The A-7 Corsair II was a US carrier-based attack jet aircraft which was used by the US Navy during the Vietnam War. Although the A-7 was initially manufactured for the US Navy as a replacement of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, later it was also deployed by the US Air Force to replace the A-1 Skyraider and the F-100 Super Sabre. The Corsair II was developed by the American firm Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV). The prototype YA-7A made its first flight on September 26, 1965, entering into service with the United States Navy in February 1967.
The design of the LTV A-7 Corsair II was based on the F-8 Crusader fighter. It had a similar configuration, but was shorter and more stubby, with a rounded nose. The wing had a longer span, and the unique variable incidence wing of the F-8 was omitted. To achieve the required range, the A-7 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan producing 11,345 lbf of thrust. Pilots of the early A-7s lauded the aircraft for general ease of flying (with the exceptions of poor stability on cross-wind 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.
The first US Navy A-7A attack aircraft were deployed to Vietnam in 1967 with VA-147 Argonauts aboard USS Ranger. The aircraft made their first combat sortie on December 4, 1967. In the following months, VA-147 flew around 1,400 sorties losing only one aircraft. The US Air Force A-7Ds were also extensively used in Vietnam and Cambodia with 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, and the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying from Korat RTAFB, Thailand. A-7s from the 354th TFW entered action in October 1972 and attacked targets as far as 800 km from airbases, extensively utilizing mid-air refueling. Variants: A-7A, A-7B, A-7C, TA-7C (two-seat trainer version), A-7D, A-7E, A-7G.
Engine: one Allison TF41-A-2 turbofan.
Maximum speed: 698 mph (1,123 km/h) at sea level.
Combat radius: 700 mi (1,127 km).
Ferry range: 2,860 mi (4,600 km) with external fuel tanks.
Length: 46 ft 1.5 in (14.06 m).
Wingspan: 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m).
Avionics: Texas Instruments AN/APQ-126 terrain following radar.
Weapons: one 20mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan gatling gun; four LAU-10 rocket pods, each with four 127mm Mk 32 Zuni rockets; two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles; two air-to-ground AGM-45 Shrike Anti-radiation missiles; two air-to-ground AGM-65 Maverick; two GBU-15 electro-optically guided Glide bombs; the A-7 could carry up to 500 lb (227 kg) of Mark 82 bombs.
LTV A-7 Corsair II (Video)