Grumman A-6 Intruder: Aircraft profile

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The A-6 Intruder was the world's first fully all-weather attack bomber capable of detecting and identifying tactical or strategic targets, and delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance on them under zero-visibility conditions.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11) comes in for a landing.Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11) comes in for a landing.

This extremely accurate, low-altitude, long-range, subsonic weapons system is powered by two turbojet engines partially buried in its plump fuselage. While the Intruder may not win any beauty contests, it clearly excels in its assigned mission. The A-6 is capable of carrying all U.S. and NATO air-to-ground weapons in its five external store stations--a total payload of 18,000 pounds.

The Intruder is manned by a crew of two, pilot and bombardier-navigator, seated side by side. To assist them, the all-weather navigation and weapons delivery system provides an integrated electronic display which allows them to "see" targets and geographical features regardless of the effects of darkness or foul weather. Due to this ability, the Intruder has often been used as a pathfinder for other types of attack aircraft, allowing their use under conditions which would not normally permit a successful mission.

The A-6A first entered service in February 1963 with VA-42. The A-6B, whose primary job was the suppression of surface-to-air missiles, was basically an avionics modification of the A-6A with provisions for the Navy's anti-radiation missile. The A-6C, born of the SEAsia war, incorporates electro-optical sensors to observe and attack vehicles moving under cover of darkness.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of a Marine A-6 Intruder aircraft, equipped with part of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program system.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of a Marine A-6 Intruder aircraft, equipped with part of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program system.

The A-6E, last model in the series, features a multi-mode radar and an improved computer. The Intruder has been the mainstay of the Navy and Marine Corps air arms for more than three decades. It has been constantly improved upon over this time span and has been used for close-air-support, interdiction, and deep-strike missions. It is configured for both Harm and Harpoon missiles and with its radar and FLIR/laser systems, can detect, classify and attack a full range of targets.

The A-6E Intruder was replaced by the F/A-18 Hornet.

Source: US Navy

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The A-6 Intruder is an American twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. In service between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder was designed as an all-weather replacement for the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider medium attack aircraft. A specialized electronic warfare derivative, the EA-6B Prowler, remains in service as of 2008. As the A-6 was slated for retirement, its precision strike mission was taken over by the now retired F-14 Tomcat equipped with LANTIRN pod.

Design and development

The Intruder was developed in response to a United States Navy specification for an all-weather carrier-based attack aircraft to serve as a replacement for the piston-powered, World War II-era A-1 Skyraider. Grumman was awarded the contract in 1957, and the resulting A2F-1 made its first flight on 19 April 1960.

The jet nozzles were originally designed to swivel downwards, but this was dropped from production aircraft. The pilot sits in the left seat, while the bombardier/ navigator sits to the right and below. A unique CRT gives a synthetic display of terrain ahead which, with the additional crew member, enabled low-level flying in all weather conditions.

The wing is very efficient at subsonic speeds compared to supersonic fighters such as the F-4 Phantom II, which are also limited to subsonic speeds when carrying a payload of bombs. A very similar wing would be put on pivots on Grumman's later supersonic swing-wing F-14 Tomcat, as well as similar landing gear. The Intruder was also equipped with the "Deceleron", a type of airbrake on the wings with two panels that open in opposite directions; in this case, one panel goes up, while another goes down.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft refueling an F-14 Tomcat aircraft as another F-14 flies nearby. The aircraft are assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV-66).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft refueling an F-14 Tomcat aircraft as another F-14 flies nearby. The aircraft are assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV-66).

Operational history

The Intruder received a new standardized DOD designation of A-6A in the fall of 1962, and entered squadron service in February 1963. The A-6 became the USN and USMC's principal medium and all-weather/night attack aircraft from the mid-1960s through the 1990s and as an aerial tanker either in the dedicated KA-6D version or by use of a buddy store (D-704). This role was served in the USAF by the F-105 Thunderchief and later F-111 which was also later converted to a radar jammer as the EF-111 Raven. The A-6 first saw combat in Vietnam and in later engagements in Lebanon and Libya. The Intruder saw further duty during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, as well as over Bosnia in 1994, but it was phased out of service quickly in the mid-1990s in a Navy move to reduce the Type/Model/Series aircraft in the carrier airwing. It was intended for replacement by the A-12 Avenger II, but that program was canceled. The Intruder was left to soldier on for a few more years before retiring in favor of the LANTIRN equipped F-14 Tomcat, which was in turn replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Many questioned the shift to a shorter ranged strike force compared to the older generation aircraft. However, the availability of USAF tanking assets in all recent conflicts put a lesser premium on self contained range.

A-6 Intruders first saw action during the Vietnam War, where the craft were used extensively against targets in Vietnam. The aircraft's long range and heavy payload (18,000 lb/8,170 kg) coupled with its ability to fly in all weather made it invaluable during the war. However, its effectiveness in flying low and delivering its payload made it especially vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire and in the eight years the Intruder was used, the U.S. Navy and Marines lost 84 Intruders to all causes during the Vietnam War. The first loss occurred on 14 July 1965 when an Intruder from VA-75, flown by LT Donald Boecker and LT Donald Eaton, from the carrier USS Independence commenced a dive on a target near Laos. An explosion under the starboard wing damaged the starboard engine, causing the aircraft to catch fire, and the hydraulics to fail. Seconds later the port engine failed, the controls froze, and the two crewmen ejected. Both crewmen survived. On 21 August 1967 four A-6 Intruders from the carrier Constellation (Squadron VA-196) attacked a railway in North Vietnam, one A-6 piloted by CDR Leo Profilet and LCDR William Hardman was hit by a surface to air missile (SAM), their aircraft cartwheeled, and both crewmen ejected, becoming POWs. The three other A-6s continued their mission, then suddenly two of the three Intruders became separated from the third aircraft, and possibly due to the thunderstorms and low clouds, headed directly across into Communist China. They were attacked and shot down by Red Chinese MiG-19s (J-6s). LTs (JG) Dain Scott and Forrest Trembley, and LCDR Jimmy Buckley did not survive. LT Robert Flynn became a POW, and was repatriated on 15 March 1973. One of the most harrowing stories occurred when Lt. TJ Coughlin and his crewman made an emergency landing at sea and following a gun battle with boat forces of the NVA, they moved onto shore where another violent exchange occurred prior to both being rescued and returned to their ship. During this 36 hour engagement, 4 enemy soldiers were killed and two more were wounded.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Cockpit view (from the A-6) of an A-6E Intruder attack aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196) refueling an A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft from Light Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27). The removable in-flight refueling probe projects upward immediately forward of the wind-screen of the Intruder.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Cockpit view (from the A-6) of an A-6E Intruder attack aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196) refueling an A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft from Light Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27). The removable in-flight refueling probe projects upward immediately forward of the wind-screen of the Intruder.

Of the 84 Intruders lost to all causes during the war, ten were shot down by surface to air missiles (SAMs), two were shot down by MiGs (as noted above), 16 were lost to operational causes, and 56 were lost to conventional ground fire and AAA. Most U.S. Marine Corps A-6 Intruders were shore based in South Vietnam at Chu Lai and Da Nang. The last Intruder to be lost during the war was from Squadron VA-35, flown by LTs C. M. Graf and S. H. Hatfield, from the carrier USS America; they were shot down by ground fire on 24 January 1973 while providing close air support. The airmen ejected and were rescued by a Navy helicopter. Twenty U.S. Navy aircraft carriers rotated through the waters of Southeast Asia, providing air strikes, from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. Nine of those carriers lost A-6 Intruders: USS Constellation lost 11, USS Ranger lost eight, USS Coral Sea lost six, USS Midway lost two, Independence lost four, USS Kitty Hawk lost 14, USS Saratoga lost three, USS Enterprise lost eight, and USS America lost two.

A-6 Intruders were later used in support of other operations, such as the International forces in Lebanon (1983). One Intruder and one A-7 Corsair II were downed by Syrian missiles on 4 December.

Intruders also saw action operating from the aircraft carriers USS America and Coral Sea during Operation El Dorado Canyon in April 1986. The squadrons involved were VA-34 "Blue Blasters" (from America) and VA-55 "Warhorses" (from Coral Sea).

During Operation Desert Storm, Navy and Marine Corps A-6s logged more than 4,700 combat sorties, providing close air support, destroying enemy air defenses, attacking Iraqi naval units, and hitting strategic targets. They were also the Navy's primary strike platform for delivering laser-guided bombs. The U.S. Navy operated them from the aircraft carriers Saratoga, John F. Kennedy, Midway, Ranger, America, and Theodore Roosevelt. Four A-6s were shot down in combat by SAMs and AAA.

Following Desert Storm, Intruders were used to patrol the no-fly zone in Iraq and provided air support for Marines during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. The last A-6E Intruder left Marine Corps service on 28 April 1993.

The Intruder's large blunt nose and slender tail inspired a number of nicknames, including "Double Ugly", "The Mighty Alpha Six", "Iron Tadpole" and also "Drumstick".

Although the Intruder could not match the F/A-18's speed or air-combat capability, the A-6's range and load-carrying ability are still unmatched by newer aircraft in the fleet. The last Intruders were retired 28 February 1997.

A number of retired A-6 airframes were sunk off the coast of St. Johns County, Florida to form a fish haven entitled Intruder Reef. Surviving aircraft fitted with the new wings were stored at the AMARC storage center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft with two wing-mounted AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft with two wing-mounted AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.

Variants

YA-6A

This designation was given to eight prototypes and pre-production aircraft, used in the development of the A-6A Intruder.

A-6A

The initial version of the Intruder was built around the complex and advanced DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack/Navigation Equipment), intended to provide a high degree of bombing accuracy even at night and in poor weather. DIANE consisted of multiple radar systems: the Norden AN/APQ-92 search radar and a separate AN/APQ-112 for tracking, AN/APN-141 radar altimeter, and AN/APN-153 Doppler to provide position updates to the AN/ASN-31 inertial navigation system. An air-data computer and ballistics computer integrated the radar information for the bombardier/navigator (BN) in the right-hand seat. TACAN and ADF were also provided for navigational use. When it worked, DIANE was perhaps the most capable nav/attack system of its era, giving the Intruder the ability to fly and fight in even very poor conditions (particularly important over Vietnam and Thailand during the Vietnam War). It suffered numerous teething problems, though, and it was several years before its reliability was established.

Total A-6A production was 488, including six pre-production prototypes. Many of the surviving aircraft were converted to other variants.

A-6B

To provide Navy squadrons with a SEAD aircraft to attack enemy air defense and SAM systems--a mission dubbed "Iron Hand" in Navy parlance: 19 A-6As were converted to A-6B standard from 1967 to 1970. The A-6B had many of its standard attack systems removed in favor of special equipment to detect and track enemy radar sites and to guide AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard anti-radiation missiles. Five were lost in combat, and the rest were later converted to A-6E standard in the late 1970s.

A-6C

12 A-6As were converted in 1970 to A-6C standard for night attack missions against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam. They were fitted with a TRIM (Trails/Roads Interdiction Multi-sensor) pod in the fuselage for FLIR and low-light TV cameras, as well as a "Black Crow" engine ignition detection system. One of these aircraft was lost in combat, the others were later converted to A-6E standard after the war.

KA-6D

In the early 1970s some 78 A-6As and 12 A-6Es were converted for use as tanker aircraft, providing aerial refueling support to other strike aircraft. The DIANE system was removed and an internal refueling system was added, sometimes supplemented by a D-704 refueling pod on the centerline pylon. The KA-6D theoretically could be used in the day/visual bombing role, but it apparently never was, with the standard load-out being four fuel tanks. Because it was based on a tactical aircraft platform, the KA-6D provided a capability for mission tanking, the ability to keep up with strike packages and refuel them in the course of a mission. A few KA-6Ds went to sea with each Intruder squadron, and the retirement of the aircraft left a gap in USN and USMC refueling tanker capability. The USN S-3 Viking also has an aerial refueling capability, but its performance and fuel capacity effectively limit it to the role of recovery tanker. The loss of mission tanking capability was only later remedied by the new F/A-18E Super Hornet, which can act as a mission tanker.

A-6E

The definitive attack version of the Intruder, introduced in 1970, with its first deployment 9 December 1971, with vastly upgraded nav/attack systems. The original search and track radars of the A-6A were replaced by a single AN/APQ-148 Norden multi-mode radar, and the onboard computers with a more sophisticated (and generally more reliable) IC based system, as opposed to the A-6A's DIANE discrete transistor based technology. A new AN/ASN-92 inertial navigation system was added, along with the CAINS (Carrier Aircraft Intertial Navigation System), for greater navigation accuracy.

Beginning in 1979, all A-6Es were fitted with the AN/AAS-33 DRS (Detecting and Ranging Set), part of the TRAM (Target Recognition and Attack, Multi-Sensor) system, a small, gyroscopically stabilized turret, mounted under the nose of the aircraft, containing FLIR boresighted with a laser spot-tracker/designator and IBM System/4 Pi computer. TRAM was matched with a new AN/APQ-156 Norden radar. The BN could use both TRAM imagery and radar data for extremely accurate attacks, or use the TRAM sensors alone to attack without using the Intruder's radar (which might warn the target). TRAM also allowed the Intruder to autonomously designate and drop laser-guided bombs. In addition, the Intruder used AMTI (Airborne Moving Target Indicator) which allowed the aircraft to track a moving target (such as a tank or truck) and drop ordnance on him even though the target was moving. Also, the computer system allowed the use of Offset Aim Point (OAP), giving the crew the ability to drop on a target unseen on radar by noting coordinates of a known target nearby and entering the offset range and bearing to the unseen target.

In the early 1990s some surviving A-6Es were upgraded under SWIP (Systems/Weapons Improvement Program) to enable them to use the latest precision-guided munitions, including AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E SLAM, AGM-62 Walleye and the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile. After a series of wing-fatigue problems, about 85% of the fleet was fitted with new graphite/epoxy/titanium/aluminum composite wings.

A-6E models totaled 445 aircraft, about 240 of which were converted from earlier A-6A/B/C models.

A-6F and A-6G

An advanced A-6F Intruder II was proposed in the mid-1980s that would have replaced the Intruder's elderly Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojets with non-afterburning versions of the General Electric F404 turbofan used in the F/A-18 Hornet, providing substantial improvements in both power and fuel economy. The A-6F would have had totally new avionics, including a Norden AN/APQ-173 synthetic aperture radar and multi-function cockpit displays – the APQ-173 would have given the Intruder air-to-air capacity with provision for the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Two additional wing pylons were added, for a total of seven stations.

Although five development aircraft were built, the Navy ultimately chose not to authorize the A-6F, preferring to concentrate on the A-12 Avenger II. This left the service in a quandary when the A-12 was cancelled in 1991.

Grumman proposed a cheaper alternative in the A-6G, which had most of the A-6F's advanced electronics, but retained the existing engines. This, too, was cancelled.

Electronic warfare versions

An electronic warfare/ECM version of the Intruder was developed early in the aircraft's life for the USMC, which needed a new ECM platform to replace its elderly F3D-2Q Skyknights. An EW version of the Intruder, initially designated A2F-1Q and subsequently redesignated EA-6A, first flew on 26 April 1963. It had a Bunker-Ramo AN/ALQ-86 ECM suite, with most electronics contained on the walnut-shaped pod atop the vertical fin. They were theoretically capable of firing the AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile, although they were apparently not used in that role.

Only 28 EA-6As were built (two prototypes, 15 new-build, and 11 conversions from A-6As), serving with Marine Corps squadrons in Vietnam. It was phased out of front-line service in the mid-1970s, remaining in use in reserve units with the USMC and then the United States Navy primarily for training purposes. The last had been retired completely by 1993.

A much more highly specialized derivative of the Intruder was the EA-6B Prowler, a 'stretched' airframe with two additional systems operators, and more comprehensive systems for the electronic warfare and SEAD roles. In total, 170 were produced. The Prowler remains in service as of 2008, replacing the Air Force EF-111 Raven when the DOD decided to let the Navy handle all electronic warfare missions. It is to be replaced by the EA-18G Growler Super Hornet variant.

Prototypes/test aircraft

NA-6A

The redesignation of three YA-6As and three A-6As. The six aircraft were modified for special tests

YEA-6A

One YA-6A aircraft was converted into the EA-6A prototype.

YEA-6B

The designation of two EA-6B prototypes, which were modified for special test purposes.

NEA-6A

One EA-6A aircraft was modified for special test purposes.

Specifications (A-6E)

Data from Quest for Performance

General characteristics

* Crew: 2 (pilot, bombardier/navigator)

* Length: 54 ft 7 in (16.6 m)

* Wingspan: 53 ft (16.2 m)

* Height: 15 ft 7 in (4.75 m)

* Wing area: 529 ft² (49.1 m²)

* Airfoil: NACA 64A009 mod root, NACA 64A005.9 tip

* Empty weight: 25,630 lb (11,630 kg)

* Useful load: 34,996 lb (15,870 kg)

* Max takeoff weight: 60,626 lb (27,500 kg)

* Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney J52-P8B turbojets, 9,300 lbf (41.4 kN) each

* * Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0144

* Drag area: 7.64 ft² (0.71 m²)

* Aspect ratio: 5.31

Performance

* Maximum speed: 563 kn (648 mph, 1,040 km/h)

* Range: 2,819 NM (3,245 mi, 5,222 km)

* Service ceiling 40,600 ft (12,400 m)

* Rate of climb: 7,620 ft/min (38.7 m/s)

* Lift-to-drag ratio: 15.2

Armament

A-6 ordnance in 1962

The Intruder carries no internal armament, but can carry 18,000 lb (8,170 kg) evenly distributed on five external hardpoints, with options including:

o 2.75" (70 mm) Rocket Pod

o 5" (127 mm) Zuni Rocket Pod

o Mk-20 Rockeye

o Mk-77 Napalm

o Mk-81 (250 lb) (113 kg)

o Mk-82 Snakeye

o Mk-83 (1,000 lb) (454 kg)

o Mk-84 (2,000 lb) (907 kg)

o Mk-117 (750 lb) (340 kg)

o CBU-78 Gator

o GBU-10E Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb

o GBU-12D Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb

o GBU-16B Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb

o AGM-123A Skipper II

o AGM-45 Shrike

o AGM-62 Walleye

o AIM-9 Sidewinder

o AGM-84D Harpoon

o AGM-88 HARM

o AGM-84E SLAM

o AGM-65 Maverick

o AGM-123 Skipper

o B-61 Special Weapon

o Various Land mines

o Various underwater mines

o Various practice bombs [Mk-76, BDU-45, LGTR, etc...]

More photos:

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Various aircraft parked in formation aboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) include A-6 Intruders, foreground, F-14 Tomcats and A-7 Corsair IIs, background, E-2C Hawkeyes and EA-6B Prowlers, right.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Various aircraft parked in formation aboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) include A-6 Intruders, foreground, F-14 Tomcats and A-7 Corsair IIs, background, E-2C Hawkeyes and EA-6B Prowlers, right.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Cockpit view (from the A-6) of an A-6E Intruder attack aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196) refueling an A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft from Light Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27). The removable in-flight refueling probe projects upward immediately forward of the wind-screen of the Intruder.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Cockpit view (from the A-6) of an A-6E Intruder attack aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196) refueling an A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft from Light Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27). The removable in-flight refueling probe projects upward immediately forward of the wind-screen of the Intruder.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A KC-130 Hercules aircraft refuels an F-4 Phantom II aircraft, right, and an A-6 Intruder aircraft in flight.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A KC-130 Hercules aircraft refuels an F-4 Phantom II aircraft, right, and an A-6 Intruder aircraft in flight.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Flight deck personnel refuel an A-6 Intruder attack aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CV 43).Grumman A-6 Intruder: Flight deck personnel refuel an A-6 Intruder attack aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CV 43).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A silhouetted view of crewmen on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), as they participate in a search for foreign object damage. Visible in the background is an A-6 Intruder in flight.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A silhouetted view of crewmen on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), as they participate in a search for foreign object damage. Visible in the background is an A-6 Intruder in flight.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Various aircraft parked in formation aboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), include A-6 Intruders, foreground, F-14 Tomcats and A-7 Corsair IIs, background, SH-3 Sea King helicopters, left, E-2C Hawkeyes and EA-6B Prowlers, right.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Various aircraft parked in formation aboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), include A-6 Intruders, foreground, F-14 Tomcats and A-7 Corsair IIs, background, SH-3 Sea King helicopters, left, E-2C Hawkeyes and EA-6B Prowlers, right.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, Chief of Naval Operations, prepares for take-off aboard the A-6 Intruder aircraft that will take him to the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CVA 41) for a visit.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, Chief of Naval Operations, prepares for take-off aboard the A-6 Intruder aircraft that will take him to the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CVA 41) for a visit.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft comes in for recovery aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft comes in for recovery aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft comes for recovery aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft comes for recovery aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) fly over the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) during an air show. The aircraft include (right to left) F-14 Tomcats (top right), A-7 Corsair IIs (bottom right), S-3 Viking and A-6 Intruders.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) fly over the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) during an air show. The aircraft include (right to left) F-14 Tomcats (top right), A-7 Corsair IIs (bottom right), S-3 Viking and A-6 Intruders.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Air-to-air view of an A-3 Skywarrior aircraft preparing to refuel an A-6 Intruder aircraft, rear.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Air-to-air view of an A-3 Skywarrior aircraft preparing to refuel an A-6 Intruder aircraft, rear.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft prepares for launch aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft prepares for launch aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft with two wing-mounted AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft with two wing-mounted AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Top view of six A-4F Skyhawk aircraft from Marine Attack Squadron 133 (VMA-133) and an A-6 Intruder aircraft (rear) in flight.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Top view of six A-4F Skyhawk aircraft from Marine Attack Squadron 133 (VMA-133) and an A-6 Intruder aircraft (rear) in flight.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr. sits in the cockpit of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115) prior to a test flight.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr. sits in the cockpit of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115) prior to a test flight.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Front right view of 16 aircraft flying over the aircraft carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64). The aircraft are: top, four F-14 Tomcats, right, four A-6 Intruders, left, four A-7 Corsair IIs and bottom, a group of two S-3 Vikings, an EA-6B Prowler and an A-7 Corsair.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Front right view of 16 aircraft flying over the aircraft carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64). The aircraft are: top, four F-14 Tomcats, right, four A-6 Intruders, left, four A-7 Corsair IIs and bottom, a group of two S-3 Vikings, an EA-6B Prowler and an A-7 Corsair.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft refueling an F-14 Tomcat aircraft as another F-14 flies nearby. The aircraft are assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV-66).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft refueling an F-14 Tomcat aircraft as another F-14 flies nearby. The aircraft are assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV-66).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of a Marine A-6 Intruder aircraft, equipped with part of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program system.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of a Marine A-6 Intruder aircraft, equipped with part of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program system.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A Tomahawk cruise missile, launched from the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701), is followed by an A-6 Intruder aircraft as it travels toward its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A Tomahawk cruise missile, launched from the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701), is followed by an A-6 Intruder aircraft as it travels toward its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A Tomahawk cruise missile, launched from the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701), is followed by an A-6 Intruder aircraft as it travels toward its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A Tomahawk cruise missile, launched from the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701), is followed by an A-6 Intruder aircraft as it travels toward its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft is serviced aboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41) during CINCPAC Exercise FLEETEX '83. The US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Canadian navy are participating in the exercise near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft is serviced aboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41) during CINCPAC Exercise FLEETEX '83. The US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Canadian navy are participating in the exercise near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41) during CINCPAC Exercise FLEETEX '83. The US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Canadian navy are participating in the exercise near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.Grumman A-6 Intruder: An A-6 Intruder aircraft takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41) during CINCPAC Exercise FLEETEX '83. The US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Canadian navy are participating in the exercise near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A view of the refueling drogue from a KA-6D Intruder tanker aircraft connected to the refueling probe of an A-6 Intruder aircraft, as seen from the cockpit of the A-6.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A view of the refueling drogue from a KA-6D Intruder tanker aircraft connected to the refueling probe of an A-6 Intruder aircraft, as seen from the cockpit of the A-6.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A-6 Intruder aircraft is refueled during its flight to follow a Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missile to its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A-6 Intruder aircraft is refueled during its flight to follow a Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missile to its target on the Tonapah Test Range in Nevada.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) during flight operations.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A right side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) during flight operations.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of A-7 Corsair and A-6 Intruder aircraft assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of A-7 Corsair and A-6 Intruder aircraft assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).

Grumman A-6 Intruder flight: An air-to-air left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).Grumman A-6 Intruder flight: An air-to-air left side view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft assigned to the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of two A-6 Intruder aircraft as they take off.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of two A-6 Intruder aircraft as they take off.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A fuel hose is connected to an A-6 Intruder aircraft from a KC-10 Extender aircraft, for in-flight refueling during the joint Exercise Bright Start '83.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A fuel hose is connected to an A-6 Intruder aircraft from a KC-10 Extender aircraft, for in-flight refueling during the joint Exercise Bright Start '83.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A crewman watches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) as an A-6 intruder aircraft approaches for a landing.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A crewman watches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) as an A-6 intruder aircraft approaches for a landing.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft (wings folded) from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft (wings folded) from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A left front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from the Marine All-Weather Medium Attack Squadron 224 (VMA (AW)-224) parked on the flight line.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A crewman watches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) as an A-6 Intruder aircraft approaches for a landing.Grumman A-6 Intruder: A crewman watches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) as an A-6 Intruder aircraft approaches for a landing.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: A view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft and two F-4 Phantom II aircraft parked very close together along the edge of the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41).Grumman A-6 Intruder: A view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft and two F-4 Phantom II aircraft parked very close together along the edge of the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV 41).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft coming in for an arrested landing aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70).Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft coming in for an arrested landing aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70).

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft as an A-6 Intruder approaches it for refueling. Two other Intruders fly nearby.Grumman A-6 Intruder: An air-to-air right side view of an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft as an A-6 Intruder approaches it for refueling. Two other Intruders fly nearby.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: An aircraft handling officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CV 43) signals for an A-6 E Intruder to be launched.Grumman A-6 Intruder: An aircraft handling officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CV 43) signals for an A-6 E Intruder to be launched.

Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 165 (VA-165) coming in for an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64). Two F-14 Tomcat aircraft are parked on the left.Grumman A-6 Intruder: Right front view of an A-6 Intruder aircraft from Medium Attack Squadron 165 (VA-165) coming in for an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64). Two F-14 Tomcat aircraft are parked on the left.

More photos: Grumman A-6 Intruder photo gallery

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