Submitted to the design competition in 1952 for replacing the aging, propeller-driven AD ''Skyraider'', the shockingly diminutive entry submitted by Douglas Aircraft, the A-4 ''Skyhawk'' won easily. Designed by a team headed by their star designer, Ed Heinemann, who coincidentally, designed the Skyraider as well, the A-4 was up to the challenge of performing carrier-based attack missions, is spite of its small size.
The A-4 was a favorite of pilots that flew it and it was a natural for the Navy's famed flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, because of its power and high maneuverability. One of the many nicknames affectionately bestowed by pilots upon the A-4, and the one heard most often, ''Scooter'' alluded to both its speed and agility. A supremely simple design, the A-4 was easy to maintain and cheap to buy, making it a sought-after aircraft by many air forces around the globe and an income producing marvel for Douglas, later McDonnell-Douglas.