by Tommy H. Thomason

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

AD Armor-All

The question comes up from time to time about the presence and effectivity of the exernal "armor" on the AD (A-1) Skyraider. This is evident as clearly scabbed-on plates on the forward fuselage sides and belly.

The additional shrapnel protection actually dates back to early 1952 and was retrofitted to AD-3 and AD-4 Skyraiders as described in this May 1953 Naval Aviation News article.
(If you click on the image and then double-click—for a Mac—or right click to "view" it, it gets bigger.)

This was the kit, as shown on the AD-6 Standard Aircraft Characteristics chart:
 
 It should be noted that this kit was in addition to the basic protection provided:

One way to tell if an AD has the deflector plate kit added is the step on the side of the fuselage. If it's a kick-in door, it hasn't been; if it's external, like a little ledge, then it has been.

An AD-4 that does not have the  kit:

An AD-6 with the kit:
Crop from a Pete Bulban photograph

One AD configuration for the nuclear-strike mission was to remove the deflector plate kit, the AERO pylons on the outboard wing panels, at least two of the 20mm cannon, and anything else not mission-critical that added weight and/or drag and cover any holes with speed tape.

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