Thursday, 13 December 2007

Could Skyhawks form a privateers' Air Force?

Well, why not?

Given that it's now obvious that no other Air Force is either able or willing to buy NZ's former Air Force Skyhawks; and given that they've now been shrink-wrapped in latex  so they can be parked outside in the rain; and given that they've cost taxpayers $8 million to store since the Clark Government decided they didn't have a country worth defending and didn't need a fighter wing to defend it ... given all that, why not sell the machines to enthusiasts around the country who already own several of the world's great fighter jets, most of whom are considerably more patriotic than the ministers of the Clark Government, and all of whom realise that a country like ours is worth defending and desperately in need of a rational defence policy-- and would probably be only to happy to have their planes used  as part of a privateers' Air Force.

How 'bout it?

Congratulations to Heather Roy for the suggestion.  Hat tip to Whale Oil for the news. Tags: ,


  1. In true league-fan style: "Maaaate!"

  2. These aircraft are A-4K Skyhawks. The "K" designation means they have been fitted with modern avionics kit from the latest of the F-16s. That means they have HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) complete with side-stick control and all the weapons guidance & delivery systems from the F-16 as well. Hence these aircraft can't be easily sold.

    Don't forget that the NZ govt is a signatory to the Wassenar Agreement. The A4K has several of the items mentioned on the critical technologies list appended to that agreement. Consequently it would require the US government (and others) to agree to any sale of the aircraft. They would need to approve of the purchasing party. One could surmise that the US do not want just anyone to get hold of their ordinance guidance technologies!

    It appears that several individuals (some ex-RNZAF) have already approached the govt about a sale, only to be told that the avionics kit would need to be removed. That's a major job which would probably cost more than the value of the airframe (assuming you can still get all the parts to restore those aircraft to steam guage instruments and control).

    A private airforce would be a good idea but the government is hardly likely to countenance that- especially when the owners of said private airforce might well conclude that the government is itself a threat to the nation.


  3. You make two excellent points, Flyboy.

    The first is disappointing to hear.

    The second is revealing.


  4. There is something disturbingly Freudian about those planes wrapped in latex!


  5. I would fart in public for a ride in one of those babies!

  6. If not for military, strip them done so you can fit a compartment for a passenger (and bog) and fly wealthy businesspeople at Mach 2 across the Pacific. After all, you just need a bunk, air con, a bog, a drinks fridge

    and before any aviation fans tell me why not, don't bother - I already know (range, FAA approvals etc etc), but I'm enjoying the sun in Manly and am entitled to such flippant fun while checking work emails.

  7. To a sex maniac, everything is disturbingly Freudian..;-)
    Psych is showing patient Rorsasch blots.."now, what does this remind you of?"
    Patient: huge boobs.
    Psych: and this?
    Patient:long, tanned thighs
    Psych: ok, I've analysed your problem--you're a sex maniac.
    Patient It's not my fault--you keep showing me these dirty pictures!

  8. libertyscott

    A4 Skyhawks are ground attack aircraft (hence the lable "A" for attack and not "F" for fighter). They do not have Mach 2 capability.

    No military fighter aircraft or ground attack aircraft have the ability to cruise at Mach 2. They cruise at sub-sonic speeds. The ability to go supersonic is a "dash" capability only. For example, at sea level the Tomcat can go supersonic for about 9 minutes before exhausting its fuel. At altitude it can stay supersonic for longer, but the capability is limited. With the exception of the F22 (which is able to supercruise at ~ Mach 1.4) the situation is the same for all military aircraft.

    Concorde was a super achievement, one which has not been properly appreciated.


  9. cheers flyboy, always good to learn more. I never profess to know much about military aviation

  10. Flyboy said...
    With the exception of the F22...

    Flyboy, is F22, the new stealth plane that is going to replace the F15 combat fighter? Is it operational yet or are they still developing it?

  11. Falafulu Fisi

    The F22 Raptor is the air-superiority fighter. It supercedes F-16, F-15 and a number of other types. It is to dominate the air combat arena, demolishing any and all opposition set against it.

    The airframe is "stealthy" and features low observability form allied to RAM (radar absorbent materials). A lot of detail design features (such as edge treatments for hull openings) is directed to eliminate radar return as far as possible. Weapons systems are conformal to aid performance and also to minimise return.

    One major advantage for F-22 is its avionics kit. The radar system is a phased array type with significant on-board computing and analysis capability. It represents a two generational improvement over what has been fitted to previous fighter aircraft. The result is that the first evidence an enemy fighter encounters of an F-22 in the locale is his own death.

    F-22 has super-cruise capability such that it can get to a combat area twice as fast as any other fighter aircraft (or bomber).

    Flyboy does not recommend air to air combat against F-22s,even if you are flying a JSF.

  12. Rebel Radius

    You have good taste. An A4 is a real pleasure to fly. Heineman's hot rod is agile and responsive. It remains impressive, even today. Heineman got it right (he even wrote a book about how to design aircraft like this one).

    Fly it fast, fly it low!


  13. Michael Fasher16 Dec 2007, 16:16:00

    The f22 can super cruise without afterburners at up to mach 1.58.Its cobat radius is over 100 km with half the time at super cruise,The Australian airforce Mirage 3s demonstratedmach 1.3 super cruise as far back as 1963 with no external stores but most aircraft cant so in real terms the sky hawk isnt realy much slower than more modern aircraft

  14. Michael Fasher16 Dec 2007, 16:22:00

    Add another zero to that combat radius estimate

  15. Michael

    How long can a Mirage 3 without external stores maintain M1.3?


  16. Sorry Flyboy but the A4K has nothing to do with the upgrade they had. A4K was the designation given to New Zealand Skyhawks back when they arrived in the early 1970's. K for Kiwi I believe.
    From memory we got 10 A4K's and 2 TA4K's and later got 10 A4G's from Australia. All of those were upgraded to there present form.
    It was a sad day when they were withdrawn from service.
    I lived in Marton for 19 years and always smiled when the A4's and the old Strikemasters would fly overhead.


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