Douglas F4D Skyray

The Douglas F4D Skyray (Eng. sky rays) a carrier-based fighter aircraft of the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1954.


Based on the German experience with delta wings designed Douglas 1947 a supported interceptor with such a wing design. The draft was approved on 16 December 1948 a contract for the procurement of two prototypes XF4D -1. The first flew on 23 January 1951, an Allison J35 -A -17 turbojet engine with 2.270kp thrust, but this was a temporary solution, since the completion of the originally intended Westinghouse J40 had delayed. Later, both prototypes were XJ40 -WE -6 ( 3.175 kgf ) or XJ40 -WE -8 ( 5,265 kp with afterburner ). Persistent problems with this engine finally led to the decision to convert the machines on the now proven Pratt & Whitney J57.

The pattern was as F4D -1 " Skyray " in series. The Skyray was designed as a cantilever mid -wing aircraft with a delta wing and elevon control. The delta wing had rounded wingtips, the air intakes of the engine were housed in the wing root. The machine had fuel tanks in the wings and the fuselage. The fin was swept back, the pilot sat far forward of the wing and therefore had a good all-round visibility. Armed was the Skyray with four 20 -mm cannon and up to 1500 kg external loads on six underwing stations, including two AIM-9 Sidewinder guided missiles.

Although the aircraft was only a short time in the service and was never used in combat, it showed great potential. Already the second prototype presented on with 1211.746 km / h world speed record for carrier-based aircraft on October 3, 1953. The first aircraft to the U.S. Navy, it was able to keep Mach 1 in level flight.

The first production aircraft F4D -1 flew on 5 June 1954, the J57 -P -2 ( 6.125kp with afterburner ), but the delivery of the series machines was delayed until April 1956. Later the series machines were given J57 -P -8 engines, without the type designation of the aircraft was changed.

As the first season, the VC -3 was equipped with the F4D -1 in April 1956. It was later renamed VFAW -3 and assumed as the only squadron of the U.S. Navy NORAD. VFAW -3 was stationed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) North Iceland in San Diego. The following USN squadrons flew the F4D: VFAW -3, VF -13, VF -23, VF -51, VF -74, VF -101, VF -102, VF -141, VF -162, VF -213, VF - 881 and VF- 882nd The Skyray was also flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, as the squadrons VMF -113, VMF -114, VMF -115, VMF -215, VMF -314, VMF -513, VMF -531 and VMF - 542. Until the end of production in December 1958 a total of 420 F4D -1 were built. In September 1962, she was reclassified in accordance with the amendment to the Marine type scheme as F- 6A. At this time only the squadrons flew VFAW -3, VMF -114, VMF -531 and VMF (AW) -542 and VMF -215 Reserve Steffeln, VF -881 and VF -882, the Skyray. As last season took VMF (AW) -542, the F4D - 1 to February 1964, which were called by their pilots lovingly Ford.

The striking appearance made ​​the F4D one of the most famous early jet aircraft. She had an excellent rate of climb with a huge angle of climb and set a new world altitude records. The Skyray was developed as an interceptor height, but it was used as a multifunctional fighter. An aircraft ( BuNo 134759 ) went to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics ( NACA ) and was used until 1959 there.

The planned successor Douglas F5D Skylancer only reached the prototype stage. He was abandoned in favor of the Chance Vought F8U.



  • Four 20- mm Colt Mk 12 cannons
  • Two Sidewinder missiles
  • 6 x missile package (7 x 70 mm)
  • Two 907 -kg bombs (a total of 1814 kg weapons load possible)