Century Wings CW782969 US Navy Vought A-7E Corsair II Attack Aircraft - AC-400, CAG, VA-72 "Blue Hawks", USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), Operation Desert Storm, 1991 [Commemorative Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft design that was introduced to replace the A-4 Skyhawk in US Naval service and based on the successful supersonic F-8 Crusader aircraft produced by Chance Vought. The A-7 was one of the first combat aircraft to feature a head-up display (HUD), doppler-bounded inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine. It initially entered service with the United States Navy during the Vietnam conflict and was then adopted by the United States Air Force to replace their A-1 Skyraiders that were borrowed from the Navy as well as with the Air National Guard. It was exported to Greece (in the 1970s), Portugal and Thailand (in the late 1980s).
In 1962, the United States Navy began preliminary work on VAX (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Experimental), a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk with greater range and payload. A particular emphasis was placed on accurate delivery of weapons to reduce the cost per target. The requirements were finalized in 1963 and in 1964, the Navy announced the VAL (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Light) competition. Contrary to USAF philosophy, which was to employ only supersonic fighter bombers such as the F-105 Thunderchief and F-100 Super Sabre, the Navy felt that a subsonic design could carry the most payload the farthest distance. One story illustrated that a "slow fat duck" could fly nearly as fast as a supersonic one, since carrying dozens of iron bombs also restricted its entry speed, but a fast plane with small wings and an afterburner would burn up a lot more fuel. To minimize costs, all proposals had to be based on existing designs. Vought, Douglas Aircraft, Grumman, and North American Aviation responded. The Vought proposal was based on the successful F-8 Crusader fighter, having an identical configuration, but more short and stubby, with a rounded nose. It was selected as the winner on February 11th, 1964, and on March 19th the company received a contract for the initial batch of aircraft, designated A-7. In 1965 the aircraft received the popular name Corsair II, after Vought's highly successful F4U Corsair of World War II.
Compared to the F-8 Crusader fighter, the A-7 had a shorter, broader fuselage. The wing was made larger, and the unique variable incidence wing of the F-8 was deleted. To achieve the required range, A-7 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan producing 11,345 lbf (50.5 kN) of thrust, the same innovative combat turbofan produced for the F-111, but without the afterburner needed for supersonic speeds. Turbofans achieve greater efficiency by moving a larger mass of air at a lower velocity.
The aircraft was fitted with an AN/APQ-116 radar which was integrated into the ILAAS digital navigation system. The radar also fed a digital weapons computer which made possible accurate delivery of bombs from a greater stand-off distance, greatly improving survivability compared with faster platforms such as the F-4 Phantom II. It was the first US aircraft to have a modern Heads-Up Display, now a standard instrument, which displayed information such as dive angle, airspeed, altitude, drift, and aiming reticle. The integrated navigation system allowed for another innovation – the projected map display system (PMDS) which accurately showed aircraft position on two different map scales.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft that was attached to VA-72 "Blue Hawks" then participating in Operation Desert Storm during 1981. Only 1,800 pieces produced.
Release Date: September 2010
Historical Account: "Big John" - USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) (formerly CVA-67), the last American non-nuclear powered aircraft carrier to have been built, is a supercarrier of the United States Navy. Nicknamed "Big John", she was named after the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was originally designated a CVA (Fixed wing attack carrier); however, the designation was changed to CV to denote that the ship was capable of anti-submarine warfare, making her an all-purpose carrier.
After nearly 40 years of service in the United States Navy, Kennedy was officially decommissioned on August 1st, 2007. She is berthed at the NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of November 2009, she was available for donation as a museum and memorial to a qualified organization.