NATO ally Greece retired the last operational A-7 Corsair IIs in service world-wide with a final fly-by at Araxos AB, Greece, Oct. 17, officials announced. The Air National Guard retired its final A-7D/K—known affectionately as the “Sluff”— in 1992. The bulk of Greece’s A-7s were transferred from US Navy stocks when the service retired its fleet after Operation Desert Storm, according to an IHS Jane’s report. Thailand and Portugal also operated ex-Navy A-7s into the early 2000s, leaving Greece as the last Corsair II operator in the world. The venerable A-7 clocked some 355,000 sorties, racking up approximately 440,000 flying hours during its 39 years of Greek service, according to the press report. The Hellenic Air Force’s final Corsair II unit, 336 Squadron, is slated to join its sister unit flying the F-16C/D from Araxos in northwestern Greece. (USAF A-7D/K factsheet)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.