The A-4 Skyhawk became a classic of Navy avaition, but it began as an extraordinary design. Douglas' famous Edward Heinemann created the Skyhawk at one-half the weight allowed. When the "Bantam Bomber" was ordered in 1952, it was remarkably light though nothing had been stripped from the design or left out. Iw was so small that it did not require folding wings aboard carriers, the Skyhawk was easy to fly amd an effective attack aircraft.
In Vietnam, Skyhawks preformed traditional bombing and other duties, such as "Iron Hand" missions against North Vietnamese surface-to-air missiles sites.
Intended for production from 1954 until 1957, the Skyhawk was produced for another 26 years, in many variants. Significant numbers were exported, some operating from land bases. More recently, retired ex-Navy aircraft have been refurbished and sold overseas. Malaysia and Singapore operate updated former USN machines, while New Zealand has upgraded A-4s delivered new in the 1970s.