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.
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.