A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2019, 08:07
by charlielima223
I always found the A-6 to be aesthetically pleasing. I always seemed to me that the A-6 was underrated. In either case I hope y'all enjoy these videos.

I remember watching these series when I was a kid. It got me into military aviation and the military in general.


Another great podcast and interview

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2019, 11:49
by hornetfinn
I definitely agree. I think both A-6 and A-7 were rather underrated possibly because they were not fast or sleek. They had most important things for attack aircraft though. Those were great avionics and weapons systems, very long range and huge and flexible weapons load. I'd say Blackburn Buccaneer was also very similar to these aircraft. Su-17/22, MiG-23BN/27 and SEPECAT Jaguar put more emphasis on speed at the expense of range, avionics and weapons load. I think especially for carrier based attack aircraft, they were pretty much perfect for their job.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2019, 14:17
by mixelflick
hornetfinn wrote:I definitely agree. I think both A-6 and A-7 were rather underrated possibly because they were not fast or sleek. They had most important things for attack aircraft though. Those were great avionics and weapons systems, very long range and huge and flexible weapons load. I'd say Blackburn Buccaneer was also very similar to these aircraft. Su-17/22, MiG-23BN/27 and SEPECAT Jaguar put more emphasis on speed at the expense of range, avionics and weapons load. I think especially for carrier based attack aircraft, they were pretty much perfect for their job.


I would second these comments.

The A-6 never inspired from a looks perspective, but what it could do in inclement weather was incredible. Once the weather became a factor, nobody did it better than the A-6. As for the A-7, I always thought it struck the perfect balance between being a strike platform, but with respectable self-defense capabilities. The fuselage mounted sidewinders probably bought some peace of mind, even if they were rarely used.

The A-7F was an amazing machine. The Pratt and Whitney F-100 coupled with improvements in avionics looked to be perfect for the time, especially considering what it gave you for the $. It may have been the best "low risk" design evolution of any aircraft of its generation. And I think had the USAF adopted it, it would have found foreign buyers too...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2019, 15:42
by Gums
Salute!

You all know my feelings for the SLUF, and there are many good posts about it.

We only flew with 'winders for our Linebacker 2 missions Downtown and closeby. However, we did get one launch!! A cpmmon procedure was to switch the gun and missile stations on after releasing the bombs. So this dude is told he has a few hung bombs and thinks he either has the bombs selected or select jett. Whoosh! there goes a 'winder thru a dozen or more of us, ungiuded. He took flak for years nd years, heh heh.

Gums sends...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2019, 16:12
by sprstdlyscottsmn
First time I saw the A-6 loaded up with max Mk82s I was in love. A two ship of A-6s had the same bombload as a B-52.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2019, 09:59
by garrya
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:First time I saw the A-6 loaded up with max Mk82s I was in love. A two ship of A-6s had the same bombload as a B-52.

Are you talking about this:
Image

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2019, 10:01
by hornetfinn
Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2019, 12:32
by madrat
The A-6 is one tall plane. It would have been most comparable to Blackburn's Buccaneer. The A-6 would have been interesting with an internalized payload and a pointed nose like the Bucc. Regardless, it is amazing how sturdy built these things look up close.

hornetfinn wrote:Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?


Political bases demanded their plane be built.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2019, 14:05
by mixelflick
madrat wrote:The A-6 is one tall plane. It would have been most comparable to Blackburn's Buccaneer. The A-6 would have been interesting with an internalized payload and a pointed nose like the Bucc. Regardless, it is amazing how sturdy built these things look up close.

hornetfinn wrote:Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?


Political bases demanded their plane be built.


That's true, but the A-6 could fly and fight in really bad weather - whereas the A-7 would have had a much more difficult time. They were quite different solutions to the mission. Personally, I preferred the A-7. Primarily due to the fact it could carry some self protection sidewinders and had a gun. I'm not sure if the A-6 was outfitted with sidewinders, but I do know it didn't have a gun. Something I'd want for everything from strafing runs to getting jumped by enemy Migs.

I think the death knell was when Reagan struck back over Lebanon. If memory serves, we lost at least one of each in those airstrikes. Both participated in Desert Storm, but by that time the F-18 had started to filter into the fleet and their days were numbered. Regardless, both very impressive aircraft. Could carry a heavy load a long way, and do so in very difficult conditions. I was sad to see them go, and the Navy def lost some serious miles insofar as power projection was concerned. The F-18 just didn't have the same reach..

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2019, 15:31
by sprstdlyscottsmn
garrya wrote:Are you talking about this:

Yeah. 30 Mk82s. That will ruin a day. Ripple drop those at 250ms interval at 800ft/s and you plaster a full nm. Or decrease interval and drop in a dive and simply erase a target from existence.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 30 May 2019, 23:08
by Gums
Salute!

I do not have the tech data for the A-6. but the basic comparison is the Intruder could carry more than the Sluf, but at about the same range plus some more. I really think the Intruder could carry more when using the cat than rolling forever on the runway like we did in the Sluf at Korat. We rolled a bit over 8,000 feet carrying 10 x 500 and two 300 gal tanks.
- The early A-7's did not have the cosmic nav and computer system that the D and E had. It made all the difference in the world, especially for CAS.
- The Intruder did not have the super DTOS system that we had. Ditto for computed ( CCIP) RX and strafe.
- We had a great radar for boming in WX, but the autopilot did not have control stick steering, so updating the aimpoint and manually flying left/right was challenging. The Intruder had the NFO so the pilot was like I was in the VooDoo - steer the "dot".
- I was surprised that the Sluf was even in The Storm. Thot USN would be all Hornets and Intruders would be Weasels and jammer and refueling. USAF had moved all of the active duty Sluf's to the Guard and Reserve, and many of those outfits already had Vipers. e.g. the 419th at Hill got Vipers in late 1983 and I flew with both the 421st and that reserve unit until I retired ( IP and academics) at the end of June. The Swamp Foxes in S.C. got their Sluf's in 1983 or so and I checked out a few of them. They got their Vipers in 1982 or so.

Bottom line from my viewpoint is the Sluf is preferred for CAS and interdiction out to 350 -400 n.m. with at least 10 x 500 and no refueling required!!!!. We could have carried more for Linebacker II up north if not loading the ALQ's. The 'winders were free, as was the gun.

For longer missions carrying more or bigger eggs, then take the Intruder. It might not be preferred for night CAS due to a less capable conputed bombing system , but interdiciton would be its niche.

Gums sends...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 01 Jun 2019, 21:17
by madrat
I'm pretty sure the claims from GD and Grumman were always back and forth about how Intruders always battled Aardvarks - and vice versa - for best accuracy during joint drills on a level the Corsair (sluf to you gents that actually flew them) could not match due to their fancy automated bombing systems. The Intruder enjoyed major upgrades during the Reagan days.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 01 Jun 2019, 21:43
by outlaw162
I 'spect you'll hear from Gums about that.

For daylight, clear weather visual attack, either DTOS or CCIP, there was nothing that could beat an A-7D in terms of consistent accuracy, until the F-16 came along. The A-6 or F-111 would have been at the same dis-advantage as the F-4 in competing in the daylight tactical scenarios used at Gunsmoke. They were optimized for night, all-weather attack, with an extra guy....Gunsmoke was a daytime thing....night was for parties. :D

I recall numerous high-altitude dive 'hat-tricks' (3 shacks) in the A-7D. That's an 8000' AGL release. It's hard to be more accurate than a direct hit.

BTW A-7Ds & F-16s consistently dominated Gunsmoke even when F-111s competed. Navy wasn't invited. :D

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 01 Jun 2019, 23:54
by Gums
Salute!

Thanks, Outlaw

I'll take some time Sunday and post the Corona Harvest bomb accuracy reports from forward air controllers.

The number one plane for accuracy was the A-37. Then we Slufs showed up in Otober 1972 as the Dragonflies were folding up. The FAC's gave us the same rating as the A-37 - - --- 15 meters CEP. Big difference was the Sluf could get that close from a 4 or 5,000 foot release, but I had to drop at about 2500 feet or so in the A-37 and 150 knots slower.

The Viper crushed the opponents at the first RAF Bomb Comp in bombing accuracy and also shot down almost 80 aggressors with only one losss. Heh heh. I personally helped the 419th reserve guys for their Gunsmoke effort, which they won. We adjusted the canopy coefficients to get that extra mil or two of accuracy. The Top Gun that year was an ex-Sluf driver.

I would also take a bet on a radar delivery in the Sluf or Viper if we didn't have a lotta ack or SAM's. The Sluf and Viper had really good radar bombs in a "benign" environment. My first radar drop at a strange range was 35 meters, and I had not practiced the run or seen the layout.

Gums sends...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 01:36
by outlaw162
To be fair, when I was going thru F-16 school, on a day off, just for grins, I took a backseat ride in an A-7K equipped with a LANA FLIR pod. Down low with variable terrain. In the back I had a HUD repeater. That convinced me that this business was best left to the A-6s and F-111s....and this was daylight, perfect Arizona weather. :shock:

(The LANA pod also took about 50 knots off of top speed.....and 10 units of rudder trim. :D )

I was however impressed with accuracy results on my first F-16 radar bomb mission....of course the range had two ginormous radar reflectors on each side of the run in.

You know another advantage the A-7 had over the A-6 was that it was a very stable gun platform and actually had a gun. At one time the NMANG had an A2A dart program and invited our A-7 weapons school to participate while they towed. Two of us headed over to New Mexico. I shot first, and even with the fixed 0.56 sec TOF symbology, one pass and the dart bridle was obliterated and the dart shot off. Second guy was not happy.

edit: Also the A-7 did a pretty good ARA.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 04:25
by madrat
Did the gun-sight or bomb computer help with aiming rockets?

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 05:00
by Gums
Salute!

At Mad......

The "NAVWD" computer in the early days had DTOS for basic bomb delivery ( "visual attack" was the mode). CCRP for radar or "bomb on coordinates". and CCIP for RX and strafe.

The CCIP had a 14,000 foot range for RX and 8,000 feet for strafe. So your bullets or rocks hit where you put the aiming symbol.

This was all back in 1970 -1971. Later mods had CCIP for bombs just like the Viper.

When we Sluf drivers showed up at Hill in 1979 we were surprised that the Viper did not have some of the A-7 ground map radar modes and no radar altimiter. Oh well, the A2A radar was state of the art.

Gums sends...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 05:08
by outlaw162
****** :D

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 14:04
by vilters
@ Gums

When we first got the F-16 A-B Vipers back in 1979, we always got the impression it was fielded a bit too fast.
Ok, it could pull "G" like hell, but other parts just seemed "unfinished".

Agreed; Those first years was pure and only A2A, but Europe being Europe, and almost all nations coming from the F-104, we soon wanted some more advanced A2G capabilities.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 14:49
by Gums
Salute!

Yeah, Vilt....s, early ones did not have radar altimiter or the ECM package in the base of the vertical stab. We did have a better fuel control unit than the motors in the Eagle, yet our first losses were due to the motor ( the trapped fuel accident was our first loss, and the OT&E flight members should have helped the pilot with his problem, IMHO. That one happened a week or so after I showed up at Hill).

We were "waiting" for the cosmic CARA that provided radar altitude to 40,000 friggin feet! Our two fatalities did not occur because the radar altimiter could work at 40,000 feet! The rocks are lots lower, dammit, and the existing ubits would have worked just fine and also provide a good altitude for the bombing geometrical calculations, just like the SLUF.

The radar was really good for A2A, and the ground map had the doppler beam sharpening feature to get a great final aimpoint when bombing or doing a airborne radar approach. But no terrain following or terrain avoidance or the cross-scan modes or beacon mode.

Gums sends....

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 21:51
by vilters
That "trapped fuel incident?" Was that not with a Belgian pilot?
I remember we had one in the States in that period…….(Forgot, to close the Air refuelling door, and fuel trapped in the external wing tanks)

And our first accident in Belgium was also motor related.
Most however, certainly in the beginning was GLOC related. . . Let's see what this thing can really do.... was high on the fatality list.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 02 Jun 2019, 23:00
by Gums
Salute!

Yep, Vilts...... twas a Belgian and on the OT&E team that shared planes with we 6th TFTS folks.

Not sure how many Belgian folks did AAR in other planes, but his buddies did not help and go thru the checklist items that would have prevented the crash. Worse, he was in a B model, so flaps came down below "x" speed and by flying at optimum speed he used more gas than going fast. Same thing I did as a nugget for my A-37 flameoiut. If I had gone full power on remaining engine I could have deadsticked at Bien Hoa versus the international airport at Saigon. My leaking fuel lines were pumping out gas faster than I could burn it, heh heh.

His flameout pattern was pretty good, and he should have jettisoned the tanks, even at the bitter end. The plane hit on the overrun and the fuel burned it to ashes. Seat worked well, and we all gained confidence in that thing, as he punched really low, A month or two later, D. Bell had an engine come unglued and main fuel tanks were on fire. Spectacular video from a wingie and he finally punched - first USAF loss

I have refrained from mentioning the nationality for 40 years on public forums. It was the first loss of a Viper, and it was not due to a mechanical problem. I did not want to attribute the loss to another country.

Gums sends...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 08 Jun 2019, 04:24
by blufoperations
First A6 prototype YA2F-1

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 08 Jun 2019, 04:26
by blufoperations
One of the last patches for the west coast A6 Intruders at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. This one if for the local AIMD (Intermediate) maint facility.

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 08 Jun 2019, 13:36
by mixelflick
blufoperations wrote:First A6 prototype YA2F-1


Wow! Wonder what year this was? I guess the black and white vs. color might be a clue, LOL. In all candor, it matured into a fantastic design carrying big loads a great distance and putting them on target even in weather. And these were simple, unguided mk 82's mostly, if I'm not mistaken.

The one thing I didn't like about the A-6 is that it was a sitting duck had it been jumped. The R/A-5C was fast as hell, so it could use its speed to escape. The A-7 carried two sidewinders standard, and at least looked like it could maneuver if you punched everything off. The Phantom had obvious kinematic/weapons advantages. But the poor A-6 looked like a guppy, was rarely (if ever?) seen with defensive armament and didn't even have a gun.

Amazing it served so effectively over a long, distinguished career...

Re: A-6 Intruder

Unread postPosted: 08 Jun 2019, 14:53
by outlaw162
The one thing I didn't like about the A-6 is that it was a sitting duck had it been jumped.


Flying as adversary air at the Marine WTI's, we'd mix it up with them occasionally. For daylight stuff, they generally had a couple of F-4s with them.

With that big wing, they had good turn performance (kind of A-10ish) and in the days of rear aspect only weapons they could do a pretty good job of holding off an attacker (also kind of A-10ish) until the F-4s could bail 'em out.

With the side by side arrangement, you could be pretty sure the fight would always be in a left turn. :D