Well I have to give you some details that you probably don't know but I'm glad I have that information...it came from the ordinary FAP pilots and people that work in a day-by-day basis with our air force. And to clear you out, unfortunetly it is the politics that make most of decisions not the regular FAP staff that takes care and fly the planes that those politicians order..that's the first point.
Regarding the arrival of the A7P to Portugal, the plane that actually Portugal needed at that time was a fighter, they tried to have the Northrop F-5E Tiger II
but there was no money to buy it!!! Portugal was just comming for a revolution in 1974 and Portugal economy was in very bad shape, so the closest that FAP could get was the A7, and even that airplane was in some way "forced to accept" by FAP because in early 80's NATO had the idea that a ground attack airplane was very important for an eventual attack by the Warsaw Pact in Central Europe so.....FAP got it, it was cheap and like the US people say "No bucks....no Buck Rogers!!!" and Portugal " so we didn't had other alternative. Now regarding those A7A's, do you know how many airframe were used to produce the first 25 A7P's???? I don't have the exact number but they were between 60 and 70 airframes....those low-time ones that you've mentioned.....it's more than 2.4/2.8 A7A low-time airframes to produce an A7P...don't you think that's too much???
When you say that the A7P was Portugal choise, well now you know why.....no money....so when you have no money you have to shop cheap. And the second batch it came it was again because Portugal didn't have enough money and if you think closely what could actually Portugal do???? They had already the air force shapped for the A7P, they had pilots certified to fly the A7P, do you think it would be wise to suddenly buy the F-16 or the F-5???? Portugal is not a rich country....it's not like some air forces that can keep fighters for a few years and then they just broke them up and buy new ones....not in Portugal! But in the end the A7P was a "cost spender"...there were times that from maybe 25 active A7P's only 8 or 9 were ready to fly, there were shortage of spares because the circuit of those was slow and the plane was already out of production so FAP had to use some of the other 16/17 A7P active to take spares out of them.....that only happened with the A7P Corsair.
Regarding the F-16's...well you of course know that Portugal bought the inicial batch of 17 F-16A's + 3 F-16B's fresh from the factory and the other 25 came from the Air Force.....and one thing I can tell you...all those 2nd. hand F-16's that Portugal received were completely rebuilt in OGMA workshops in Alverca by Portugal, in the other hand those A7P's came refurbished from USA...of course I'm not telling the the work in USA was not good but one thing I'm sure.......I preffer to have any work donne with portuguese hands...I'm sorry but you must understand I'm portuguese!!!
Finnally one question, when USA sale airplanes to foreign air forces who pick the planes to be ready for those air forces??? It is of course US people right? Don't you think it is smart from USA to reserve the very good ones for themselves and maybe "the just good ones" for the others???? I would do the same if I was USA......you don't give the best, you give the good...that's the same everywhere in the world and USA is not exception. Do you know why Portugal didn't got the Kaman S-2G Seasprite and the UH-1H helicopters???? because both would be refurbished and Portugal didn't want to have nightmares in the future with maintenance!
Just a curiosity, in the 80's Portugal Air Force had two active duties with NATO and their 2 single pilot airplanes, the A7P in a case of war would go to Germany and be in combat there, the Fiat G.91R3/R4 would be in northern Italy to combat there!