The A-7 Corsair II was initially developed in response to a 1963 U.S. Navy requirement for an aircraft to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. Since the Navy wanted the aircraft to be in service by 1967, the speed of development was essential. The Vought company based their contract-winning design on their F-8 Crusader which was already in Navy service. The prototype flew in 1965 and the first A-7 squadron entered combat in Vietnam in December 1967. The plane proved to be wildly successful as a close air support and strike aircraft. In 1968, the A-7D version of the Corsair II went into production for the U. S. Air Force. Changes included a more powerful engine, improved avionics, and an internal gun. The Navy was impressed with the improved performance of the new version and it was adopted for Navy use as the A-7E. They entered service in 1970 and remained in front line use until 1991 where they saw combat for the last time over Iraq and Kuwait.
VA-46 (Navy Attack Squadron 46) USS John F. Kennedy, 1991. Markings below the cockpit of the aircraft indicate the actual number of bombs dropped by this aircraft rather than the number of missions flown.
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