Retired Navy Rear Adm. James C. Longino Jr., 58, who was a fighter pilot and carrier skipper, died Sunday at Steffisburg-Station, Switzerland, after a heart attack.

He and his wife, Helen O'Brien Longino, had maintained a home in Washington since his retirement lastJuly, and had gone to Switzerland to spend a year.

Adm. Longino was defense attache at the American Embassy in London when he retired. He went there in 1974 after a three-year assignment here as deputy director for plans of the defense Intelligence Agency.

Born in Fairburn, Ga., Adm. Longino graduated from the Navel Academy at Annapolis in 1940. He was serving on the cruiser U.S.S. Pensacola when this country entered World War I.

He trained as a pilot at Pensacola, Fla., and assumed command of Carrier Air Group 40 in 1944. The group, operating from the carrier U.S.S. Suwannee, participated in the final air strikes against Japan.

Adm. Longino then was assigned as aviation personnel planner for the chief of naval operations here until 1949, when he was sent to Paris as assistant navel air attache witn NATO.

From 1953 to 1956, he taught at Columbia University, where he received a master's degree in international affairs.

He returned to Washington in 1960 for duty with the political military policy division of the office of chief of naval operations.

Adm. Longino took command of the tanker U.S.S. Canisteo in 1963 and then commanded the carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain, flagship for the hunter-killer-forces, Atlantic Fleet.

He commanded that carrier in 1965 when it recovered Astronauts Charles Conrad and L. Gordon Cooper in the Atlantic after their 120-orbit Gemini Five Space flight.

Selected to flag rank in 1967, Adm. Longino was assigned to his second NATO post as deputy director for intelligence, U.S. European Command, in Stuttgart West Germany.

He took command of Fleet Air, San Diego, in 1969, and then doubled as commander of antisubmarine war fare group 3.

Adm. Longino won the Legion of Merit four times, the Air Medal nine times, the Distinguished Flying Cross three times, and was awarded the French Legion of Honor.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Helen of San Francisco, Mrs. Thomas Ferrel, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Mrs. Maurice Jordan, of London, England; a son, James, with the U.S. Army in Okinawa; his father, retired Army Col. James C. Longino, of Winter Park Fla.; a sister, Virginia Sanders, of Norfolk, Va., and one grandchild.