I'm having trouble identifying a jet and am hoping someone can provide some help. Here is the best picture I've been able to capture.


The closest similar jet I've been able to find is the A-4 Skyhawk, which shares many of its features, but even in looking through the variants, I can't find an exact match.

The next two pictures aren't as clear, but they show the profile and wing shape, respectively.

profile wing shape

There are three features I've noticed which set it apart from the A-4 variants I've found.

  1. Wing shape - It's very curvy, almost Concorde-like.
  2. Vertical stabilizer - The forward section of the top of the vertical stabilizer is very sharp, whereas on the A-4's I've seen, this is curved.
  3. Antennae - There are two antennae; one swept-back antenna directly behind the cockpit and a vertical antenna farther back where the vertical stabilizer begins.

I appreciate any guidance you can provide. Thank you.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Later-model A-4s (H+, maybe earlier?) had a squared off tail. Antennae aren't the best way to distinguish aircraft, fwiw, as they can be easily added or removed later in life. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 5:20

4 Answers 4


They are A-4 Skyhawks all right. They are operated by Draken International and provide adversary training for USAF (among others); here's a closeup photo of them.

A-4 adversary

Image from edwards.af.mil

  • $\begingroup$ That is indeed it. Thank you for your thorough answer. $\endgroup$
    – cokeman19
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ For completeness, the two depicted appear to be a TA-4(?) and an A-4M: that hump in the back (the one on the right) is a distinctive feature of the A-4M (aka Mongoose IIRC). $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 15:09

Those are Draken International A-4K KAHU Skyhawks, based of of Lakeland regional airport. They have 8 or 9 of them, unfortunately, one was lost last year outside Las Vegas. They are former Royal New Zealand Air Force strike fighters.

These are not your typical A-4 Skyhawk - they are true wolves in sheep's clothing. They have the HOTAS, MFD, radar, and war computers of an F-16 Falcon. Project KAHU was undertaken in late 1980's to early 1990's. All of New Zealand's Skyhawks had their air frames zeroed and then brought into a generation 3+ strike/fighter, almost a 4 a few weapons shy. However with a software upgrade they could have carried the AIM-120 BVR air-to-air missile. But she could carry all the other air to air or mud moving gear of the F-16.

The ones with a hump and tail extension were acquired from another contractor that was bought out by Draken. Those are H models from the IDF.

enter image description here

A-4K Showing the underside, with some Sidewinder and Maverick missiles.

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All the assembled A-4Ks and TA-4Ks one T-Bird was lost.

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A-4 Skyhawk over Christchurch, NZ

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! This is good info! Please provide sources or citations for the photos. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, welcome to Aviation.SE!! What does "almost a 4 a few weapons shy" mean? Looks like you were busy typing away and forgot to complete your thought. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan: In context, "3rd generation, almost a 4" probably refers to jet fighter generations $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ a generation 3 fighter is an aircraft like the F-4 Phantom, A-7 Corsair. Aircraft that have air to air and air to ground capabilities with active radar, active ECM and can carry a oat all weapon systems available to NATO or NATO friendly air forces. The A-4 K carried the same version of radar as the F-16. $\endgroup$
    – None
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 17:26

It's the two-seat training version of the Skyhawk. You can see this in the photo: there are two pilots seated in tandem.

According to the A4 Skyhawk Association, there were several two seat models built:

U.S. versions of the two-seat Skyhawk were the TA-4E, quickly changed to TA-4F, the TA-4J, and two special variants, the OA-4M and EA-4F.

Export variations of the two-seater were TA-4G {Australia), TA-4H (Israel), TA-4K (New Zealand), TA-4KU (Kuwait), TA-4PTM (Malaysia), and TA-4S (Singapore).

The ones shown above are probably the US version.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Any chance you could link a source for this? It's not that I doubt you, it's just good to cite sources on questions like this. $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 5:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes of course, added links. I am new here :) $\endgroup$
    – stackex555
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent! Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 20:42

Looks to be a pair of T-A4K Skyhawks carrying a center-line droptank


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