The A-7 Corsair II’s first flight occurred on September 27, 1965.
The airplane was designed to replace the A-4 Skyhawk as Naval Aviation’s front-line light attack airplane. Although it provided no significant improvement in speed (693 M.P.H. vs. 673 M.P.H.) over the A-4, it could carry a heavier bomb load and boasted a longer range, which extended the striking power of the carrier air wing.
When Vought designed the A-7 Corsair II, it incorporated some design elements of its F-8 Crusader, notably placement of the jet intake under the nose. The fuselage was more compressed than the sleek F-8, and one of the unofficial nicknames for the the A-7 was the “SLUF” or “Short, Little, Ugly…”
From first flight to first combat took just over two years (September 1965 to December 1967), a remarkably fast development cycle for the A-7. Born in battle over Vietnam, the A-7 subsequently flew combat missions over Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Panama and Operation Desert Storm.
Squadron of Firsts:
Attack Squadron (VA) 147 was the first operational squadron equipped with the Corsair II. The Argonauts are also the first operational Navy squadron to fly the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
The Museum’s Aircraft:
The aircraft on display entered service in 1978 and flew 39 combat missions with the VA-46 Clansmen off USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) during Operation Desert Storm. It was flight delivered to the museum by the squadron skipper, CDR (later ADM) Mark “Lobster” Fitzgerald following return from that deployment.