A-6 Intruders Vietnam

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This unusual maneuver was known as an "over the shoulder" bomb launch. The A-6 became both the U.

Flight of the Intruder () - IMDb

Navy's and U. 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, pounds or 8, kilograms coupled with its ability to fly in all weather made it invaluable during the war. However, its typical mission profile of flying low to deliver its payload made it especially vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, and in the eight years the Intruder was used during the Vietnam War, the U.


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Navy and U. Marine Corps lost a total of 84 A-6 aircraft of various series. 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.

About A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War

Both crewmen survived. 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, 16 were lost to operational causes, and 56 were lost to conventional ground fire and AAA. Graf and LT S. The airmen ejected and were rescued by a Navy helicopter.

Twenty U. Navy aircraft carriers rotated through the waters of Southeast Asia, providing air strikes, from the early s through the early s. A-6 Intruders were later used in support of other operations, such as the Multinational Force in Lebanon in During the Gulf War in , U. Marine Corps A-6s flew more than 4, combat sorties, providing close air support, destroying enemy air defenses, attacking Iraqi naval units, and hitting strategic targets. They were also the U. Navy's primary strike platform for delivering laser-guided bombs.

Following the Gulf War, Intruders were used to patrol the no-fly zone in Iraq and provided air support for U. Marines during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. The last A-6E Intruder left U. Marine Corps service on 28 April The A-6 also saw further duty over Bosnia in Marine aircraft groups. Marine Corps. The last Intruders were retired on 28 February Many in the US defense establishment in general, and Naval Aviation in particular, questioned the wisdom of a shift to a shorter range carrier-based strike force, as represented by the Hornet and Super Hornet, compared to the older generation aircraft such as the Intruder and Tomcat.


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  8. Navy's carrier air wings and self-contained range among carrier-based strike aircraft. At the time of retirement, several retired A-6 airframes were awaiting rewinging at the Northrop Grumman facility at St. Augustine Airport , Florida; these were later sunk off the coast of St. Johns County , Florida to form a fish haven named "Intruder Reef". The eight prototypes and pre-production Intruder aircraft were sometimes referred to with the YA-6A designation.

    It suffered numerous teething problems, and it was several years before its reliability was established. Total A-6A production was , excluding the prototype and pre-production aircraft. To provide U. Navy squadrons with a defense suppression aircraft to attack enemy antiaircraft defense and SAM missile systems, a mission dubbed " Iron Hand " by the U. Navy, 19 A-6As were converted to A-6B version during to Five were lost to all causes, and the survivors were later converted to A-6E standard in the late s.

    One of these aircraft was lost in combat, the others were later converted to A-6E standard after the war.

    The Grumman A-6E Intruder: Any Weather, Any Time Restored Color 1973

    The DIANE system was removed and an internal refueling system was added, sometimes supplemented by a D refueling pod on the centerline pylon. 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. These aircraft were always in short supply, and frequently were "cross decked" from a returning carrier to an outgoing one. Many KA-6 airframes had severe G restrictions, as well as fuselage stretching due to almost continual use and high number of catapults and traps.

    The definitive attack version of the Intruder with vastly upgraded navigation and attack systems, introduced in and first deployed on 9 December TRAM also allowed the Intruder to autonomously designate and drop laser-guided bombs. In addition, the Intruder used Airborne Moving Target Indicator AMTI , which allowed the aircraft to track a moving target such as a tank or truck and drop ordnance on it 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.

    This added the ability to carry and target some of the first generation precision guided weapons, like the AGM Harpoon missile, and AGM Skipper.

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    A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War

    The new wings proved to be a mixed blessing, as a composite wing is stiffer and transmits more force to the fuselage, accelerating fatigue in the fuselage. In , the decision was made to terminate production of the A By the time the Americans effectively withdrew from Vietnam in , the Navy and Marines had lost 67 A-6As in combat and 11 in accidents.

    The A-6A as such didn't long survive the war, the fleet being used as a "feedstock" for conversion into other Intruder variants, as discussed below, with the conversion process begun well before the end of the war. The wingtip airbrakes were also deleted in order to mount hoop antennas under the wingtips; the EA-6A retained functional fuselage airbrakes.

    The forward fuselage was stretched by about 20 centimeters 8 inches to allow fit of the ECM gear. The EA-6A could carry radio frequency RF jammer pods, chaff pods, or fuel tanks on its underwing fairings. In principle, it could also carry offensive stores, it had a rudimentary attack system, but it rarely if ever did so in practice. The ECM systems were operated by an "electronics countermeasures officer ECMO " -- a job description historically known as a "crow" or "raven" for some obscure reason -- who doubled as navigator. Not counting the two prototypes, a total of 25 EA-6As was built, including 10 rebuilds of A-6As and 15 new-production machines, the first being delivered to the Marines in and the last being rolled out in At least two EA-6As were lost in Vietnam, one disappearing on an operational sortie along with its crew; the other being destroyed in an accident, with the crew ejecting safely.

    After the conflict, the EA-6As remained in service with both the Marines and Navy, it seems increasingly in the "electronic aggressor" role, used to baffle the electronic systems of participants in military training exercises. The EA-6As were given sets of upgrades to keep them useful. Interestingly, some pictures of EA-6As show them to be fitted with another pylon on the outer folding section of each wing -- perfectly visible with the wings folded up. Sources are not particularly clear about the additional stores pylons; they may have been part of one of the EA-6A upgrades, but there's no evidence that they were fitted to any other A-6 variants.

    There was another approach for dealing with adversary defenses, namely to destroy them, with that mission given the melodramatic name of "Iron Hand", though later it would be given the blander designation of "suppression of enemy air defenses SEAD ". As the war dragged on in Southeast Asia, the Navy became increasingly fond of the idea of taking on anti-aircraft defense sites, and so a program was set up to covert A-6As into specialized SEAD aircraft, to be designated "A-6B". A total of 19 conversions was performed from into The A-6Bs were stripped of the primary attack kit of the A-6A and fitted with what was generally known at the time as a "radar homing and warning system RHAWS " designed to locate and characterize radars from air-defense sites.

    Accessibility Navigation

    With the radars out, other strike aircraft would plaster the air-defense site with high-explosive and cluster bombs. At least some of the versions of the A-6B had an antenna protruding from the wing leading edge directly over each outer stores pylon, providing a recognition feature, though it is unclear if this arrangement was common to all three A-6B subvariants.

    The SEAD mission was necessarily dangerous since it involved looking for trouble instead of avoiding it, and five A-6Bs were lost in combat. It was related to a program named "Trails Roads Interdiction Multisensor TRIM " program, in which Lockheed Neptune ocean patrol aircraft were fitted with a sensor package to similarly perform attacks on the trail.

    An A-6A was modified as a prototype, the "NA-6A", featuring the sensors carried in underwing pods, this machine performing its initial flights in late A dozen A-6As were converted to the A-6C configuration during , with these machines including the sensor package in a reasonably neat fairing under the rear of the belly. Not much is known about the career of the A-6Cs; it is known that a good deal of the high tech used in the Vietnam war was leading-edge and unreliable; it might be guessed the A-6Cs spent a fair amount of time in the shop. One A-6C was lost in combat.

    Other platforms could do the tanker job. In , however, the Navy reconsidered use of the Intruder as a tanker. There were plenty of A-6As in service, and it made sense to spare some of them as tankers. The first "KA-6D" tanker performed its initial flight on 16 April , leading to a total of 90 conversions, all of the machines having started life as A-6As -- though a dozen of these A-6As had been previously converted to A-6Es, see below.

    A-6 Intruder Tribute - Attack Aircraft of the Vietnam War - US NAVY fotage

    The conversions involved extensive reconditioning, and refit with new wiring; most of the complicated attack avionics were removed, though in principle the KA-6D was still capable of performing daylight strikes. It never did. In service, the KA-6D usually flew with four or even five external tanks.