Newly refurbished A-4 goes on show in Buenos Aires museum
On 18 September a newly restored, 65-year-old Douglas A-4B Skyhawk was unveiled at the Museo Nacional de Aeronáutica (National Aeronautics Museum) in the city of Morón, Buenos Aires. This historic fighter-bomber flew for the first time in February 1958, serving with the US Navy with BuNo 142688 until it was removed from active service in the mid-1960s. Acquired by the Argentinean Air Force in 1965 as part of a batch of 50 A-4Bs, it arrived in the country a year later, receiving the serial C-207, and was pressed into service immediately, assigned to V Brigada Aérea stationed at Villa Reynolds Air Base in San Luis Province.
With the outbreak of the Falklands conflict on 2 April 1982, C-207 was assigned to combat operations and completed 14 sorties. On 25 May it took part on the attack on the Royal Navy destroyers HMS Broadsword and HMS Coventry. Two days later, the aircraft was damaged during an attack on ground positions in San Carlos Water, which knocked out its radio, some of the flight instruments and the nose undercarriage door, but, despite the damage, the aircraft landed safely at its Rio Gallegos base in Santa Cruz Province.
After the war, C-207 received the same upgrades as the rest of the Skyhawks in Argentinean service, including replacement of the original Colt 20mm cannon with a pair of 30mm DEFA cannon and updated navigational equipment. Retired from service in late 1998, it was flown to the museum at Morón together with A-4C C-322, the pair being exhibited together in the main hall for many years, wearing dark brown and dark green camouflage on the upper surfaces and a light grey finish on the lower fuselage.
The restoration team comprised a mixture of museum personnel, volunteers and a group of scale modellers, who were able to re-create the paint scheme and insignia the aircraft wore during the conflict. Retired Cdre Jorge ‘Bam Bam’ Barrionuevo, who flew C-207 as a young ensign during the attack on HMS Coventry, was invited to paint the final insignia on his former mount.