The last operational Vought/LTV A-7 Corsairs are retiring in October, but not before they made a final visit to the U.K.
While the Royal International Air Tattoo should have been the venue for the international debut of the F-35 Lightning II, it was also the final swansong for a stalwart of the skies.
Greece is home to the world’s last operational Vought/LTV A-7 Corsairs, but not for much longer.
This October the aircraft will retire almost 50 years after its first flight.
Better known as the SLUF –- short for the Short Little Ugly Fella (ruder versions of the name are also available) -– the A-7 was once the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier strike groups and also the United States Air Force, but the type was never really a huge export success. Former U.S. examples made it to Greece, Portugal and Thailand.
But now only Greece is left with a single squadron, 336 Mira based at Araxos Airbase, where the unit flies a mix of single-seat A-7Es and twin-seat TA-7s.
Quite often, European air arms shy away from showing off the older types in their inventory, and are keener to show of their latest buys. Fortunately Greece is one nation that is more than happy to bring those aging types to shows and is clearly proud to still be operating the A-7. The type’s appearance at RAF Fairford on July 11-13 attracted huge interest, with the unit’s specially painted aircraft in a black color scheme, winning the show’s best paint scheme award.