Century Wings CW589292 US Navy Vought A-7E Corsair II Attack Aircraft - AJ300, VA-82 "Marauders", USS Nimitz (CVN-68), 1978 (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 an A-7E Corsair II that was assigned to VA-82 Marauders during 1978. Only 2,500 pieces to be produced.
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 7.75 inches
Release Date: March 2008
Historical Account: "Marauders" - The origin of Strike Fighter Squadron 82, based ashore at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, dates back to May 1st, 1967, when VA-82 was established as an A-7A Corsair II Light Attack Squadron. Attack Squadron 82 made its first deployment aboard USS America (CV 66) during her maiden cruise to North Vietnam in April 1968. VA-82 returned to Southeast Asia in September 1969 aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43).
The unit transitioned to the A-7E in August 1970. Engine problems, however, forced the grounding of the whole A-7E fleet.
As a result, when the Marauders made their final North Vietnam deployment aboard USS America (CV 66) in July 1971, the squadron was operating A7-C aircraft, making the unit, along with VA-86, the only operational A7-C squadron in the fleet.
VA-82 completed its last cruise with the venerable A-7E Corsair II in June 1987. On July 13th, 1987, Attack Squadron 82 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 82. With the delivery of the first FA-18C in November 1987, VFA-82 become the first FA-18C squadron.
The YA-7A made its first flight on September 27th, 1965, and began to enter Navy squadron service late in 1966. The first Navy A-7 squadrons reached operation status on February 1st, 1967, and began combat operations over Vietnam in December of that year.