in detaiI & scale . Bert Kinzey.
KYRAIDER in detai I & 'scale Bert Kinzey
COPYRIGHT 2003 BY DETAIL & SCALE, INC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, on transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, without the written consent of the publisher. This book is a product of Detail & Scale, Inc., which has sole responsibility for its content and layout, except that all contributors are responsible for the security clearance and copyright release of all materials they submit. Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, Texas 75011.
CONTRIBUTORS AND SOURCES Walt Fink Ed Barthelmes Bob Bartolacci Larry Webster Rick Wilkes Bill Hardman U. S. Navy Don Harris National Museum of Naval Aviation U. S. Air Force Museum National Archives Still Picture Division Detail & Scale, Inc. and the author express a sincere word of thanks to the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, Florida, for their help with the research and photography for this publication. In particular, Hill Goodspeed deserves acknowledgement for his assistance while the author researched photographic files on the Skyraider. Bill Johnson, Lloyd Hayslip, and Bill Hallstead were instrumental in helping the author gain access to the A-1 Hand EA-1 F on display at the museum for the purpose of detailed photography. Special thanks is also expressed to \/Valt Fink, a former Skyraider pilot with the United States Navy, and Ed Barthelmes for their help. Both Walt and Ed answered dozens of questions and provided considerable help and support during the development of this publication. D~DICATION:
TO DON HARRIS Don Harris was a good friend who passed away shortly after completing a model for review in this book. He is truly missed.
Front Cover: AD-7, BuNo. 142012, was assigned to VA115 when it was photographed taxiing forward on the wooden flight deck of USS SHANGRI-LA, CVA-38, in February 1960. Small practice bombs are attached to two of its wing pylons. Notice the three F11F-1 Tiger jet fighters in the background. Each is armed with two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. (NMNA) Rear Cover: The instrument panel in the A-1H on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation remains as it was when the aircraft was turned over to the museum. This aircraft flew the last combat mission by a Skyraider in Vietnam. Additional color photographs taken of this cockpit can be found on pages 44 and 45. (NMNA)
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Night attack versions were developed from the AD-3, AD4, and AD-5 variants of the Skyraider and were identified with an uN" suffix added to their designations. This AD4N has the standard external stores for these night attack aircraft including an AN/APS-31 radar pod under the right wing and a searchlight-sonobouy/f1are dispenser under the left. (National Archives) In the years immediately following World War II, the turbojet engine offered significantly increased performance for military aircraft. Accordingly, most new designs for combat aircraft featured these new powerplants. Those which still utilized piston engines turning propellers were few in numbers and usually did not make it past the design or prototype stage. The small number that did actually enter operational service usually experienced a very short service life before being replaced with more capable jet p.owered designs. The Douglas Skyraider, affectionately known as the Spad by those who flew and serviced it, beat the long odds faced by a propeller driven combat aircraft entering service in the late 1940s. It remained in operational service with the United States Navy for two decades. During those years, it proved to be one of the most effective and versatile combat aircraft in military aviation history. Seven major series, including twenty-eight sub-variants, were produced. Designed primarily as an attack aircraft which would replace both dive and torpedo bombers, versions were produced with specialized electronic equipment to serve in the night attack, electronic countermeasures (ECM), early warning (EW), and anti-submarine (ASW) roles. Kits supplied with the AD-5 further added to the Skyraider's versatility. One permitted this version to fly as a carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft carrying up to twelve people, while a second COD kit allowed four passengers to be transported in addition to the pilot and a fifth passenger in the front cockpit. Other kits allowed cargo or extra fuel tanks to be carried in the center fuselage section. Skyraiders also served as airborne tankers, transferring fuel to other aircraft through the use of a buddy refueling store on the centerline station. At the same time the Skyraider was entering service, the newly formed United States Air Force was all but ignoring the future needs of conventional warfare. Instead, the Air Force concentrated on nuclear war, designing long range bombers
to deliver atomic bombs anywhere on the globe. To defend North America from enemy bombers, jet interceptors were developed. Fighter-bombers also became operational with the U. S. Air Force but these were primarily designed to deliver tactical nuclear weapons or use conventional bombs and missiles to destroy point targets like bridges, buildings, and airfields. Even after the Korean War clearly demonstrated that conventional wars could and would be fought, the short-sighted Air Force leadership failed to develop an attack aircraft optimized for the close air support (CAS)mission. The lack of an attack aircraft came back to haunt the Air Force as the United States became increasingly involved in Vietnam. As a result, the Air Force found itself acquiring Navy Skyraiders for its own use and for the Republic of Vietnam. The Air Force also developed its own version of the Navy's A-7 Corsair II attack aircraft during the war in Vietnam, and its leadership finally recognized the need for this type of plane. This eventually led to the development of the A-1 0 Warthog, the first attack aircraft designed for the Air Force since World War II. On the pages that follow is a detailed look at the Douglas AD Skyraider. Although many references have been written about the Skyraider, a special effort has been made to use as many photographs as possible which have never or seldom been published before. Many of the photos of details were taken specifically for this publication. An effort has also been made to show features and aspects of the Skyraider that have not been illustrated in other publications. Examples are the COD and ambulance kits used with the AD-5. In September 1962, aircraft designations in use with the U. S. military were standardized. This caused a change in the designations used for the versions of the Skyraider still in service at that time. This change meant that all of the AD-5 variants and the subsequent AD-6 and AD-7 Skyraiders were assigned new designations, and this can cause some confusion and problems in a publication that covers the entire operational life of the aircraft. In this book the original AD designations are used in general discussions about the aircraft. In specific cases, both in the text and in captions, the designation used is the appropriate one for the time period being discussed or illustrated.
The first XBT2D-1, BuNo. 09085, flies in a natural metal finish in 1945. (National Archives) When the United States entered World War II, the primary dive bomber in Navy squadrons was the Douglas SBD Dauntless. This aircraft made history in June 1942 when it was responsible for sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers and thus winning the decisive Battle of Midway. Throughout the war, Dauntlesses were in operation against the enemy, although they were replaced in front line squadrons by the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver later in the war. Six months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy had issued a contract to Douglas to design a replacement for the Dauntless. Designated the XSB2D-1, two protoypes for the new scout/dive bomber were produced, with the first flight taking place on April 8, 1943. Prior to World War II, the U. S. Navy had used three primary types of aircraft in its carrier air groups. Fighters were charged with defending the fleet from air attack as well as escorting bombers to and from their targets. Scout/dive bombers were the eyes of the fleet, scouting over the horizon beyond visual and radar range of the ships. They also delivered their bombs with a high degree of accuracy as they dove on their targets. The third type of aircraft was the torpedo bomber which could also be used as a horizontal bomber armed with conventional free-fall bombs. During World War II, the fighters became larger and heavier, and they too were used to carry bombs and rockets to attack surface targets while still performing their primary
air-to-air roles. The F6F Hellcat was also used for tests with aerial torpedos. The versatility demonstrated by the larger fighters caused the Navy to change its way of thinking about dive and torpedo bombers. Before the XSB2D-1 reached the production stage, the Navy issued a request for proposals for a new type of aicraft that would take the place of both dive and torpedo bomber types: The new aircraft was to be a singleengine, single-seat design. It was to carry its ordnance, including bombs, rockets, and torpedoes, externally. Additional requirements stipulated that the aircraft be able to take off in a shorter distance than existing designs, climb faster, carry a heavier payload, and have a greater combat radius. The only way to meet these demands was to design an aircraft with increased power, less weight, and more lift. Martin, Curtiss, and Kaiser Fleetwings all submitted proposals to these specifications, and Boeing also developed a design called the XF8B-1 which had one seat and one...