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  • Grumman A-6 Intruder Carrierborne All-Weather Heavy Strike Aircraft

    The Grumman A-6 Intruder handled the strike role for the United States Navy through the Vietnam War, its last recorded actions being over Bosnia.

     Updated: 4/5/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Grumman A-6 "Intruder" was a dedicated strike platform designed to a United States Navy (USN) requirement for an all-weather, carrier-based attack aircraft capable of carrying and delivering large, potent payloads on inland enemy targets. To this point, the USN had found success for such a platform through the multi-faceted Douglas "Skyraider" prop-driven attack aircraft line used in the Korea War (1950-1953) and looked to expand on such capabilities through a jet-powered mount. The USN delivered their request in 1955 and finalized their wish-list by 1957. This resulted in the usual American defense players being solicited (no fewer than eleven bids from eight companies forthcoming) and in January of 1958, the Grumman model "G-128" was selected for further development under the USN designation of "A2F-1" (using the pre-1962 USN marking convention). This continued the Grumman-USN partnership that dated back to World War 2 and the storied F4F Wildcat fighter line.

    Work revealed a flyable prototype which first took to the skies on April 19th, 1960. The prototype YA2F-1 would largely resemble the finalized A-6 Intruder known today but featured a unique quality with its swiveling jet pipe nozzles which were to allow for short runway take-offs when pointing downwards. The rest of the aircraft constituted tear drop-shaped fuselage with bulbous frontal section and severely tapering aft section, high-mounted and rearward-swept monoplane wing assemblies, and a wide two-man, side-by-side cockpit arrangement (pilot at left with the bombardier at right). Indeed the aircraft took on the shape of a turkey leg and was thus nicknamed that over the course of its career. The aircraft was powered by two turbojet engines seated along the sides of the lower fuselage, aspirated through semi-circle intakes found along the forward fuselage sides and exhausted through individual nozzles under the sides of the tail unit. The undercarriage was typically carrier-like - two single-wheeled main legs and a dual-wheeled nose leg, all three legs retractable into the frame. The all-weather requirement was aided by a terrain display CRT system to which the navigator/bombardier utilized for their low-level attack runs. A permanently fixed in-flight refueling probe was fitted over the nose between the forward cockpit windscreens and used to further extend the operational reach of the aircraft. The tail unit consisted of a single vertical tail fin with swept-back horizontal planes.

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    Grumman A-6E / TRAM Intruder Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1963
    Type: Carrierborne All-Weather Heavy Strike Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Grumman - USA
    Production Total: 693

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 54.76 feet (16.69 meters)
    Width: 52.17 feet (15.90 meters)
    Height: 16.08 feet (4.90 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 27,613 lb (12,525 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 58,599 lb (26,580 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8B turbojet engines developing 9,300lb of standard thrust.

    Maximum Speed: 644 mph (1,036 kph; 559 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,081 miles (1,739 km)
    Service Ceiling: 44,619 feet (13,600 meters; 8.45 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    Up to 18,000 lbs of mission-specific ordnance including MK-84 Cluster Bombs, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, AGM-130 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation / anti-radar missiles, AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-27 Paveway III laser-guided bombs.

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    A-6 "Intruder" - Base Series Designation

    G-128 - Grumman company model

    A2F - Initial Development Designation

    YA2F-1 - Development model designation of which 8 were ordered; fitted with 2 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6 turbojet engines.

    A-6 - Redesignation in 1962.

    A-6A - Initial production model designation of which 482 were produced; fitted with 2 x J52-P-8A/B engines; increased rudder size; digital navigation and attack systems integrated.

    A-6B - Conversion Interdictor Model based on A-6A; simplified avionics systems; provision for AGM-78 Standard anti-radar missile system.

    A-6C - Night Attack Variant fitted with forward-looking infrared systems and low-light TV sensors; 12 produced.

    KA-6D - In-flight Refueling Tanker Variant.

    A-6E - Strike Aircraft Model fitted with either J52-P-8B or J52-P-408 engines; improved systems throughout; solid-state electronics implemented.

    A-6E TRAM - Similar to the A-6E model; fitted with Target Recognition and Attack Multisensor (hence the TRAM designation) package in under-fuselage housing.

    EA-6A - Electronic Warfare Model of United States Marine Corps use.

    EA-6B "Prowler" - Electronic Warfare Model of the United States Navy specialized for carrier operations.