1961 TO 1972



  Vought and Space Exploration









       P. Thayer

       S. Love

Plant Location

       Dallas (61)







Special Stories


         Transition Years


Chance Vought Corporation had separated from United Aircraft in December of 1954. Less than seven years later, it was merged into the conglomerate headed by Dallas financier James L. Ling. Ling had begun acquiring companies in 1956. In 1960, he merged with Vought's next-door neighbor, Temco, a general manufacturer with special strength in civil and military aircraft.

In 1961, Vought  itself was acquired by the conglomerate of James Ling and became part of the new Ling-Temco-Vought.

Ling's quiet purchase of Vought stock became public news early in 1961. After considerable controversy, Vought's Board of Director approved plans for the merger, which were carried out in August of 1961. Gifford Johnson served as president of the new subsidiary for a short time. The office was then taken over by Paul Thayer, longtime Vought employee and legendary test pilot.

Although the company was acquired, renamed, and re-organized, Vought's dedication to aviation continued. A month after it became part of Ling-Temco-Vought, the company was chosen by the Air Force to team with Ryan Aeronautical and Hillier Aircraft on the construction of the XC-142A. This large and extremely powerful aircraft was extensively tested by all three services as a V/STOL transport.

Vought led the way in V/STOL aircraft and then won the contract for the Navy's light attack aircraft (A-7A) in 1964. Vought was once again making Navy planes at full speed.

A few years later, Vought Aeronautics became the largest division of LTV Aerospace under Thayer, with J. R. Clark as General Manager of the division. All of Vought's non-defense subsidiaries had by then been sold.

Vought Missiles and Space Division was equally active. After Regulus, its programs had included Jindivik, Scout, Saturn 1B and several other projects for space exploration. The Michigan Division of LTV Aerospace developed and produced the Lance battlefield missile.

By 1969, the company seemed assured of success. It formed new subsidiaries for helicopter and general aviation work and added a division for ground transportation. The Ling-Temco-Vought conglomerate had grown to contain something like 200 companies. But a decline in financial markets showed just how far Ling had over-extended himself. Things began to come apart.

But by 1970, the troubles of the conglomerate became increasingly Vought's own problems.

Vought was forced to lay off nearly half the division's employees. Paul Thayer was moved up to replace Ling. Forbes Mann replaced Thayer as head of LTV Aerospace, while Sol Love took over as president of Vought Aeronautics. The mission for everyone: cut costs, cut companies, get back to the