Grumman A-6 Intruder

Nickname: Iron Tadpole

The A-6E Intruder

US Navy Photo

"The A-6 was the US Navy medium attack bomber  during the Vietnam  conflict.
   It flew at tree-top level in any weather,  at night and  alone.
   The aircraft had no defensive weapons."

           It was called .............

"THE INTRUDER" starani.gif (1459 bytes)

The A-6 Intruder is a versatile two-seat carrier-based medium-attack aircraft with all-weather, day-night attack capabilities. This redoubtable aircraft has seen combat in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf and was the star of the Paramount Pictures Corp film "Flight of the Intruder". Unlike other naval aircraft, such as the A-4 Skyhawk and the A-7 Corsair, the Intruder carries no air-to-air weaponry. It relies on stealth and its ability to fly in any weather to get past defending aircrafts, deliver its bombs, and get home. The "heart" of the A-6 is DIANE, the Digital Integrated Attack Navigation Equipment.

All A-6 variants feature a side-by-side seating arrangement typical of much larger planes. The pilot occupies the left seat, while the weapons system operator/navigator occupies the seat on the right.                       

The first prototype was called the YA2F-1. After its test flight on 19 April 1960, it was renamed the A-6A Intruder and later became operational in February 1963. The most numerous variant is the A-6E, which was introduced in 1970. From 1974 onwards, all A-6Es were progressively converted into the A-6E/TRAM (Target Recognition and Attack Multisensor). TRAM's electronics, which are carried in a turret located under the nose, include infrared and laser- targeting sensors and multimode radar. The lasers are used in conjunction with laser guided weapons. The TRAM system on an A-6E can illuminate a target with a laser while a second A-6E launches weapons against it, using the first A-6E's laser reflection to guide the projectile.

The venerable A-6 Intruder medium attack bomber was retired from the US Navy at a ceremony held at NAS Whidbey Island on 28 February, 1998. The last two Intruder units to stand down from active service were VA-75 at NAS Oceania and VA-196 at NAS Whidbey Island. The A-6 Intruder has served the Navy very well over its long career and while some will mourn the decision to retire the aircraft, the Intruder will be remembered as one of the finest carrier-based attack aircrafts ever built. For more than 30 years, the A-6 Intruder has been the "tip of the spear" in combat operations, having served in Vietnam, Libya and "Desert Storm", among other campaigns.

A-6E Intruder flyingby

A- 6E Intruder Specifications

Length: 16.69 m.
Height: 4.93 m.
Wingspan: 16.15 m.
7.72 m (folded)
Wing area: 49.13 sq m
Empty weight: 12,525 kg
Weight for catapult launch: 26,580 kg
Weight for field take-off: 27,397 kg
Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney J52-P- 8B turbojets
each rated at 41.37 kN
Maximum speed : 1,037 km/h
Cruise speed : 763 km/h
Maximum range
with external fuel tanks:
4,690 km
Service ceiling: 12,925 m
Rate of climb: 2,323 m/min
Range with maximum warload: 878 nm (1,627 km)

Maximum ordnance : 8,165 kg.
Five stores location each rated at 1,634 kg,  carrying any combination of :-
- Mk 80 series GP bombs.
- Guided Bomb Units. (GBUs).
- AGM- 62 Walleye II (Fat Albert).
- AGM- 65 Maverick ASMs.
- AGM- 84 Harpoon ASMs.
- AGM- 84E SLAMs.
- AGM- 88 HARMs.
- four drop tanks.

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A- 6 Variants
YA2F-1 First prototype. After its test flight on 19 April 1960, it was renamed the A-6A Intruder.
A-6A The first of 482 production A-6As was delivered to the US Navy in February 1963.
A-6B Designed for SAM suppression.
A-6C With turret-mounted Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) and and Low Light Level Television (LLLTV) equipment for improved night-attack capability .
A-6E Upgraded version of A-6A and was first flown on 27 February 1970. This variant saw the introduction of a multi-mode navigation/attack radar and a computerised nav/attack system. All 445 USN and USMC A-6Es were progressively updated further from 1974 with a TRAM laser designator and FLIR turret giving "smart" weapon capability.


This model is a revised A-6E airframe with new radar, digital avionics and F404 turbofans.
A-6G Basically, it is the F model but retaining the ageing J52 engines.

Twenty one EA-6As served the USMC, They are used mainly for Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and Electronic Intelligence (Elint) gathering.

KA-6D This is the US Navy's standard carrier-based inflight-refuelling tanker. Equipped with TACtical Air Navigation (TACAN) and mounting a hose-reel unit in the rear fuselage to refuel other aircraft.

Intruder's Hot Links

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This page was edited on Friday, 17 January 2003.

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