LTV A-7 Corsair II
LTV A-7 Corsair II is an American carrier-capable subsonic light
attack aircraft manufactured by
Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) to replace the
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. Its airframe design was a somewhat smaller
version of the supersonic
Vought F-8 Crusader. The Corsair II
initially entered service with the
United States Navy
United States Navy (USN) during the
Vietnam War. It was later adopted by the United States Air Force
(USAF), including the Air National Guard, to replace the Douglas A-1
Skyraider and North American F-100 Super Sabre. The aircraft was also
exported to Greece in the 1970s, and to Portugal in the late 1980s.
1 Design and development
2 Operational history
2.1 Southeast Asia carrier use
United States Air Force
United States Air Force A-7D
2.3 A-7E development
2.4 Post-Vietnam era
2.4.1 Air National Guard
2.4.2 Grenada and Lebanon
2.4.4 Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
2.4.5 Use in F-117 development
2.5 Training and retirement
5 Aircraft on display
6 Specifications (A-7E)
7 See also
9 External links
Design and development
In 1962, the
United States Navy
United States Navy (USN) began preliminary work on the
VAX (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Experimental), a replacement for the
A-4 Skyhawk with greater range and payload. Particular emphasis was
placed on accurate delivery of weapons to reduce the cost per target.
The requirements were finalized in 1963, announcing the VAL
(Heavier-than-air, Attack, Light) competition.
To minimize costs, all proposals had to be based on existing designs.
Vought, Douglas Aircraft,
Grumman and North American Aviation
Vought proposal was based on the successful
Crusader fighter, having a similar configuration, but shorter and more
stubby, with a rounded nose. It was selected as the winner on 11
February 1964, and on 19 March the company received a contract for the
initial batch of aircraft, designated A-7. In 1965, the aircraft
received the popular name Corsair II, after Vought's highly successful
F4U Corsair of World War II. (There was also a Vought
O2U Corsair biplane scout and observation aircraft in the 1920s.)
The first A-7 mock-up in 1964
Compared to the F-8 fighter, the A-7 had a shorter, broader fuselage.
The wing had a longer span, and the unique, variable incidence feature
of the F-8 wing was omitted. To achieve the required range, the A-7
was powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan producing
11,345 lbf (50.5 kN) of thrust, the same innovative
combat turbofan produced for the
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark and
Grumman F-14 Tomcats, but without the afterburner needed for
VA-147 was the first operational USN A-7 squadron, in 1967.
The aircraft was fitted with an
AN/APQ-116 radar, later followed by
the AN/APQ-126, which was integrated into the ILAAS digital navigation
system. The radar also fed a digital weapons computer which made
possible accurate delivery of bombs from a greater stand-off distance,
greatly improving survivability compared with faster platforms such as
the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. It was the first U.S. aircraft
to have a modern head-up display, (made by Marconi-Elliott), now a
standard instrument which displayed information such as dive angle,
airspeed, altitude, drift and aiming reticle. The integrated
navigation system allowed for another innovation – the projected map
display system (PMDS) which accurately showed aircraft position on two
different map scales.
The A-7 had a fast and smooth development. The YA-7A made its first
flight on 27 September 1965, and began to enter Navy squadron
service late in 1966. The first Navy A-7 squadrons reached operational
status on 1 February 1967, and began combat operations over Vietnam in
December of that year.
The A-7 offered a plethora of cutting-edge avionics compared to
contemporary aircraft. This included data link capabilities that,
among other features, provided fully "hands-off" carrier landing
capability when used in conjunction with its approach power
compensator (APC) or auto throttle. Other notable and highly advanced
equipment was a projected map display located just below the radar
scope. The map display was slaved to the inertial navigation system
and provided a high-resolution map image of the aircraft's position
superimposed over TPC/JNC charts. Moreover, when slaved to the
all-axis auto pilot, the inertial navigation system could fly the
aircraft "hands off" to up to nine individual waypoints. Typical
inertial drift was minimal for newly manufactured models and the
inertial measurement system accepted fly over, radar, and TACAN
Initial operational basing/homeporting for USN A-7 squadrons was at
NAS Cecil Field, Florida for Atlantic Fleet units and NAS Lemoore,
California for Pacific Fleet units. This was in keeping with the role
of these bases in already hosting the A-4 Skyhawk attack squadrons
that would eventually transition to the A-7.
Lynn Garrison in a Chance
Vought F4U-7 Corsair leads A-7 Corsair IIs
of VA-147, over NAS Lemoore, California on 7 July 1967 prior to the
A-7's first deployment to Vietnam on USS Ranger. The A-7A "NE-300" is
the aircraft of the Air Group Commander (CAG) of Attack Carrier Air
Wing 2 (CVW-2).
From 1967 to 1971, a total of 27 US Navy squadrons took delivery of
four different A-7A/B/C/E models. The
Vought plant in Dallas, Texas
employed up to 35,000 workers who turned out one aircraft a day for
several years to support the navy's carrier-based needs for Vietnam
and SE Asia and commitments to
NATO in Europe. In 1974, when
USS Midway became the first Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF)
aircraft carrier to be homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, two A-7A
squadrons assigned to
Carrier Air Wing Five
Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) were concurrently
homeported at NAF Atsugi, Japan. In 1976, these squadrons (VA-93 and
VA-56) finally transitioned to the much more advanced A-7E
model. Six Naval Reserve attack squadrons would also
eventually transition to the A-7, operating from NAS Cecil Field,
Florida; NAS Atlanta/Dobbins ARB, Georgia; NAS New Orleans, Louisiana;
NAS Alameda, California and NAS Point Mugu, California. An additional
active duty squadron stood up in the 1980s, Tactical Electronic
Warfare Squadron 34 (VAQ-34) at NAS Point Mugu, operating twin-seat
TA-7C and EA-7L aircraft with both a pilot and a naval flight officer
in an adversary electronic warfare role.
Pilots of the early A-7s lauded the aircraft for general ease of
flying (with the exceptions of poor stability on crosswind landings
and miserable stopping performance on wet runways with an inoperative
anti-skid braking system) and excellent forward visibility but noted a
lack of engine thrust. This was addressed with A-7B and more
thoroughly with A-7D/E. The turbofan engine provided a dramatic
increase in fuel efficiency compared with earlier turbojets – the
A-7D was said to have specific fuel consumption one sixth that of an
F-100 Super Sabre at equivalent thrust. An A-7D carrying 12 x
500 lb (227 kg) bombs at 480 mph (775 km/h) at
33,000 ft (10,000 m) used only 3,350 lb (1,500 kg) of
fuel per hour. Typical fuel consumption at mission retrograde during
aircraft carrier recovery was approximately 30 pounds per minute
compared to 100+ pounds per minute for the Phantom F-4J/N series.
The A-7 Corsair II was tagged with the nickname "SLUF" ("Short Little
Ugly Fucker") by pilots.
Southeast Asia carrier use
A-7Bs of CVW-16 on USS Ticonderoga in 1968
In Vietnam, the hot, humid air robbed even the upgraded A-7D and A-7E
of power. Takeoff rolls were lengthy, and fully armed aircraft
struggled to reach 500 mph (800 km/h). For A-7A aircraft,
high density altitude and maximum weight runway takeoffs often
necessitated a "low transition", where the aircraft was intentionally
held in "ground effect" a few feet off the runway during gear
retraction, and as much as a 10-mile (16 km) departure at treetop
altitude before reaching a safe flap retraction speed. (A-7A wing flap
systems were either fully extended or fully retracted. The A-7A flap
handle did not have the microswitch feature of later models that
permitted the flaps to be slowly raised by several degrees per tap of
the flap handle as airspeed slowly increased during max-weight
Carrier catapult launches at maximum weight under these
performance-robbing conditions were not significantly better and were
characterized by the aircraft decelerating by as much as 20 knots
(37 km/h) immediately after launch. As a result, A-7A units
operated their aircraft 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg) below the rated
maximum takeoff weight for the A-7E.
In a sortie against the
Thanh Hóa Bridge
Thanh Hóa Bridge on 6 October 1972, four
A-7Cs from VA-82 successfully delivered 8,000 lbs of high
explosives with two aircraft carrying two 2,000 lb (910 kg)
Walleyes, while two others also carried 2,000 lbs in Mk 84 GP
bombs. In a simultaneous attack, the center piling on the bridge's
west side was hit and broke the span in half. After this, the Thanh
Hoa bridge was considered permanently destroyed and removed from the
A total of 98 USN A-7 Corsairs were lost during the war.
United States Air Force
United States Air Force A-7D
YA-7D-1-CV AF Serial No. 67-14582, the first USAF YA-7D, 2 May 1968.
Note the Navy-style refueling probe and the modified Navy Bureau
Number used as its USAF tail number.
United States Army
United States Army has not been permitted to operate fixed-wing
combat aircraft since the establishment of an independent United
States Air Force (USAF) in 1947. To meet its need for close air
support of its troops in South Vietnam, the Army pressured the Air
Force to procure a specialized subsonic close air support fixed-wing
aircraft that would suit its needs better than the general-purpose
supersonic aircraft that the USAF preferred.
Vought A-7 seemed to be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to
satisfy this need. However, the USAF was initially reluctant to take
on yet another Navy-designed aircraft, but Secretary of Defense Robert
McNamara was insistent. On 5 November 1965, Secretary of the Air Force
Harold Brown and USAF Chief of Staff General John P. McConnell
announced that they had decided to order a version of the Corsair II,
designated A-7D, for the Tactical Air Command.
The A-7D differed from the Navy's Corsair II in several ways. For one,
the Air Force insisted on significantly more power for its Corsair II
version, and it selected the Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan engine, which
was a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Spey. It offered a
thrust of 14,500 pounds, over 2000 pounds greater than that of the
TF30 that powered the Navy's Corsair IIs. Other changes included a
head-up display, a new avionics package, and an M61A1 rotary cannon in
place of the two single-barreled 20-mm cannon. Also included was a
computerized navigation/weapons delivery system with AN/APQ-126 radar
and a head-up display.
A-7D-7-CV Corsair IIs 70-0976, 70-0989 and 70-0970 of the 354th
Tactical Fighter Wing over the skies of Southeast Asia. '976 and '989
were retired to AMARC in 1992, ' 970 is on permanent display at the
National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB,
Two YA-7D prototypes were completed with TF30-P-6 engines, and the
first of these flew on 6 April 1968. The first Spey-powered A-7D
(67-14854) flew for the first time on 26 September 1968. The
seventeenth production aircraft introduced a provision for boom flight
refueling in place of the Navy's probe/drogue system, with the boom
receptacle being on the top of the fuselage behind the cockpit and
offset to port.
The A-7D first entered service in 1970 with the 57th Fighter Weapons
Wing at Luke AFB Arizona, and the
354th Tactical Fighter Wing
354th Tactical Fighter Wing at
Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina was equipped with four squadrons of
A-7Ds by 1972; the 355th TFW at
Davis-Monthan AFB was equipped with
four squadrons in 1972, and in 1973, the 23d TFW at England AFB,
Louisiana was fully equipped with A-7Ds.
The 354th TFW first deployed two squadrons of A-7Ds to Korat Royal
Thai AFB, Thailand in September 1972 as part of Operation Cornet
Dancer, The A-7Ds were quickly assigned the "Sandy mission" of
providing air cover for Combat
Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue missions of downed
Taking over from Douglas A-1 Skyraiders (and adopting their call sign
of "Sandy"), the A-7's higher speed was somewhat detrimental for
escorting the helicopters but the aircraft's high endurance and
durability were an asset and it performed admirably.
On 18 November 1972, Major Colin A. Clarke led a successful CSAR
Thanh Hoa to rescue a downed Republic F-105 Thunderchief
crew. The mission lasted a total of 8.8 hours during which Clarke and
his wingman took a number of hits from 0.51 cal (12.7 mm)
anti-aircraft fire. For his actions in coordinating the rescue, Clarke
was awarded the Air Force Cross, the USAF's second-highest decoration
for valor, and his A-7D (AF Serial No. 70-0970) was eventually placed
on display on 31 January 1992 at the National Museum of the United
States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
3d TFS A-7D-10-CV Corsair II 71-0309 at Korat Royal Thai Air Force
With the end of US involvement in South Vietnam, the 354th TFW,
deployed at Korat, began flying combat sorties in Cambodia to support
the Lon Nol government in support of Khmer National Armed Forces
against the Khmer Rouge. Rotational deployments began to Korat from
the 355th TFW and 23d TFW, with pilots and support personnel beginning
six-months deployment cycles. In March 1973, the 354th transferred a
squadron of A-7Ds to the 388th TFW, the host wing at Korat RTAFB at
the time, which re-established the 3d Tactical Fighter Squadron and
created a permanent USAF A-7D presence in Southeast Asia. A-7Ds from
both wings stationed at Korat engaged in combat operations in Cambodia
until 15 August 1973 when an A-7D of the deployed 353d TFS/354th TFW
carried out the last air support mission. In March 1974, the 354th TFW
transferred several more aircraft to the 3d TFS prior to its return to
Myrtle Beach AFB.
The USAF A-7D flew a total of 12,928 combat sorties during the war
with only six losses – the lowest of any U.S. fighter in the
theater. The aircraft was second only to
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in
the amount of ordnance dropped on
Hanoi and dropped more bombs per
sortie with greater accuracy than any other U.S. attack aircraft.
A VA-192 A-7E over Vietnam. This aircraft was lost on 2 November 1972.
The Navy was sufficiently impressed with the increased power offered
by the A-7D Spey engine used by the Air Force, and decided to use this
engine for its own version of the Corsair II. The designation A-7E was
assigned, and this version was to succeed the A-7B in production.
However, there were delays in the deliveries of the TF41-A-2 engine
specified for the A-7E, so the first 67 aircraft of the order were
delivered with the TF30-P-5 engine. These aircraft had all of the
other improvements planned for the A-7E, including the improved
avionics and the M61 rotary cannon, and were re-designated A-7C after
The first Spey-powered A-7E flew for the first time on 9 March 1969.
The A-7E differed from the USAF A-7D in retaining the probe-and-drogue
midair refueling system of the earlier A-7A/B. It entered service in
Southeast Asia in May 1970 with VA-146 and VA-147 deployed aboard
USS America. The A-7E participated in numerous close-air support
missions over both North and South Vietnam, the A-7E's
state-of-the-art bombing and navigation system being particularly
reliable and accurate. Most air wings operating Douglas A-4 Skyhawks
and early A-7s were re-equipped with A-7Es. The A-7E participated in
the mining of
Haiphong harbor in 1972, and played a vital role in
Operations Linebacker I and Linebacker II that led up to the formal
end of US involvement in the
Vietnam War on 24 January 1973.
On 15 May 1975, A-7E aircraft operating from USS Coral Sea, in
conjunction with A-7D aircraft assigned to the 3d TFS at Korat RTAFB,
provided air cover in what is considered the last battle of the
Vietnam War, the recovery of SS Mayagüez after it was hijacked by
Khmer Rouge gunboats. By the time the Mayaguez incident was over,
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters had been shot down,
two airmen, 11 Marines and two Navy Corpsmen had been killed in action
and a further three Marines were missing in action.
Air National Guard
A-7 Corsair II aircraft of the Iowa (IA) and South Dakota (SD) Air
National Guard flying near RAF Waddington, UK. These aircraft were
deployed to the United Kingdom from 21 August through 12 September
NATO operation CORNET Stallion
With the pullout of the USAF from its Thailand bases in late 1975, the
A-7Ds stationed at Korat initially went to Clark AB, Philippines. The
3d TFS transitioned from its Corsairs to the McDonnell Douglas F-4E
Phantom II and remained at Clark. The A-7Ds were returned to the
United States where they were reassigned to several Air National Guard
With the end of the Vietnam War, the Air Force began to transfer its
active-duty A-7D aircraft to
Air National Guard
Air National Guard units beginning in
1974. The Corsairs had been, in a sense, a forced acquisition by the
Air Force in the late 1960s, and the inter-service rivalry of flying a
Navy aircraft had led, beginning about 1970, to the development of its
Close Air Support
Close Air Support aircraft. In 1974, selection of the
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was made as the replacement for
the A-7D. The first A-10As were received by the 354th TFW in 1977 at
Myrtle Beach AFB; the 355th TFW at
Davis-Monthan AFB began replacing
its A-7Ds in 1978, and the 23d TFW at England AFB in 1979. As the
A-10s were received, the A-7Ds were transferred from the USAF to the
National Guard Bureau
National Guard Bureau for subsequent re-allocation. By 1981, when
the 23d TFW sent its last A-7Ds to Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada
for clandestine use in the
Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk
Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk development
program, fifteen ANG squadrons were equipped with the A-7D Corsair II.
However, Congressional decisions added additional funding to the DOD
FY 1975 and FY 1976 budgets for the procurement of additional A-7Ds,
primarily to keep the LTV production line in Dallas open and the
workers employed in the wake of post-Vietnam DOD procurement
reductions. As a result of these unplanned acquisitions, the Air Force
assigned these new aircraft (all with 1975 tail numbers) to the
Air National Guard
Air National Guard 152nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Tucson,
which operated the
Air National Guard
Air National Guard transition training school for
Corsair II pilots. In 1978, a two-seat A-7 trainer was developed
by LTV for the Air Force, designated the A-7K. One prototype aircraft
was built by modifying an existing A-7D airframe, however production
A-7Ks were new builds with 1979 and 1980 tail numbers. The A-7K was a
fully combat capable aircraft as well as a dual-control training
aircraft. Most of the A-7K trainers went to the transition school at
Tucson, with the squadrons' A-7Ds being re-distributed to other ANG
squadrons. However all ANG squadrons were assigned an A-7K trainer as
well as their complement of A-7Ds.
During the post-Vietnam era, the
Air National Guard
Air National Guard frequently
deployed its Corsairs on annual operational exercises. Deployments
were made to
USAFE bases in West Germany and Denmark as part
of training exercises along with the
USAREUR Reforger training
Beginning in 1974, active-duty squadrons from Myrtle Beach, England
and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases began deployments of A-7Ds to Howard
AFB, Panama to train with Army and Naval forces defending the Panama
Canal. These deployments, named "Cornet Cove" generally were of ninety
(90) days, and were rotated among squadrons of the three wings in the
United States. Beginning in 1977, with the phaseout of the A-7D with
active-duty units, the
Air National Guard
Air National Guard began taking over this
mission. In December 1989, the South Dakota 175th Tactical Fighter
Squadron and Ohio
112th Tactical Fighter Squadron
112th Tactical Fighter Squadron were at Howard AFB
on a Coronet Cove deployment when President George H.W. Bush announced
Operation Just Cause, the United States Invasion of Panama. The ANG
squadrons participated in the invasion, flying 34 combat missions,
completing 34 sorties, expended 71.7 flying hours and expended 2,715
rounds of ordnance.
On 12 January 1981, in the 1981 Luis Muñoz Marín International
Airport attack, 10 A-7Ds of the 198th Tactical Fighter Squadron,
Air National Guard
Air National Guard were destroyed or damaged in a
terrorist attack by the
Boricua Popular Army
Boricua Popular Army at Muniz Air National
Guard Base in the largest attack ever on an American military station
since the Vietnam War. This terrorist attack was largely
unreported due to the
Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis at the time.
Grenada and Lebanon
A-7Es on USS Independence in 1983
A-7E of VA-72 on USS America off Libya in April 1986.
A-7E from VA-72 flying over the Saudi desert during Operation Desert
Navy A-7E squadrons VA-15 and VA-87, from USS Independence, provided
close air support during the Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation
Urgent Fury, in October 1983.
Navy A-7s also provided air support during the U.S. mission in Lebanon
in 1983. An A-7 and an A-6 Intruder were shot down by Syrian
surface-to-air missiles (SAM) on 4 December 1983. The A-7 pilot,
Commander Edward Andrews, managed to guide his failing Corsair over
coastal waters before ejecting; he was rescued by a Lebanese fishing
boat and safely returned to the U.S. Marines.
On 24 March 1986, during the
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra dispute with Libya, Libyan
air defense operators launched SA-5 missiles at two Fighter Squadron
Grumman F-14 Tomcats from USS America that were
orbiting in international air space on a
Combat Air Patrol
Combat Air Patrol (CAP)
station. A-7s operating from USS Saratoga responded by launching
AGM-88 HARM missiles ever used in combat. On the next day,
A-6s attacked Libyan warships approaching the US fleet, while A-7s
again launched HARM missiles against Libyan SAM sites.
In April 1986, navy Sixth Fleet A-7Es from VA-72 and VA-46 embarked on
board USS America also participated in Operation El Dorado Canyon, the
retaliatory attack on Libya, using HARM and Shrike anti-radar missiles
to protect the naval strike force from SAMs.
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
While USAF A-7s stayed home in favor of A-10s, the USN deployed two of
its last A-7E squadrons to Operation Desert Shield in August 1990
aboard USS John F. Kennedy, the only carrier of six deployed to
Desert Storm to operate the A-7. The navy squadrons VA-46 and VA-72
made the last combat sorties of the A-7 in Operation Desert Storm
flying from the Red Sea to targets throughout Iraq. The A-7 was used
both day and night to attack a wide range of heavily defended deep
interdiction targets in Iraq as well as "kill boxes" (geographically
defined kill zones) in Kuwait, employing a variety of weapons
including precision-guided munitions (PGMs), such as the TV-guided
Walleye glide bomb, unguided general purpose bombs, and High Speed
Anti-Radiation missiles (HARM). The A-7 was also used as a tanker in
numerous in-flight refueling missions.
Use in F-117 development
See also: 1987 Indianapolis Ramada Inn A-7D Corsair II crash
4450th Tactical Group
4450th Tactical Group stationed at Nellis AFB, Nevada had the
distinction of being the last active USAF unit to operate the A-7
Corsair II. The mission of the 4450th TG was the operational
development of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, and the unit needed a
surrogate aircraft for pilot training and practice. A-7Ds and A-7Ks
were obtained from various active duty and air national guard
squadrons and were assigned initially to the "(P)" or "Provisional"
unit of the 4450th Tactical Group, redesignated the 4451st Tactical
Squadron in January 1983.
The A-7s were used as a deception and training aircraft by the group
between 1981 and 1989. It was selected because it demanded a similar
pilot workload expected in the F-117A, was single seat, and many of
the F-117A pilots had F-4 or F-111 backgrounds. A-7s were used for
pilot training before any F-117As had been delivered, to bring all
pilots to a common flight training base line. Later, the A-7s were
used as chase planes on F-117A tests and other weapon tests at the
A-7D-5-CV AF Serial No. 69-6241 of the 4451st Test Squadron / 4450th
Tactical Group at Nellis AFB, Nevada in 1984
A-7 flight operations began in June 1981 concurrent with the very
first YF-117A flights. The A-7s wore a unique "LV" tailcode (for Las
Vegas) and had a dark purple/black paint motif. The A-7s were based
Nellis Air Force Base
Nellis Air Force Base and were maintained by the 4450th
Maintenance Squadron. In addition to providing an excuse for the
4450th's existence and activities, the A-7s were also used to maintain
pilot currency, particularly in the early stages when very few
production F-117As were available. The pilots learned to fly chase on
F-117A test and training flights, perform practice covert deployments,
and practice any other purpose that could not be accomplished using
F-117As, given the tight restrictions imposed on all F-117A
Some A-7s operated from the Tonopah Test Range Airport, about 30 miles
(48 km) southeast of
Tonopah, Nevada where the F-117s were being
operationally tested. As a deception operation, care was taken to
ensure that F-117As were never left parked outside aircraft hangars
during daylight hours. However, A-7s were deliberately and routinely
left outside hangars for the benefit of any orbiting Soviet spy
satellites. Soviet intelligence agencies examining spy satellite
imagery of the base would undoubtedly notice the A-7s parked on the
Tonopah flight line, and would not be particularly interested. The
intention of this deception was to convince the Soviets that Tonopah
operated nothing more exciting than some obsolete A-7 Corsairs. The
cover story to the public was that the A-7s were flying "radar
calibration missions" out of Tonopah. Also, in order to help maintain
the deception, about five or six A-7Ds were deployed to South Korea in
1984 and 1988. In South Korea they trained with the Army for about a
Close Air Support
Close Air Support operations. It appeared to the Russians
that it was a real squadron with a combat mission because the aircraft
could be seen having munitions loaded and performing training
EA-7L pilots of
VAQ-34 at Elmendorf AB, 1987
There were approximately 20 A-7D aircraft used in developing the
F-117, including several two-seat A-7K trainers. In January 1989,
three months after the USAF admitted the F-117A existed, the A-7s were
retired to AMARC and were replaced by AT-38B Talons as training
aircraft and the 4451st TS was deactivated.
Training and retirement
Prototype YA-7Ds 67-14582 and 67-14584, along with 69-6191 and 69-6217
making last flyover retirement formation over Edwards AFB, California,
heading to AMARC, August 1992
Pilots quipped that the Corsair "is not very fast, but it sure is
slow." For dissimilar air combat training (DACT), and aerial
demonstrations by the Blue Angels, the Navy would choose the more
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk as a subsonic maneuvering platform, as some
considered the A-7 to be inadequate in air combat, even though it was
highly maneuverable. While some questioned its air combat capability
it was widely regarded as a highly successful attack aircraft, partly
by virtue of being a stable bombing platform. Despite this, the Marine
Corps also rejected the Corsair, opting instead for the V/STOL
(Vertical/Short Take Off or Landing) AV-8 Harrier as its light attack
aircraft to replace its A-4F/M Skyhawks.
Hellenic Air Force
Hellenic Air Force ordered sixty new A-7H aircraft in 1974
and three TA-7Hs in 1980; and received sixty-two surplus A-7Es and
TA-7Cs from the USN after the Gulf War. The Hellenic Air Force's 336th
Bomber Squadron was the last unit to use the aircraft.
The sale of A-7s to Pakistan was not approved due to US opposition to
its nuclear program.
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons began replacing the Air
National Guard Corsairs beginning in the late 1980s and the last were
retired in 1993 by the units at Rickenbacker
Air National Guard
Air National Guard Base,
Ohio; Des Moines
Air National Guard
Air National Guard Base, Iowa; Tulsa Air National
Guard Base, Oklahoma; and Springfield
Air National Guard
Air National Guard Base, Ohio.
USN A-7 Corsairs began being phased out of the fleet during the
mid-1980s with the arrival of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. A-7
squadrons of the
United States Navy
United States Navy Reserve transitioned concurrent
with (but prior to the completion of) all Regular Navy squadrons. The
last Navy A-7s were retired by the last fleet operational squadrons
(VA-46 and VA-72) in May 1991 shortly after their return from
Operation Desert Storm. By the end of 1998, with the exception of some
airframes used as static displays, all US A-7s were disposed of by the
Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center
Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis-Monthan
Some of these surplus aircraft were passed to Greece, Thailand and
Portugal. The last
Portuguese Air Force
Portuguese Air Force A-7Ps were retired in 2007
after 26 years. Greece retired its A-7s in 2014. The Corsair II
served for 49 years.
A-7A of VA-203, the "Blue Dolphins", at
NAS Jacksonville Florida in
TA-7C of VA-174 in 1988
VAQ-34 in 1987
Greek Air Force LTV TA-7C Corsair II departs the Royal International
Air Tattoo, UK, 2014
A-7P of the Portuguese Air Force
First production version. Early USN Corsair IIs had two 20 mm Colt Mk
12 cannons with 250 rounds per gun. Maximum ordnance, carried
primarily on the wing pylons, was theoretically 15,000 lb (6,804 kg),
but was limited by maximum takeoff weight, so the full weapon load
could only be carried with greatly reduced internal fuel; Equipped
with AN/APN-153 navigational radar, AN/APQ-115 terrain following
radar, and a separate AN/APQ-99 attack radar; 199 built.
Uprated TF30-P-8 engine with 12,190 lbf (54.2 kN) of thrust. In 1971,
surviving A-7Bs were further upgraded to TF30-P-408 with 13,390 lbf
(59.6 kN) of thrust; AN/APQ-115 terrain following radar in earlier
A-7A is replaced by
AN/APQ-116 terrain following radar; 196 built.
First 67 production A-7E with TF30-P-408 engines.
Two-seat trainer version for USN, 24 converted from A-7B, 36 from
A-7C. In 1984, 49 airframes, including the 8 EA-7Ls, were re-engined
with the TF41-A-402 and upgraded to A-7E standard.
Version built for the USAF, with one Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan, and a
M61 Vulcan 20 mm rotary cannon; AN/APN-153 navigational radar
in earlier models is replaced by AN/APN-185 navigational radar,
AN/APQ-116 terrain following radar in earlier A-7B/C is replaced by
AN/APQ-126 terrain following radar; 459 built.
Naval carrier-capable equivalent of the A-7D; AN/APN-185 navigational
radar in earlier A-7D is replaced by AN/APN-190 navigational radar,
AN/APQ-126 terrain following radar in earlier A-7D is replaced by
AN/APQ-128 terrain following radar; 529 built.
YA-7F Strikefighter (A-7D Plus)
Stretched, supersonic version of A-7 powered by an F100, optimized for
interdiction role, but cancelled after two prototypes were built.
Proposed version for Switzerland, none built.
Two-seat prototypes built by
Ling-Temco-Vought as a private venture.
Modified A-7E for Greece without air-refueling capability, 60 built.
Two-seat trainer version for Greece.
8 TA-7C modified into electronic aggressor aircraft used by VAQ-34,
upgraded to A-7E standard while retaining twin seats in 1984.
Two-seat trainer version for Air National Guard, 30 built.
Ex-USN A-7As rebuilt for Portuguese Air Force, 44 refurbished with
TF30-P-408 engines and an avionics fit similar to the A-7E.
Two-seat trainer version for Portuguese Air Force; six converted from
Main article: List of
LTV A-7 Corsair II
LTV A-7 Corsair II operators
Greece – Retired in 2014.
Portugal – Retired in 1999.
Thailand – Non-operational status since 2007.
United States – Retired in 1993.
A Retired A-7E of the Royal Thai Navy in the Royal Thai Air Force
Aircraft on display
Main article: List of
LTV A-7 Corsair II
LTV A-7 Corsair II on display
Retired A-7 Corsair II in front of the Veterans' Museum in Halls,
A-7D "Speedwell" at Wings Museum
Two USANG A-7K Corsairs, 1988
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1982-83Complete
Encyclopedia of World Aircraft,International Directory of Military
Aircraft, Combat Aircraft since 1945
Length: 46 ft 2 in (14.06 m)
Wingspan: 38 ft 9 in (11.8 m)
Width: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) wings folded
Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.9 m)
Wing area: 374.9 sq ft (34.83 m2)
Airfoil: NACA 65A007 root and tip
Empty weight: 19,127 lb (8,676 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 41,998 lb (19,050 kg) overload
Fuel capacity: 1,338 US gal (5,060 l;
1,114 imp gal) (10,200 lb (4,600 kg)) internal
Powerplant: 1 ×
Allison TF41-A-2 non-afterburning turbofan engine,
15,000 lbf (66.7 kN) thrust
Maximum speed: 600 kn (690 mph; 1,111 km/h) at Sea
562 kn (1,041 km/h; 647 mph) at 5,000 ft
(1,524.0 m) with 12x Mk82 bombs
595 kn (1,102 km/h; 685 mph) at 5,000 ft
(1,524.0 m) after dropping bombs
Range: 1,070 nmi; 1,231 mi (1,981 km) maximum internal
Ferry range: 1,342 nmi; 1,544 mi (2,485 km) with
maximum internal and external fuel
Service ceiling: 42,000 ft (13,000 m)
Wing loading: 77.4 lb/sq ft (378 kg/m2)
Sustained maneuvering performance: 5,300 ft (1,615.4 m)
turning radius at 4.3g and 500 kn (930 km/h; 580 mph)
at an All Up Weight (AUW) of 28,765 lb (13,048 kg)
Take-off run: 1,705 ft (519.7 m) at 42,000 lb
M61A1 Vulcan 20 mm (0.787 in) rotary cannon with
Hardpoints: 6× under-wing and 2× fuselage pylon stations (for
AIM-9 Sidewinder AAMs only) with a capacity of 15,000 lb
(6,803.9 kg) total capacity,with provisions to carry combinations
LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× 127 mm
(5.000 in) Mk 32 Zuni rockets)
AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile
AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile
AGM-62 Walleye TV-guided glide bomb
AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile
AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile
2× GBU-8 HOBOS electro-optically guided glide bomb
Up to 30× 500 lb (226.8 kg) Mark 82 bombs or Mark 80 series
of unguided bombs (including 6.6 lb (3 kg) and 31 lb
(14 kg) practice bombs)
Paveway series of laser-guided bombs
Up to 4× B28 nuclear bomb/B43 nuclear bomb/B57 nuclear bomb/B61
nuclear bomb/B83 nuclear bombs
Other: up to 4 × 300 US gal (1,100 l),
330 US gal (1,200 l), or 370 US gal
(1,400 l) drop tanks[nb 1]
AN/ASN-90(V) Inertial reference system
AN/ASN-91(V) navigation/weapon delivery computer
AN/APN-190(V) Doppler groundspeed and drift detector
Texas Instruments AN/APQ-126(V)
Terrain-following radar (TFR)
AN/AVQ-7(V) Head Up display (HUD)
CP-953A/AJQ solid state Air Data computer (ADC)
AN/ASN-99 Projected Map Display (PMD)
Military of the United States portal
Vought F-8 Crusader
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Grumman A-6 Intruder
List of attack aircraft
List of military aircraft of the United States
Air National Guard
Air National Guard Base terrorist attack
LTV A-7 Corsair II
LTV A-7 Corsair II in Portuguese service
^ on pylon stations 1,3,6 & 8 which are wet plumbed. Used for
ferry flight/extended range/increased loitering time. Often carried a
hose and drogue type Buddy Store in addition to drop tanks for use as
a tanker aircraft.
^ a b c Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 292.
^ "Avionics: HUDAVAC." flightglobal.com. Retrieved: 13 October 2010.
^ Dorr 1987, p. 61.
^ Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 293.
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAE-1, pp. 8-48 to 8-148.
^ "Establishment Ceremony: 0900 March 01 1983." VAG 34. Retrieved: 2
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAE-1, pp. 11-1–11-93.
^ Brown 1997.
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAA-1, pp. 1–68.
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAE-1, pp. 1–66.
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAA-1, pp. 1–233.
^ NAVAIR 01-45AAE-1, pp. 1–177.
^ Hobson 2001, pp. 268–69.
^ a b c d e f g h i Munzenmaier 2009.
^ a b Wagner 1982.
^ a b c LTV A-7D Corsair II. National Museum of the United States Air
^ "A-7D 70-970 Factsheet." Archived 3 February 2012 at the Wayback
Machine. National Museum of the United States Air Force.
^ Hobson 2001, pp. 268, 269.
^ a b Swanborough and Bowers 1990.
^ Wetterhahn, Ralph. The Last Battle: The Mayaguez Incident and the
End of the Vietnam War. New York: Plume, 2002.
^ "The A-10 Warthog, The Best Deal the Air Force Never Wanted".
^ "AFHRA Wings and Groups 354th TFW, 355th TFW and 23d TFW
organizational records". Archived from the original on 11 February
^ "Around the Nation: 8 Military Jets Destroyed At Air Base in Puerto
Rico." The New York Times, 12 January 1981. Retrieved: 13 October
^ a b Dorr 1987, p. 63.
^ Rausa 1987, p. 34.
^ a b Mersky 2003, p. 150.
^ a b c d e f Holder and Wallace 2000
^ Higham and Williams 1978
^ Gunston 1984.
^ Schürmann 2009
^ Airforce.gr. "A-7 Retirement: Araxos AB, 17th October 2014".
^ Taylor, John W. R.. (1983). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1982-83.
London: Jane's Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2.
^ Donald 1997, p. 899.
^ Frawley 2002.
^ Wilson 2000, p. 141.
"A Corsair by any other name: The Story of Sandy, SLUF and the Little
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pp. 121–125, 143–146. ISSN 0306-5634.
"A Corsair by any other name: Sandy, SLUF and the Little Hummers: Part
Two". Air International, Vol. 22, No. 4, April 1982,
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Birzer, Norman and Peter Mersky. US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units of the
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Vought A-7 Corsair II". The Complete Encyclopedia
of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997.
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Eden, Paul (editor). The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft.
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Scout / Attack
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United States attack aircraft designations, Army/Air Force and
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1 Not assigned • 2 Unofficial designation