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Vought / LTV A-7 Corsair II Carrier-Borne Strike Aircraft (1967)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/8/2009

The A-7 Cosair II was developed as a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk and is based on the F-8 Crusader design successes.

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The middle-weight Vought-produced A-7 Corsair II was designed as a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk light-weight fighter / bomber, and was based on the engineering successes of the F-8 Crusader. Owing its general visual appearance to the Crusader, the A-7 Corsair was designed more so as an attack-strike aircraft capable of carrier-based operations than an air-to-air interceptor-capable fighter.

Three prototypes were ordered for the United States Navy as the YA-7A in 1965 and were fitted with the Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan non-afterburning engine. It would be this same model that would become the production version of the A-7 as the A-7A, fitted with two standard single-barrel 20mm cannon.

The A-7 Corsair II (the "Corsair" name wasn't adopted under the A-7D model) was piloted by one crewmember and could operate and be stored on carriers. The A-7 would go on to see action throughout America's Vietnam War of the late 1960's and early-mid 1970's and even make an appearance in the first Persian Gulf conflict with Iraq in 1991.

The fuselage looked fairly similar to the F-8 Crusader, with the short-snub cockpit nose extending out over the fuselage-width engine intake at front. The wing element sat high on the middle of the airframe and was fitted with six hardpoints for a variety of air-to-air or air-to-surface armament arrangements including laser-guided bombs and rocket pods. Two additional side-fuselage provisions were integrated under the wing roots but these were solely fitted to carry the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile system. The earlier 2 x 20mm single-barrel cannons would later be replaced by a more modern 6-barrel 20mm gatling-type internal gun.

In all, the A-7 Corsair II fulfilled a crucial role in naval carrier-based operations, able to provide an extensive array of air-to-surface munitions while still maintaining enough power and provision space for self-defense and anti-aircraft weaponry. The A-7 saw very little in the way of export sales, even with the export-targeted A-7 Plus development.

Full operational usage by the USAF and USN of the A-7 Corsair II ended officially in 1993.

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Specifications for the
Vought / LTV A-7 Corsair II
Carrier-Borne Strike Aircraft


Focus Model: Vought / LTV A-7E Corsair II
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1967
Production: 1,569


Crew: 1


Length: 46.13ft (14.06m)
Width: 38.71ft (11.80m)
Height: 16.08ft (4.90m)
Weight (Empty): 18,942lbs (8,592kg)
Weight (MTOW): 42,000lbs (19,051kg)


Powerplant: 1 x Allison / Rolls-Royce TF41-A-1 turbofan engine generating 15,000lbs of thrust.


Maximum Speed: 659mph (1,060kmh; 572kts)
Maximum Range: 564miles (908km)
Service Ceiling: 42,999ft (13,106m; 8.1miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0m/min)


Hardpoints: 8 (two reserved strictly for Sidewinder AAM)
Armament Suite:
2 x 20mm single-barrel cannons (early)
1 x 20mm 6-barrel rotary cannon (later models)

Mission-specific armament on 8 external hardpoints (two side-fuselage positions reserved exclusively for AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM) may include:

AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, iron free fall bombs, Laser-Guided Bombs, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles, munition dispensing pods and rocket pods.


Variants:
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).

EA-7L


Operators:
Greece; Thailand; Portugal; United States