Watch: F-22 Raptor chases down an A-4 Skyhawk – A-4 runs for the hills as an F-22 hunts it down
This was a routine combat air patrol including 4 F-22s and 4 F-15s. The single raptor descended from 40,000ft to engage 2 low flying A-4s.
If you look closely around 27 seconds, the raptor weapons bay is closing. Towards the end when the raptor goes behind the mountain, you can hear “good kill” called on the radio.
No one would contend that the long dated A-4 Skyhawk is a reasonable match for America’s best air superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, but U.S. pilots need experience contending with a wide variety of opponent aircraft — including dated platforms like those employed by many national militaries.
That sort of training is why the U.S. Navy maintains “aggressor” fleets of aircraft used specifically as mock enemies in air combat training. The A-4, which first took to the skies in the 1950s, survives to this day as an aggressor aircraft with an unusual mix of classic and modern trappings — thanks to upgraded pulse doppler radar, mutli-function displays, radar warning receiver, heads up display and other new doodads meant to make the old fighter into a more modern competitor.
Of course, all the upgrades in the world won’t give the A-4 the advantage over the stealthy and capable F-22 Raptor — and about 2/3 of the way through this video that becomes apparent.
As the Raptor, hunting overhead spots the A-4 flying up and over a ridge line, you really do get the sense that the older aircraft is running for its life — even if the missiles fired by the F-22 are nothing more than notional.
I’m pretty sure most of you remember the Top Gun movie scenes with the F-14 Tomcats dog-fighting with A-4 Skyhawks around mountains. Those scenes were shot around NAS Fallon, Nevada, not too far from where the footage below has been filmed some 30 years later.