Service of Skyhawk with Brazil

Last revised November 16, 2001

With United States cooperation, in 1997 Brazil negotiated a $70 million contract for purchase of twenty A-4KU and three TA-4KUs from Kuwait. These were to serve aboard the Brazilian Nayy's aircraft carrier Minas Gerais. The Minas Gerais was formerly the British Colossus-class aircraft carrier HMS Vengeance. It was acquired from the Royal Navy in December of 1956 and was commissioned in the Brazilian Navy in December of 1960 after being upgraded and modernized in the Netherlands.

The Kuwaiti Skyhawks were selected by Brazil because of low flight time, excellent physical condition, and a favorable price tag. Re-designated AF-1 and AF-1A, respectively, the ex-Kuwaiti Skyhawks arrived in Brazil in early September 1998 and were placed in overhaul maintenance status for significant upgrading.

Initial training of Brazilian Skyhawk pilots was conducted in both Argentina and the United States, the latter by Training Squadron Seven (VT-7) at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi. The Brazilian Navy squadron was 1o Esquadro de Avioes de Interceptacao e Ataque (VFA-1), based at Naval Air Station Sao Pedro d'Aldeia.

The upgrading program is continuing and AF-1 and AF-1A aircraft are currently operational in Brazil. Their serials are N1001 to N1020 for the AF-1s and N1021 through N1023 for the two-seat AF-1As. On January 18, 2001 an AF-1 Skyhawk successfully landed aboard the aircraft carrier Minas Gerais and later successfully catapulted, making Brazil's carrier force operational.


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  2. American Combat Planes, 3rd Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  3. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  4. Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Variant Briefing: Part 1, Harry S. Gann, Wings of Fame, Vol 4, 1996.

  5. Brazilian Navy Gets Wings, Air Forces Monthly, December 1998, p 52