The LTV A-7 Corsair II is an American carrier-capable subsonic light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV).
The A-7 was developed during the early 1960s as replacement for the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
Its design was derived from the Vought F-8 Crusader; in comparison with the F-8, the A-7 is both smaller and restricted to subsonic speeds, its airframe being simpler and cheaper to produce.
Following a competitive bid by Vought in response to the United States Navy’s (USN) VAL (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Light) requirement, an initial contract for the type was issued on 8 February 1964.
Development was rapid, first flying on 26 September 1965 and entering squadron service with the USN on 1 February 1967; by the end of that year, A-7s were being deployed overseas for the Vietnam War.
Initially adopted by USN, the A-7 proved attractive to other services, soon being adopted by the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Air National Guard (ANG) to replace their aging Douglas A-1 Skyraider and North American F-100 Super Sabre fleets.
Improved models of the A-7 would be developed, typically adopting more powerful engines and increasingly capable avionics.
American A-7s would be used in various major conflicts, including the Invasion of Grenada, Operation El Dorado Canyon, and the Gulf War.
The type was also used to support the development of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk.
The A-7 was also exported to Greece in the 1970s and to Portugal in the late 1980s.
The USAF and USN opted to retire their remaining examples of the type in 1991, followed by the ANG in 1993 and the Portuguese Air Force in 1999.
The A-7 was largely replaced by newer generation fighters such as the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.
The final operator, the Hellenic Air Force, withdrew the last A-7s during 2014.
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 take-off 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-8 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-engine with the TF41-A-402 and upgraded to A-7E standard.
Version built for the USAF, more powerful Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan producing 14,250 lb (63.4 kN) of thrust, and a single M61 Vulcan 20 mm rotary cannon; Improved AN/APN-185 navigational radar, upgraded AN/APQ-126 terrain following radar; 459 built.
Effectively an A-7D modified for Naval operations; with the same Allison TF41-A-1 and M61 Vulcan 20 mm rotary cannon and further improved AN/APN-190 navigational radar and AN/APQ-128 terrain following radar in addition to arrester gear and folding wings to allow for carrier operations. 529 built.
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-refuelling capability, 60 built.
Two-seat trainer version for Greece.
Two-seat trainer version for Air National Guard, 30 built.
8 TA-7C modified into electronic aggressor aircraft used by VAQ-34, upgraded to A-7E standard while retaining twin seats in 1984.
Ex-USN A-7As rebuilt for Portuguese Air Force, 44 refurbished with TF30-P-408 engines and avionics fit similar to the A-7E.