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A-6 Intruder

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 May 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, which has subsequently passed on the role to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The Intruder was developed in response to a U.S. 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.


YA2F-1 showing the original tilting tailpipesThe 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.[1] 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, another goes down.

Armament

A-6 ordnance in 1962The Intruder carries no internal armament, but can carry 18,000 lb (8,170 kg) evenly distributed on five external hardpoints, with options including:

2.75" (70 mm) Rocket Pod
5" (127 mm) Zuni Rocket Pod
Mk-20 Rockeye
Mk-77 Napalm
Mk-81 (250 lb) (113 kg)
Mk-82 Snakeye
Mk-83 (1,000 lb) (454 kg)
Mk-84 (2,000 lb) (907 kg)
Mk-117 (750 lb) (340 kg)
CBU-78 Gator
GBU-10E Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb
GBU-12D Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb
GBU-16B Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb
AGM-123A Skipper II
AGM-45 Shrike
AGM-62 Walleye
AIM-9 Sidewinder
AGM-84D Harpoon
AGM-88 HARM
AGM-84E SLAM
AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-123 Skipper
B-61 Special Weapon
Various Land mines
Various underwater mines
Various practice bombs [Mk-76, BDU-45, LGTR, etc...]