LTV A-7 Corsair II

TypeAttack aircraft
Country of originUnited States
ManufacturerLing-Temco-Vought
First flight26 September 1965
IntroducedFebruary 1967
Produced
Numbers built1,569
Unit costsUS$2.86 million
Max speed600 knots (698 mph, 1,123 km/h) at sea level
Max rangeCombat radius: 621 nmi (700 mi, 1,127 km)
Ferry range: 2,485 nmi (2,860 mi, 4,600 km) with external fuel tanks
DimensionsLength: 46 ft 1.5 in (14.06 m)
Wingspan: 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m)
Height: 16 ft 0.75 in (4.90 m)
Wing area: 375 ft² (34.8 m²)
WeightEmpty weight: 19,490 lb (8,840 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 42,000 lb (19,050 kg)
Powerplant1 x Allison TF41-A-2 turbofan, 14,500 lbf (64.5 kN)
ArmamentGuns: 1x 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon with 1,030 rounds

Hardpoints: 6x under-wing and 2x fuselage pylon stations (for mounting AIM-9 Sidewinder AAMs only) with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
Rockets: 4x LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4x 127 mm Mk 32 Zuni rockets)

Missiles:
2x AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM
2x AGM-45 Shrike Anti-radiation missile (ARM)
2× AGM-62 Walleye TV-guided Glide bomb
2x AGM-65 Maverick
2x AGM-88 HARM
2x GBU-8 electro-optically guided Glide bomb

Bombs:
Up to 30x 500 lb (227 kg) Mark 82 bombs or Mark 80 series of unguided bombs (including 3 kg and 14 kg practice bombs)
Paveway series of laser-guided bombs
Up to 4x B28 nuclear bomb/B57 nuclear bomb/B61 nuclear bombs
OperatorsCurrent Operator:
Greece

Former Operators:
Portugal, Thailand, United States

The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II was designed and developed for the United States Navy to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. This subsonic light attack and carrier-based aircraft then was also operated by the United States Air Force and Air National Guard to substitute the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, North American F-100 Super Sabre and Republic F-105 Thunderchief.

The Corsair II initially served with the U.S. Navy in the time of Vietnam War. In 1970s the attack aircraft was also exported to Greece and a decade later to Portugal and Thailand.

Using the airframe of successful Vought F-8 Crusader, the Corsair II was one of the first combat aircraft featuring a head-up display (HUD), an inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine.

The Design and Development of A-7 Corsair II

Intending to replace the A-4 Skyhawk, the U.S. Navy began to develop the VAX (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Experimental) aircraft. The Navy wanted a new attack aircraft with extended range and greater payload and in 1963, it announced the VAL (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Light) competition. The Navy preferred a subsonic aircraft with expectation the aircraft would have greater range and payload due to its lower fuel consumption.

Douglas Aircraft, Grumman, North American Aviation and Vought proposed their designs based on their previous design as required by the Navy to reduce development cost. In February 1964, Vought went out as the winner as the manufacturer proposed a new attack aircraft based on the successful F-8 Crusader. In March 1964, the manufacturer was awarded a contract to develop the new aircraft, designated A-7. A year later, the A-7 was called Corsair II referring another Vought’s successful combat aircraft of World War II, the F4U Corsair.

The design of the A-7 was similar to F-8 only it had a shorter and broader fuselage as well as longer wing-span. The A-7 was powered by single Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan engine.

The A-7 was equipped with an AN/APQ-116 radar which was integrated with the ILAAS digital navigation system. The radar allowed the A-7 to have better stand-off distance when dropping bombs compared to the F-4 Phantom II.

The A-7 was the first of the United States combat aircraft which featured a head-up display. Another innovation was the deployment of the integrated navigation system making the aircraft possible to feature the projected map display system (PMDS) which correctly revealed aircraft position on two distinct map scales.

The Navy version was powered by the Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan engine and armed with the M61 Vulcan cannon.

Production of Corsairs persisted through 1984, with a total of 1,569 aircraft constructed. The A-7 Corsair was the only United States single seat jet fighter-bomber of the 1960s that was designed, developed, and stationed immediately into the Vietnam War.

The Variants of A-7 Corsair II

As of 1984, there were some variants of the A-7 Corsair II had been built, some of them are:

  • A-7A: First production version.
  • A-7B: Upgraded version with TF30-P-8 engine.
  • A-7C: First 67 production A-7E with TF30-P-408 engines.
  • TA-7C: Two-seat trainer version for U.S. Navy.
  • A-7D: USAF version with one Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan, and a single 20 mm M61 Vulcan gatling cannon.
  • A-7E: Naval carrier-capable version which was equivalent of the A-7D.
  • YA-7F Strikefighter (A-7D Plus): Supersonic version of A-7 powered by an F100, optimized for interdiction role, but cancelled after two prototypes were built.
  • A-7H: Modified A-7E for Greece without air-refuelling capability.
  • TA-7H: Two-seat trainer version for Greece.
  • EA-7L:  Modified TA-7C into electronic aggressor aircraft.
  • A-7K: Two-seat trainer version for Air National Guard.
  • A-7P: Ex-US Navy A-7A rebuilt for Portugal.
  • TA-7P: Two-seat trainer version for Portugal.

LTV A-7 Corsair II videos

A-7 Corsair II action

A-7 Corsair II “Fireball”

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