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Skyhawk returns home 18 years later

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 24, 2012
RAAF members unload a TA-4 Skyhawk from a C-17A following its delivery from Christchurch. The former RAN and RNZAF fighter will go on display at the Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum near Nowra. (Department of Defence)

A former RAN TA-4G Skyhawk is returning to Australia nearly 20 years after it was sold to New Zealand, and will take up its new home at the Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum.

The McDonnell Douglas built aircraft, serial No. N13-154911, served with the RAN’s No. 724 SQN from 1967 until 1984, when it was retired following the decommissioning of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and sold to New Zealand. It served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as TA-4K NZ6255 until New Zealand stood down its air combat force in 2001.

The aircraft was was donated to the Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum by the New Zealand government and ferried from Christchurch to HMAS Albatross on Friday using a RAAF C-17A belonging to the 36SQN. It will now be reassembled prior to going on display at the museum near Nowra on the NSW south coast.

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Comments (9)

  • Blind Monkey


    Talk about the wheel of life doing a full circle. The A4s should never have been sold to NZ in the first place, only to be wet leased back and stationed at Nowra for fleet support work paid for by Australian tax payers. NZ now days has only a token ‘defence’ force unable to defend itself, instead prefering to rely on Australia and the USA to cary the human and fiscal load instead. Today we have a RAN lacking in aviation capability, unable to effectively project airpower to protect an Australian expeditionary force. A dumb decission by the Hawke Labor Government.

  • MICK


    It would be fantasic if we could get one of them back in the air! They were still in airworthy state when the Kiwi’s retired them, and i know that they did a lot of work on their Macchi’s to keep them in flyable state even though they were mothballed, be interesting to see what condition the A4’s are in. That would be an awesome warbird to see cutting through our skies!!

  • Wayne


    Here we go again the shortsightedness of the ditherers rectified at great cost years later. Let’s hope that
    the A-4 single seater stays at a good home for the pleasure of many,,,

  • Andy


    NZDF a joke Helen Clark really stuffed things up; The Skyhwks should never have been grounded, they should still be flying NZ friendly skies, along with F-16 New Zealand was meant to getting! If National Government have their way we wont have an Air Force, let alone an army or navy.
    Why didnt the Australian governnent buy the Skyhawks? they were going very cheap and a good match for the F-18s

  • Dean


    Image caption: “The former RAAF and RNZAF fighter”, shouldn’t that be “The former RAN and RNZAF fighter”?

    • australianaviation.com.au


      Oops, thanks

  • jason C


    As a Kiwi Im gutted that we have lost our Combat Wing and our beloved Skyhawks but Im glad that this TBird has gone back to OZ to where it belongs and while I hate reading comments about the state of our forces I do agree with them but things are improving and hopefully we can start punching above our weight just as our Skyhawks did years ago

  • Peter


    Hi Mick

    Collings Foundation has two privately owned A-4B and TA-4J flying. You can research the history of the TA-4J variant at http://www.collingsfoundation.org.

    They operate an unforgettable Flight Training Program that anyone’s interested in flying the aircraft and they also do flight training program in the F-4D Phantom for the Vietnam Memorial Flight which I thought WOW you have the opportunity to have a joyride in one of those great aircraft.

    Collings Foundation is not the only one. Pride Aircraft, Inc. from Rockford, Illinois US with their two Su-27UB Flanker-Cs ex-Ukrainian Air Force, Northrop/Canadair CF-5D Freedom Fighter ex-Canadian Air Force and L-39 Albatross jet trainers. Also the US has heaps of privately owned series of MiG-21s, MiG-23UM, and three MiG-29UB Fulcrums privately owned.


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