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Missile Racks for Sidewinders

A-7 Corsair II on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, CV63.
Below the wing, just above and behind the star, you can see the racks
for the sidewinder missiles.

Another name for the A-7 is "SLUF" Short Little Ugly Fellow
A-7 Corsair II belonging to VA-192 the World Famous Golden Dragons

Photo by C. Jeff Dyrek

A-7 Corsair Books     A-7 Corsair Movies     A-7 Corsair Models

Sidewinder Missile Racks on the A-7 Corsair II.

There are several things to look at on this picture. One, look below the canopy. You can see two bright things sticking out of the side of the jet. These are folding steps. Below and to the front of the bottom step is a larger open door. This is where a retractable ladder is stored. The pilot opens the door, pulls down the ladder, then folds down the steps attached to the ladder. The ladder is actually just a single tube with steps attached to each side

Now look at the star on the side of the jet. Just behind the star is another device attached to the side of the fuselage. This is a missile rack where the sidewinder missiles attach. I imagine that many kinds of missiles can be attached here, however I have only seen the Sidewinders heat seeking missile mounted to this rack.0009496ALT="A-7B Corsair II" HSPACE=10 VSPACE=10 BORDER=2 height=178 width=250 align=RIGHT>

Next, look at the pylons hanging below the wing, there are actually three pylons on each wing but we can only see two.  This is where the bombs are mounted. If you look real close you can see small adjusting screws on the bottom of the pylons. If you mount an external fuel tank here, what you see on the plane now is all that you will need. But if you mount bombs you need a couple of things called MER's or TER's.

A MER is a Multiple Ejection Rack. This type of rack will hold six bombs. A TER is a Triple Ejection Rack. This type of rack is made for bigger bombs and will hold only three bombs therefore it is called a Triple Ejection Rack.

You can't see it, but behind the pilots seat, mounted on the rear bulkhead, is a bomb sequencer. Instead of the pilot pressing the button and having all of the bombs drop at once, with the sequencer, when the pilot presses the button, a preset pattern of the bombs drop. For instance, he may drop two bombs at a time each time he presses the button.  Or, he may press the button once, and have two bombs drop, then after two seconds two more bombs drop, and again repeating this pattern until all of the bombs are dropped.

This sequencer must be adjusted by the pilot or weapons loading technician while on the ground before the mission. Because of the sequencers position, it would be very difficult to adjust while in flight. I don't know why it is done this way, but I guess I just don't know everything. 

Again, this is not a TV program. Every mission is very precisely planned even to things like what sequence that these bombs should be dropped. 

And one more thing that pops into my mind, unlike the movie, "Iron Eagle," no kid is going to jump into one of these aircraft and do anything except crash. I don't care how many simulators he has flown.


I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I've enjoyed your web site this morning. I was an AO2 in your sister squadron VA-195 "Dam Busters" deployed on the Kittyhawk for the 1970-`71 Westpac cruise. I have many fond memories of the A7E and the Kittyhawk which have recently been rekindled by my scanning the slides I took during that cruise. I have many photos of CVW 11 aircraft and in particular many of A7E's. Including a series that one of our pilots took for me while on a mission over Viet Nam. If you are interested in seeing any of these please let me know.

Patrick Williams (ex-AO2)
St. George, UT

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Specifications for the A-7E Corsair
Please note that these specs are only for one version of this aircraft. Other versions probably have different engines and other specifications
Manufacturer LTV Vought
Length 46'
Height 16'
Span 38'9"
Area 375 sq. ft.
Empty Weight 19,490 lbs..
Max. Weight 42,000 lbs..
Engines 1
Powerplant Allison TF41-A-2
Thrust 15000 lbs.. 
Range  2280
Max. Speed 602 kts.

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