The Corsair II was designed as a lightweight attack aircraft to supplement and later replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. In addition to service in our Navy, Corsair II's were flown by our Air Force, Air National Guard, and several other nations. The Ling Temco-Vought A-7 production line started on 19 March 1964 and continued until September 1984; 1,545 were built. Its first flight, powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF3O-P-6 turbofan engine, was on 27 September 1965. Navy Preliminary Evaluations were underway in January 1966. Test programs were accomplished with wartime urgency, and the first fleet delivery (VA-174) was on 14 October 1966. Retirement of the last two Navy A-7 aircraft fleet operational squadrons (VA-46 and VA-72) was in May 1991.

Our display aircraft, NA-7A BuNo 152658 (Salty Dog 658), spent its entire operational life involved in test and evaluation work. Following its Navy Preliminary Evaluation at Ling-Temco-Vought, it arrived at Patuxent River in September 1966. Board of Inspection and Survey trials began immediately. Participating in the early aircraft carrier suitability trials (USS AMERICA), it was one of the first Corsair II's to land on a ship. In 1969, it was modified, instrumented, and configured as the Navy's only A-7A with the Allison TF4I-2A turbofan engine. It served as the Navy's testbed for that engine development and component improvement program for years. Modified for testing, it is configured with the A-7D (Air Force version) fuel system and tail, the A-7B and E flap system, and the A-7E engine. It logged over 2,527 testing flight hours, made its final flight on 27 October 1978 and joined our Patuxent River Naval Air Museum stable in mid-1979.

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