The TA-4J was a two-seat trainer version of the Skyhawk that was intended as a replacement for the Grumman TF-9J Cougar. The TA-4J was ordered in 1968 to provide advanced training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots.
The TA-4J was basically identical in structure to the earlier TA-4F, but differed in having a lot of the tactical weapons systems removed. The ability to use the inflight buddy refuelling pod was deleted, but the midair refueling probe was retained. The outer underwing pylons were removed, reducing the number of pylons to three. The deletion of the offensive weapons capability resulted in a reduction in the empty weight of 230 pounds. A lower-rated J52-P-6 engine was installed, rated at 8500 lb.s.t. The twin 20-mm cannon were retained, but one or both of these guns were usually removed in the field.
The TA-4Js were painted in a white with red trim painting scheme, which replaced the grey and white scheme of fleet Skyhawks.
The TA-4J flew for the first time on December 17, 1968. It entered service with VT-21 in mid 1969. The primary role of the TA-4J was to train carrier pilots. A total of 226 TA-4Js were built. Many TA-4F airframes were converted to TA-4J configuration by removal of their offensive weapons systems. Several TA-4Js were used in support roles, including that of adversary aircraft.
155070/155071 Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk 155070 converted to TA-4J 155072/155119 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk 156891/156950 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk 158073/158147 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk 158453/158527 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk 158712/158723 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk 159099/159104 Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk