Century Wings CW782945 US Navy Vought A-7E Corsair II Attack Aircraft - NF301, VA-93 "Ravens", CO, USS Midway (CV-41), 1981 (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 11 February 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 USN A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft that was attached to VA-93 "Ravens" then embarked upon the USS Midway during 1981. Only 1,500 pieces produced.
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 7.75 inches
Release Date: August 2010
Historical Account: "Proud Birds" - In 1977, the Ravens received the newest version of the proven A-7 with an advanced weapons delivery system. As part of the forward deployed USS Midway Carrier Air Wing 5 team, the squadron represented US interests in the Philippine, Australia, Thailand, Kenya, and Korea. The Ravens deployed four times to the Indian Ocean from 1979 through 1981 in response to the Iranian hostage crisis.
Awards for the Ravens include the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (twice awarded), the Battle "E" (three times awarded), CNO Safety "S", and the LTJG Bruce Carrier Memorial Award for maintenance excellence (three times awarded).
In the following years leading up to Desert Storm the USS Midway and Carrier Air Wing 5 made many cruises throughout WESTPAC and the Indian Ocean. Of interest are the NORPACS of Sept/Oct 1982 and Feb/Mar 1983. The weather conditions in the waters off the Alaska were some of the worst imaginable.
Complete list of at-sea periods from June 1981 through April 1991 Dates for VA-93 involvement stop on March 24th, 1986.
Attack Squadron Ninety Three flew off the Midway for the last time on March 24th, 1986. The squadron returned to CONUS while the Midway went through modifications to allow the F/A-18 Hornet to operate from her. The Ravens were scheduled to transition to the F/A-18 Hornet and return to the Midway when her modifications were complete. The squadron reported to NAS Lemoore between April and May 1986. By then the decision was made that VA-93 was to be disestablished, and not transition to F/A-18 Hornets. Their disestablishment date was August 31st, 1986.