The designation A-7C was initially reserved for a two-seat training version of the A-7B Corsair II, which never materialized. The Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk was ordered instead.
The USAF had ordered a version of the Corsair II (designated A-7D), powered by the Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan engine. The TF41 was a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Spey. The Navy decided to adopt this engine for its Corsair IIs as well. The Spey-powered Navy Corsair was to be designated A-7E.
However, because of delays in producing the American-built Spey, the first 67 A-7Es ordered were delivered with TF30-P-8 engines. They differed from the A-7B in having all of the other improvements scheduled for the A-7E, including a heads-up display, a new avionics package, and an M61 rotary cannon in place of the two single-barreled guns. After delivery, these planes were redesignated A-7C. For some reason, however, the construction numbers for the A-7Cs were in the E-series.
The first A-7C (BuNo 156734) flew for the first time on November 25, 1968, piloted by Robert Rostine. First A-7C deliveries were to the training squadron VA-122 at NAS Lemoore, California, which received its first planes in July 1969. Only two operational squadrons, VA-82 and VA-86, were equipped with A-7Cs. These two squadrons each made a single combat deployment to Vietnam aboard USS America. Two additional peacetime deployments were made before these two squadrons converted to A-7Es.
156734/156740 Ling Temco Vought A-7C-1-CV Corsair II (7) c/n E.001/007 156741/156761 Ling Temco Vought A-7C-2-CV Corsair II (21) c/n E.008/028 156762/156800 Ling Temco Vought A-7C-3-CV Corsair II (39) c/n E.029/067