The US Army was not permitted to operate fixed-wing combat aircraft, but it nevertheless required close support for its troops in the field. To meet this need, the Army pressured the USAF for a specialized subsonic close-support aircraft that would suit its needs better than the general-purpose supersonic aircraft that the USAF preferred. The Vought A-7 seemed to be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to satisfy this need. However, the USAF was initially reluctant to take on yet another Navy-designed aircraft, but Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was insistent, and On November 5, 1965, Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown and USAF Chief of Staff General John McDonnell announced that they had decided to order a version of the Corsair II, designated A-7D, for the Tactical Air Command.
The A-7D differed from the Navy's Corsair II in several ways. For one, the Air Force insisted on significantly more power for its Corsair II version, and they selected the Allison TF41-A-1 turbofan engine, which was a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Spey. It offered a thrust of 14,500 pounds, over 2000 pounds greater than that of the TF30 that powered the Navy's Corsair IIs. Other changes included a heads-up display, a new avionics package, and an M61 rotary cannon in place of the two single-barreled 20-mm cannon. Also included was a computerized navigation/weapons delivery system with AN/APQ-126 radar and a heads-up display.
Two YA-7D prototypes were completed with TF30-P-6 engines, and the first of these flew on April 6, 1968., The first Spey-powered A-7D (67-14854) flew for the first time on September 26, 1968. The seventeenth production aircraft introduced a provision for boom flight refueling in place of the Navy's probe/drogue system, with the boom receptacle being on the top of the fuselage behind the cockpit and offset to port.
The A-7D first entered service with in 1970 with the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Luke AFB, and with the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB in South Carolina. The 354th TFW had previously been flying A-1 Skyraiders. The A-17Ds began to appear in Southeast Asia in October of 1972 in the close support role as well as in search and rescue operations. In October of 1972, the 354th TFW began flying its A-7Ds out of Korat, Thailand into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, 12,928 combat sorties were flown, with only 4 losses. The last US air strike into Cambodia was made by an A-7D on August 15, 1973.
A total of 459 A-7Ds were built, equipping three TAC wings and two Air National Guard squadrons. During the early 1980s, most A-7Ds were replaced by A-10 Thunderbolt IIs in USAF front-line service, but it remained in the Air National Guard squadrons for a while longer, equipping an eventual total of 14 ANG squadrons.
Engine: One Allison TF41-A-1 non-afterburning turbofan, 14,500 lb.s.t. Performance: Maximum speed 663 mph at 7000 feet, 654 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 507 mph. Landing speed 139 mph. Service ceiling 38,800 feet, combat ceiling 36,700 feet. Initial climb rate 10,900 feet per minute. Combat radius 560 miles with 6560 pound load and 2 300 gallon drop tanks. Maximum ferry range 3000 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 9 inches, 46 feet 1.5. inches long, 16 feet 1 inches, wingspan 375 square feet. Weights: 19,700 pounds empty, 38,000 pounds gross, 42,000 pounds maximum. Armament: One 20-mm M61 cannon with 1000 rounds. Up to 15,000 pounds of ordnance could be carried on 8 hardpoints.
67-14582/14584 Ling-Temco-Vought YA-7D-1-CV Corsair II c/n D.001/003 67-14585/14586 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II c/n D.004/005. 67-14587/14601 Cancelled contract for Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II 68-8220 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-1-CV Corsair II c/n D.006. 68-8221/8224 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-2-CV Corsair II c/n D.007/010. 68-8225/8231 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-3-CV Corsair II c/n D.011/017 68-8232/8281 Cancelled contract for Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II 69-6188/6244 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II 69-6188/6196 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-3-CV Corsair II c/n D.018/074. 69-6197/6207 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-4-CV Corsair II 69-6208/6220 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-5-CV Corsair II 69-6221-6244 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-6-CV Corsair II 69-6245/6333 Cancelled contract for LTV A-7D Corsair II 70-0929/0968 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-7-CV Corsair II c/n D.075/D.114 70-0969/1012 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-8-CV Corsair II c/n D.115/D.158 70-1013/1056 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-9-CV Corsair II c/n D.159/D.202 71-0292/0335 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-10-CV Corsair II c/n D.203/246 71-0336/0379 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-11-CV Corsair II c/n D-247/290 72-0169/0217 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-12-CV Corsair II c/n D.291/D.339 72-0218/0265 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-13-CV Corsair II c/n D.340/D.387 73-0992/1003 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-14-CV Corsair II c/n D.388/D.399. 73-1004/1015 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-15-CV Corsair II c/n D.400/D.411 74-1737/1760 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-16-CV Corsair II c/n D.412/435. 75-0386/0409 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-17-CV Corsair II c/n D.436/459.