Century Wings CW589315 US Navy Vought A-7E Corsair II Attack Aircraft - NE400, VA-25 "Fist Of The Fleet", USS Ranger (CV-61), 1975 (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 19 March 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 USN A-7E Corsair II attach aircraft that was attached to VA-25 'Fist Of The Fleet', then embarked upon the USS Ranger, during 1975.
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 7.75 inches
Release Date: April 2008
Historical Account: "Fist of the Fleet" - The Fist of the Fleet was originally commissioned Torpedo Squadron 17 (VT-17) in 1943, and fought during World War II with TBF Avenger and SB2C Helldiver attack bombers.
Following WWII, the squadron was redesignated as VA-6B, then again as VA-65 in December 1947. This coincided with the squadron's transition to the plane it would fly for the next 21 years, the A-1 Skyraider, affectionately nicknamed the "Spad." The squadron sailed aboard the USS Coral Sea on its maiden voyage in early 1948.
The outbreak of hostilities with Korea saw the squadron transferred to NAS Moffett Field. Then in 1950, the squadron deployed to Korean waters aboard the USS Boxer, logging 1,645 combat missions.
In 1959, the squadron was redesignated VA-25. In 1962, the squadron moved to its current home, the newly-completed NAS Lemoore.
From 1965 through 1968, the squadron made three deployments to Southeast Asia, still flying the A-1. During this period, Fist pilots flew over 3,000 combat missions, dropping more than 10 millions pounds of ordnance on enemy targets. On June 20, 1965, a division of "Spads" were attacked by a section of Vietnamese MiG-17's deep in North Vietnam - the Fists successfully scored a guns kill against one of the jet-powered fighters.
When the Fists turned in their A-1 "Spads" in 1968, it was the last tactical propeller driven squadron in the Navy. The squadron next obtained the A-7 Corsair II, with which it again deployed to Southeast Asia after only four months of training, aboard the USS Ticonderoga. It was during this cruise that the Fists set a record - in 33 flying days, Fist pilots flew 1,650 sorties in combat. During this period, each squadron pilot averaged over 92 hours in the air.