Off the coast of Vietnam. Tonkin Gulf. July 29, 1967. Navy crewmen try to put out a fire aboard the USS Forrestal after an F-4 Phantom accidentally fired a zuni rocket into an A-4 Skyhawk, which caused massive explosions on the aft end of the flight deck. This tragic accidental launch damaged the aircraft and claimed the lives of 134 crewmen.
HMS Ardent (F184) is under constant air attack. Two thousand pound bombs from a lone A-4 Skyhawk, which straddled the frigate and failed to explode. An hour and forty minutes later, a group of three aerocraft attacked; her only weapons that properly reacted were the 20mm AA cannons. Cannon fire and three bombs struck home. Two bombs exploded in the hangar area, destroying her helicopter and blowing the Sea Cat launcher eighty feet into the air before it crashed back down onto the flight deck. The third bomb crashed through the aft auxiliary machinery room, but failed to explode. Though virtually defenceless but still in full control of steering, Ardent moved toward Port San Carlos. However, twenty minutes later five more Skyhawks attacked with free-fall and retard bombs. An undetermined number of those penetrated the ship and failed to explode.
Stopped in the Grantham Sound, the fires on Ardent’s stern were now out of control. With the ship listing heavily, Commander Alan West ordered abandon ship; and HMS Yarmouth came alongside to take off survivors.
The last man to leave was her captain, who was awarded the DSC, and served as First Sea Lord from 2002-2006.
At 6:30 AM on 22 May, she finally sank. Twenty-two men were killed.
AB(S) Derek Armstrong Lt Cdr Richard Banfield AB(S) Andrew Barr POAEM(M) Peter Brouard CK Richard Dunkerley ALCK Michael Foote MEM(M)2 Stephen Ford ASTD Shaun Hanson AB(S) Shaun Hayward AB(EW) Stephen Heyes WEM-R-1 Simon Lawson MEM(M)2 Alistair Leighton AEM-R-1 Allan McAulay ALS-R- Michael Mullen LT Brian Murphy LPT Gary Nelson APOWEM-R- Andrew Palmer CK John Roberts LT CDR John Sephton DSC (posthumous) ALMEM(M) Stephen White LMEM(L) Garry Whitford MEM(M)1 Gilbert Williams
A TA-4K Skyhawk aircraft of the 75th Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force, evades simulated anti-aircraft missiles at the Crow Valley Electronic Warfare Tactical Range, the Philippines, during Exercise Cope Thunder, Sept. 10, 1984. U.S. Department of Defense photo
16 June 1988: an unknown RNZAF A-4 Skyhawk pilot tried to takeoff with the parking brake on. He got up to 80 knots before deciding something was wrong and aborting the takeoff.
Note: RNZAF A-4 pilots usually did the 85% manual fuel check with the park brake on. They released brakes to commence takeoff roll by flicking park brake switch off and going to MIL power. Incidentally there was a red brake warning light on the glare shield which was on whenever the park brake was on, so he missed that in his takeoff roll checks as well (one of the checks is “check all warning lights off”).
Both wheels were locked, but only this one burst. The other one must have rotated a bit. He had a centre line 400gal drop tank on which would have probably been full (2600lbs). It must have had very slow acceleration which should have been a warning sign.