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  • Vought / LTV A-7 Corsair II Carrier-Borne Strike Aircraft

    The LTV A-7 Cosair II strike platform was developed as a replacement for the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk line and was based on the successful Vought F-8 Crusader design.

     Updated: 5/5/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Developed as a successor to the Douglas A-4 "Skyhawk" series of carrier-based strike fighter, the LTV A-7 "Corsair II" entered service with the United States Navy (USN) during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) in 1967. Some 1,569 examples were ultimately produced and operated by the United States, Greece (Hellenic), Portugal, and Thailand. The last operational versions were retired (with the Hellenic Air Force) as recently as 2014 while American use was given up following the Gulf War in 1993.

    Origins of the A-7 reside back in a 1962 USN initiative which produced the VAX ("Heavier-than-Air, Attack, Experimental") program seeking a follow-up design to the aging A-4 platform. A budget-conscious approach was selected in which an existing airframe was to serve as the basis for the new aircraft. This would also expedite development and ultimate serial production of the strike fighter. Key industry powerhouses such as Douglas, Grumman, North American, and Vought (part of Ling-Temco-Vought = LTV) put forth various submissions, each with potential. The Vought submission in particular was based on their successful F-8 "Crusader" carrier-based strike fighter which became a proven USN contributor during the 1960s. Its airframe was modified slightly to include a shortened fuselage but retained its high-mounted, swept-back wings (though with greater span), tricycle undercarriage, and under-cockpit intake. The adjustable, pivoting wing mainplanes of the F-8 were dropped to simplify the new design for both production and maintenance/operation. After evaluation of all the competing types, the Vought submission was selected in February of 1964 and assigned the USN designation of "A-7" with the name of "Corsair II" - honoring the successful war-winning World War 2-era Vought F4U "Corsair" carrier-based, prop-driven product.

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    Vought A-7E Corsair II Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1967
    Type: Carrier-Borne Strike Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Vought / Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) - USA
    Production Total: 1,569

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 46.13 feet (14.06 meters)
    Width: 38.71 feet (11.80 meters)
    Height: 16.08 feet (4.90 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 18,942 lb (8,592 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 42,000 lb (19,051 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Allison / Rolls-Royce TF41-A-1 turbofan engine developing 15,000 lb of thrust.

    Maximum Speed: 659 mph (1,060 kph; 572 knots)
    Maximum Range: 564 miles (908 km)
    Service Ceiling: 42,999 feet (13,106 meters; 8.14 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 20mm single-barrel cannons (early)
    1 x 20mm M61 six-barrel rotary cannon (later models)

    Mission-specific armament on eight external hardpoints (two side-fuselage positions reserved exclusively for AIM-9 "Sidewinder" AAMs) included:

    AIM-9 "Sidewinder" AAMs, conventional drop bombs, Laser-Guided Bombs (LGBs), AGM-65 "Maverick" ASMs, munition dispensing pods, rocket pods, and/or jettisonable fuel tanks.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Greece; Thailand; Portugal; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    YA-7A - Prototype Model Designation of which 3 produced; fitted with Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 non-afterburning turbofans engines capable of 11,350lbs of thrust; 2 x 20mm single-barrel cannons.

    A-7A - First Production Model of which 199 produced; based heavily on the YA-7A prototype.

    A-7B - Featured the TF30-P-8 turbofan capable of 12,200lbs of thrust; 196 produced.

    A-7C - TF309-P-408 turbofan capable of 13,400lbs of thrust; 67 produced.

    A-7D "Corsair II" - TF41-A-1 powerplant capable of 14,500lbs of thrust based on Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan but license-built; First designated use of "Corsair II" as aircraft name; 1 x 20mm rotary cannon replacing 2 x 20mm single-barrel cannons; improved avionics, navigation and weapons systems; "Pave Penny" laser tracking system; 459 produced.

    A-7E - TF41-A-2 powerplant capable of 15,000lbs of thrust; forward-tracking infra-red senor integrated.

    YA-7F - Improved Export Model development designation; Improved avionics package, improved powerplant, airframe refinements and improved electronics.

    A-7F - Close-support Upgrade Model (project cancelled).

    A-7K - Two-seat trainer for USAF.

    TA-7C - Two-seat conversion of A-7A and A-7B models.

    TA-7H - Greece-export Model with provisioning for AGM-65 Maverick missiles; anti-ship strike model.

    A-7P (or "Plus") - Refurbished A-7A upgraded with A-7E avionics package (exported to Portugal - no longer utilized).