The EA-7L was used to simulate Soviet aircraft, often carrying a variety of jamming and ECM pods
Built by LTV Aerospace Corporation (the same company that produced the iconic F-8 Crusader), the A-7 Corsair II replaced the A-4 Skyhawk as Naval Aviation’s front line light attack aircraft. The A-7 performed its maiden flight in Sep. 1965 and resembled the F-8 Crusader especially in the single jet intake gaping beneath the nose.
Because of a shortage of TA-4 Skyhawks, eight TA-7Cs were modified into EA-7L. These jets were used by Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34 (VAQ-34) ‘Electric Horsemen’ within the Fleet Electronic Warfare Support Group (FEWSG) to simulate Soviet aircraft, often carrying a variety of jamming and ECM pods.
The EA-7Ls were upgraded to A-7E standard while retaining twin seats in 1984. The aircraft were retired in 1991.
Today only few pictures of this forgotten variant of the mighty SLUF remain.
Photo credit: PH2 Bruce Trombecky / U.S. Navy and Sgt. W. Thornton / U.S. Air Force