aug-2009 : "storied land-based career with the Israeli Air Force, who used this simple, pilot-friendly aircraft from late 1967 onward as a versatile attack aircraft with surprising air-air teeth"

"The "Ayit" was a much-beloved jet in the Israeli Air Force. The little A-4 agility coupled with an equally surprising ability to take battle damage, made it a popular and reliable choice over several wars. The type was used heavily in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the Israeli fleet took correspondingly heavy loses: of 102 aircraft lost, 53 were Ayits. That war was not without its moments of distinction. In one engagement, an Israeli A-4 Ayit found itself facing 3 MiG-21s. The maneuverable little A-4 turned on them and brought 2 of them down, and was reportedly on the 3rd Fishbed's tail when an IAF Mirage IIIC zipped through and blasted the MiG out of the sky."

Skyhawk Deliveries to Israel:

Updated 25JUL19 (twidget)

Date unknown

02 A-4B Airframes for instructional purposes. They now reside at museums.

DEC 1967-1968

48 A-4H BuNo 155242 thru 155289


34 A-4H BuNo 157395 thru 157428

08 A-4H BuNo 157918 thru 157925

06 TA-4H BuNo 157429 thru 157434/li>

04 TA-4H BuNo 157926 thru 157929


60 Former USA A-4E; BuNo 151189

04 TA-4F Former USA TA-4F


02 TA-4J BuNo158492 thru 158493 (OCT72)


02 TA-4J BuNo 158497 thru 158498 (NOV72)

02 TA-4J BuNo 158502 thru 158503 (FEB73)

18 A-4N BuNo 158726 thru 158743

18 A-4N BuNo 159035 thru 159052

32 A-4E former USA (OCT/NOV73)

14 A-4F former USA (OCT/NOV73

14 A-4N BuNo 159075 thru 159098 (1973-74)

Flight to Israel.
Page 35 of the Spring 2006 issue of "The Hook" asked about the “unsubstantiated but frequently heard story (that) VA-45 Det 1 flying A-4L (reworked Charlies with a hump) Skyhawks on board” Roosevelt in 1973 delivered same to Israel. Perhaps VA-45 delivered some of the 65 A-4s which were sent between 1971 and 1973, but I believe the ones which arrived in Israel were all Echos. There were 29 flown there in October of 1973 and the following is how I remember a part of that delivery.
It was an AOM in early October 1973 when the skipper of VA-127 asked for volunteers to fly a special mission which would involve some danger. Nearly all of us instructors raised our hands. He proceeded to brief us on the general scope of the flights which was to deliver A-4s to Israel. Cdr. Tulley had some of the details, but he said all he knew for sure was we were to fly many of our own aircraft to Norfolk and we would receive further briefing there. Pack for a week he said.
VA-127 had been the instrument training squadron in Lemoore for quite some time. The A-7 drivers on their way to VA-125 or VA-122 were obligated to make a stop and fly our TA-4s under the bag to sharpen their scan (or humiliate these newly minted naval aviators). VA-125 switched from an A-4 RAG to an A-7 RAG when the powers that be decided no more A-4s would be going on cruises. Of course A-4s kept cruising, so VA-127 became the A-4 RAG to train pilots for each successive “A-4 Last Annual Cruise”. We had quite a cadre of fleet experienced A-4 pilots who taught tactics and CQed all sorts of junior and senior pilots who were slated to fly the Scooter on various 27C carriers still floating about in WestPac. When we became the RAG we got the latest version of A-4Es and Fs including the P408 powered model which the Blue Angels flew after being “trained” at VA-127. Some of our flights demoing asymmetrical slat extension for the Blues were quite colorful, but that’s another story.
On October 17th we manned aircraft for the one stop hop to NAS Norfolk. Before doing so, we were issued new flight suits, flight jackets and parachute bags without any patches or insignia on them. The scope of the operation became more apparent when we saw how many A-4s were parked outside the Rework Facility there. Before long we were invited into a large briefing room where an Admiral took the podium and looked out at a small sea of JO faces. He gave us the plan and we asked a bunch of questions. We had another day or so while the Rework Facility took out the electronics we did not want to hand over to the Israelis. They also painted out all the markings on the A-4s except for the single star & bar on each side of the aft fuselage.
The plan was to launch in flights of 12 for the Azores with two KC-135s – one pathfinder and an extra to tanker us and then return to the East Coast. The flight from Norfolk to the Azores turned out to be my longest A-4 flight at 5.5 hours. We spent the night in Lajes and managed to find the O’Club. Meanwhile the maintenance guys had to try to straighten out a fuel probe or two which became slightly bent during our refueling with the 135s. The drogue on the 135s did not retract like the one on our buddy stores and some of the training command ploughbacks who had joined us had never refueled from anything. They fixed the bent probes by doing some pullups with a few of the heaviest guys.
Next day we launched with loaded guns – the infamous A-4 20 MM. It held a couple of hundred rounds I think, but usually jammed after two – one each side. We were to rendezvous with a bunch of C-130 Marine tankers just outside of Gibraltar. To do so we of course had to descend and slow way down. As we passed by Libya an unnamed JO decided to make sure his guns actually worked. Of course he had to break right and pull up so as not to waste the rounds for the test.
We were heading for the Roosevelt off the coast of Italy.
Aboard Roosevelt we were lucky enough to have another admiral brief us on the final leg of our mission. The most important part of which we all listened to very carefully. Israeli F-4s would escort us from their ADIZ to the intending landing field. We thought Wahoo! – some fighters to eat for lunch. In those days the only time an F4 was nearly invisible was when he was in burner and then he was out of gas. Anyway we launched and let the F4 find us and we landed without incident. I landed last because there was some doubt as to the status of my tailhook. The dashpot did not keep the hook from bouncing (that was the reason for my bolter the night before on Roosevelt – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), so by the time I landed the first two or three aircraft already had the stars & bars painted out and the Star of David as a new marking. When I was taxiing in I saw several gun emplacements with laundry hanging from the AAA barrel. Around the emplacement was a family (No shit – kids were playing in the yard). It seemed to me a family was assigned to provide the manning for this defensive piece of the war. No wonder the Israelis fight so hard – they literally were totally involved.
Next stop was the O’Club. Yep the Israelis followed our USAF flying brethrens’ lead and built the club before the runway. Our short stay at the O’Club was surreal and welcoming and thankful. As we ate the food they laid out for us and did our best to drink all their booze and we chatted with the pilots of the local squadrons. One guy said excuse me in the middle of a conversation and said he had to go brief for the afternoon launch. He had been drinking iced tea. Of course the same guy who took a shot at Muammar Khadafi tried to bribe one of their guys to take him in the back seat of the TA-4 they had. He would have had a better chance if he had been drinking iced tea like they were. We were then bussed over to climb onboard an empty C5 for a free ride to Maguire AFB. After several hours we all woke up and wandered about the aircraft a bit. Some of us ended up hitting baseballs in the cavernous empty space which likely had held needed supplies to prosecute a war just a few hours before. We all made our way home from Andrews by comair and enjoyed our brand new leather jackets. For some reason we did not consider the implications when we were issued new gear without any markings. Thankfully no one had to land someplace embarrassing. Sure enough we were home one week after we left. "Boom" Powell"


04 TA-4J/H

31 A-4N BuNo 159515 thru 159545


11 TA-4J/H BuNo 159546 thru 159556


26 A-4N BuNo 159799 thru 159824


03 TA-4J BuNo 152853, 15500, 153672, 747, 748, 749. Ex-USA - 7 were rejected.

Total Received = 353


155242 155289 48

157395 157428 34

157918 157925 8


157429 157434 6

157926 157929 4

159546 159556 11

159795 159798 4


158726 158743 18

159035 159052 18

159075 159098 24

159515 159545 31

159799 159824 26

See column to the right for more.


A-4E/F former USA Skyhawks:

92 A-4E























































































86 BuNos of 92 received

14 A-4F
















Total Per Type:

02 A-4B (airframes for teaching aids)

92 A-4E

14 A-4F

90 A-4H

117 A-4N

04 TA-4F

10 TA-4H

24 TA-4J

Skyhawk Loses (100+)

Skyhawk lose article.

29JAN68: A-4H #07, 109 SQ Ya'acov Agassi POW

Skyhawk Losses All Causes

31MAY07: A-4N #401, 102 SQ Pilot survived

Skyhawk Sales (50):

1980: 14 A-4E Sold to Indonesia
1980: 2 TA-4H Sold to Indonesia (BuNo 157429 and 157430)
1981: 1 A-4E Sold to Indonesia BuNo151189 which became TT-0441.
1982: 16 A-4E Sold to Indonesia
2000: 4 A-4N (305, 335, 373) Sold to BAE Systems
2001: 10 A-4N (321, 344, 413, ?) Sold to ATSI in USA
2001: 2 TA-4F (748, 749) Sold to ATSI in USA
(Note: These 3 T-birds were never used by IDF and another listing shows them as TA-4Js #747,748,749.)
2001: 1 TA-4J (251) Sold to ATSI in USA

Skyhawk for Israel, 159805 (c/n 14504, IDF/AF 305) has civilian number N431FS reserved for it.
159815 (c/n 14514, IDF/AF 373) has civilian number N434FS reserved for it.
159823 (c/n 14522, IDF/AF) now has civilian number N264WL reserved for it.

Reported Skyhawk retirements:

10 A-4s to the target range.

IAF Museums; A-4E #885, A-4E #891, A-4F #611, A-4H #222, A-4H #230, A-4H #261, A-4H #270, A-4N #230, A-4N #379, TA-4J #747 and #328 at the Ramat David display.

Retired at Hatzerim

Retired at Hatzerim Pic1

Retired at Hatzerim Pic2

Retired at Hatzerim Pic3

Retired at Hatzerim Pic4

"A number of A-4E/H/N aircraft are currently stored at Ovda Air Base, some planes have been used as electronic warfare support aircraft, others have been sold or leased to contractors like ATAC, and as noted earlier, the “Flying Tigers” of 102 Squadron at Hatzerim Air Base still use their A-4Ns and 2-seat TA-4Js for advanced IAF pilot training."<

13 DEC 2015: IAF retires Skyhawk after 48 years in service. (Yoav Zitun. Published: 12.13.15, Israel News)
DEC 2015:

Final formal retirement of the Skyhawk from IDF.

IN the past, in-service with IAF as front-line a/c:

A-4H Ayit

Y1990=135   Y1995=180   Y2000=180   Y2001=180
Y2002=110   Y2006=39   Y2008=39   Y2010=39

TA-4J Ayit

Y1990=17   Y1995=20   Y2000=18   Y2001=17   Y2002=17
Y2006=16   Y2008=16   Y2010=16   Projected Y2015=16    

TA-4H Ayit

Y1990=6   Y1995=10   Y2000=9   Y2001=9   Y2002=9
Y2006=10   Y2008=10   Y2010=10   Projected Y2015=10    


PDF on Israeli AHIT

"Boom" Powell

Amos Dor (Flying-Wing Squadron)

Todd Frommelt

REF: Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units In Combat by Shlomo Aloni. (Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 81) first printed 2009. ISBN 13;978 1 84603 430 5

REF: Skyhawks over Israel by Marco Pennings.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer