The A-7 Corsair (Dec 1967)
The LTV A-7 Corsair II was designed to the Navy’s requirements to replace the A-4 Skyhawk in the light attack role. Based in general on the design of the F-8 Crusader, the A-7 could carry up to 15,000lb of bombs, had advanced avionics and was powered by the newly developed TF30 turbofan. The aircraft first flew on 27 September 1965 and was first delivered to the Navy in September 1966. VA-147 was the first operationally ready A-7A squadron and deployed on board the USS Ranger to introduce the new aircraft to Vietnam. The carrier took up its position on the line on 3 December and the A-7 made its combat debut the following day. Despite problems with its engine, the aircraft soon proved a success and did eventually replace most of the A-4 squadrons of TF 77 in the light attack and Iron Hand roles. Later variants include the A-7B, A-7C and the A-7E while the USAF was so impressed with the Corsair that it later ordered the A-7D version.