The A-7 Corsair II in World War III
The LTV A-7 Corsair II was the U.S. Navy's main light attack aircraft of the Third World War, and though it had been retired from active USAF service with the arrival of the A-10, it was a mainstay of Air National Guard squadrons assigned to the Close Air Support mission. The aircraft was out of production when the war began, and though evacuation of the LTV plant in Dallas, TX was not possible, due to the need to relocate both the General Dynamics F-16 plant as well as Bell Helicopter, the plans for the production tools and jigs, along with the work force, were successfully evacuated, and the plant disabled before the evacuation of Dallas. Production was restarted at the Martin Marietta facility in Baltimore beginning in late 1986, and production of the A-7D, E, and A-7K continued until 1989, for both the USAF and the USN. In addition, A-7A, B, and C versions stored at AMARC were issued to both USAF and USN squadrons suffering from attrition. Though in the early stages of being replaced by the F/A-18A Hornet at the outbreak of war, the aircraft performed well, and is still fondly remembered as the SLUF, or “Short Little Ugly 'Fella'” (the polite term). This work covers A-7 variants that saw wartime service.
A list of Corsair variants:
A-7A: Initial USN version. In storage at AMARC, but issued to fill attrition in both the USAF and USN. Armed with two 20-mm Mark 12 cannon, equipped with An/APN-153 Nav radar, AN/APQ-115 TFR, and AN/APQ-99 attack radar.
A-7B: Uprated A-7A with TF-30-P408 engine and APQ-116 TFR. Also in storage at AMARC when war began.
A-7C: First production A-7E with TF-30-P408 engine, though with A-7E avionics and M-61 cannon
A-7D: USAF version with boom receptacle instead of USN inflight refueling probe, though production aircraft had the probe installed or retrofitted.. Armament changed to one M-61A1 Vulcan cannon instead of twin 20-mm. Engine upgraded to Allison TF-41A-1 turbofan. AN/APN-185 nav radar, and AN/APQ-126 TFR. AGM-65 Maverick missile capability added.
A-7E. USN version of D with TF-41A-2 engine. M-61 Vulcan cannon, and provision for AGM-65, AGM-62 Walleye, AGM-45 Shrike, and AGM-88 HARM. AN/APN-190 nav radar and AN/APQ-128 TFR.
TA-7C: two-seat training version of A-7C. A-7E engine and avionics later retrofitted.
YA-7F: Single-seat, stretched, supersonic version with F110 engine and optimized for interdiction/strike mission. Two built before cancellation of program.
A-7G: Proposed version for Switzerland: not built.
A-7H: A-7E version for Greece without air refueling capability.
TA-7H: Training version of A-7H.
EA-7L: TA-7Cs modified for electronic aggressor role for VAQ-34. Refitted with A-7E engine and avionics.
A-7K: Two-seat training version for Air National Guard; production restarted during war for FAC mission.
A-7P: A-7As rebuilt from AMARC storage with A-7E avionics and TF-30P-408 engine for Portugal.
TA-7P: Six A-7As converted to training version of A-7P. Final LTV prewar contract.