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Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk armed with torpedoes

Pioneer

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G'day gents

I've just been surfing the net looking for the gutted A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk which was used by the USN for recruiting purposes, when I came across this picture of a Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) BuNo 137818, which looks like its dropping an air-to-surface launched lightweight torpedo! Can anyone shed more light on this? Is it a torpedo? Did the USN conduct trials of the Skyhawk conducting ASW support missions? Does anyone have any more pictures of these trials or Skyhawks armed with torpedoes??

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  • Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk ((BuNo 137818) test dropping an ASW torpedo.jpg
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Jemiba

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Tailspin Turtle

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I'm pretty sure that this was not development and qualification of the Skyhawk's ability to drop torpedoes but development and qualification of high-speed/altitude carry and drop of the torpedo itself. The A4D-1s were not in great demand after the subsequent variants became available but were useful for test scenarios like this. (Note that 137818 was the seventh A4D-1 produced and a Douglas flight test article so it was probably not suited to even a training role.)

A torpedo attack on a surface ship would have been inadvisable relative to the use of other weapons (because of the speed of the torpedo relative to the ship, a successful attack requires the simultaneous drop of a spread of torpedoes so the ship can't avoid them all). I vaguely remember discussion about the use of the A4D as a pouncer in an ASW application (some ASW carriers deployed with a detachment of Sidewinder-armed A-4s for fighter cover) but the torpedo is not listed as an ordnance option on early A4D SACs.
 

Pioneer

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Thank you very much for your prompt reply + pics gents!!

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