Military Review

Deck attack plane Grumman A-6E Intruder

The Grumman A-6E Intruder is an all-weather deck attack aircraft that was designed in the USA at the end of 1950 and was intended to arm the Navy and Marine Corps. The aircraft was in service for three and a half decades and can be attributed to long-lived aircraft. The last Grumman A-6E Intruder was removed from service only in 1997 year. They were gradually replaced by carrier-based fighter-bombers F / A-18 Hornet.

Option A-6E is a late modification of A-6. The first flight of this car made 27 February 1970 of the year. Total US Navy received 445 such aircraft, including the 240 was converted from previously released versions of the attack aircraft. On the A-6E aircraft, the AN / APQ-148 multifunction radar was installed, as well as a more sophisticated navigation system. Starting in the 1979 year, a laser designator began to be installed on all aircraft, which allowed the use of bombs with a laser guidance system.

These aircraft have never been exported. In America, they were in service with the squadrons of the Navy and ILC, having received recognition from the crews, as evidenced by the numerous nicknames given to the machine: “Double Ugly”, “Iron Tadpole”, “Mighty Alpha Six” (The Mighty Alpha Six), Pregnant Guppy ”(Pregnant Guppy). Despite the designation of the model A-6E (letter “A” in aviation USA stands for attack aircraft), The Intruder was not a classical attack aircraft. By the set of its characteristics, it was more likely a deck bomber with a large bomb load and flight range. On board was a set of equipment that allowed the aircraft to carry out the bombing quite accurately.

The aircraft was a monoplane with a middle-winged swept wing (25 °) with folding parts of the consoles and one tail fin. The wing root parts had a large sweep angle and special plates that were supposed to warn the pilot about the aircraft’s exit at critical angles of attack. The wing had flaps and slats throughout its span, there were no ailerons on the Intruder. For the control of the aircraft on a roll interceptors were used. When placing the attack aircraft in the hangar of the aircraft carrier wing console folded. Starting with the 26 aircraft, special fissile air brakes appeared at the wing ends. The tail of the machine consisted of a full-circle stabilizer and a keel with a rudder. In the tail part of the aircraft fuselage, initially there were perforated air brake surfaces. However, during the operation of the aircraft, it turned out that the deviation of the fuselage brakes reduces the thrust of the engines, and therefore, starting with the aircraft number XXUMX, the brakes on the fuselage are no longer installed.

The wing was considered the “weakest” place of the car. It was developed by Boeing, which has extensive experience in the use of composite materials. The wing on the A-6E Intruder was made entirely of carbon plastics, with the exception of the fuselage attachment points, which were made of titanium alloys. Above the wing was covered with a special conductive layer, which was supposed to protect the wing structure in case of a lightning strike.

The power plant of the A-6E Intruder attack aircraft was represented by a pair of Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A turbojet engines with a maximum thrust of 4200 kgf each. These engines were located in nacelles on the sides of the fuselage. The length of the engine was 3,01 m, the diameter was 0,8 m. The air intakes of the engines were made unregulated, with vertical cutoffs of the boundary layer. In the internal tanks of the aircraft there was a fuel supply of 8870 liters, and in five outboard tanks, another 7570 liters of fuel could be placed. At the same time, the aircraft also received an in-flight refueling system.

Chassis attack aircraft was performed three-post. The main landing gear retracts forward to the special nodules of the wing root. The front landing gear had two wheels. On the tailgate of the landing gear of the aircraft landing gear was placed a taxiing headlight, as well as a flashing red light. On both sides of the attack aircraft fuselage (on the air intakes) there were folding ladders designed for crew members.

In the cockpit were mounted two ejection seats manufactured by the British company Martin-Baker. These seats guaranteed to the crew of the aircraft a safe ejection through the enclosed cockpit canopy, which was proven in early versions of the attack aircraft in Vietnam. The movable part of the cockpit can be moved back. On the instrument panel of the pilot were placed two large indicators (vertical and horizontal environment) and about two dozen traditional pointer instruments. The navigator had a large radar indicator, while there were no stormtrooper controls in the navigator’s workplace.

Grumman A-6E Intruder equipment was represented by the most powerful at the time of attack deck carrier aircraft. It was based on the APQ-156 radar, which was placed on the latest A-6 series. This radar could find and accompany targets on the ground and the surface of the ocean. It provided an overview of the earth's surface with a selection of moving targets and data on the terrain, which allowed the aircraft to fly at low altitudes with a curvature of the terrain. The aircraft’s radar was complemented by the TRAM optoelectronic system, which on early machines compensated for its low resolution. Also, each aircraft was equipped with an EW individual protection station. The antennas of this station were mounted on external pylons for the suspension of weapons.

The TRAM (Target Recognition and Attack Multisensor) optoelectronic target recognition system appeared on board the Intruder aircraft in 1979. She was the closest relative of the US Air Force Pave Task container. This system was designed for detecting and tracking ground targets at any time of the day and in any atmospheric conditions, as well as for autonomous combat use of guided bombs equipped with a laser homing head on the target. The TRAM system sensors were located under the nose of the attack aircraft in a special ball joint on a stabilized platform. This arrangement of the TRAM has less impact on the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft than the suspension of a bulky container with the same equipment. The TRAM flight tests started in the 1974 year and ended in the 1979 year. The first aircraft A-6E, equipped with a new system, flew into the sky 22 March 1974 of the year. Before 1985, all A-6E attack aircraft received a TRAM system.

The special aircraft of electronic warfare, which received the EA-6В index, also became widespread. Its main equipment was the electronic jamming system of the enemy’s radar. This system included suspended containers (up to 5 units, by the number of suspension points), an antenna system on the keel of the aircraft and two onboard computers. In addition to the radar suppression system, the aircraft also had a jamming system for enemy communications. One such aircraft of the latest series could suppress the enemy’s 8 radar, as well as disrupt its communication system between units or aircraft in the area of ​​attack.

The A-6e attack aircraft had no built-in armament at all, all the armament was located on 5 suspension units (the maximum node load was 1633 kg). In the reloading variant and with incomplete refueling of the aircraft with fuel, the combat load reached 8160 kg. The armament of the aircraft included a wide range of various missiles and bombs: Garpun anti-ship missiles (up to 4-x missiles simultaneously), anti-radar missiles HARM, SD "Sidewinder" air-to-air missiles, guided bombs (UAB), NARs, and high explosive bombs - three 2000-pounds or 28 500-pounds. Instead of bombs, it was possible to take outboard fuel tanks with a capacity of 1130 liters each. The range of the attack aircraft with two harpoon anti-ship missiles was over 800 km. Also, on the basis of the attack aircraft, the above-mentioned EW EA-6В Prowler and the KA-6D Intruder tanker aircraft were created.

Grumman A-6E Intruder attack aircraft managed to take part in many US military operations at the end of the 20th century. So in 1983, they took part in supporting the American landing party in Grenada. In December of the same year, during a raid on the positions of Syrian troops in Lebanon, one attack aircraft was shot down (one pilot was killed, the second was captured by the Syrians and released only a month later). In March, 1986, these aircraft using AGM-84 anti-ship missiles sank two patrol boats belonging to the Libyan Navy, and on the night of April 15 as part of Operation Canyon Eldorado, raided Libyan military facilities located in the suburbs of Benghazi. In April 1988, A-6E aircraft took part in the sinking of the Iranian frigate Sahand as part of Operation Mantis.

The last major episode in the combat biography of Intruder was their participation in the large-scale Operation Desert Storm in 1991. At that time, the US Navy and the International Police Commission used more than a hundred attack aircraft to attack Iraq’s industrial and military sites, as well as directly at military units. Two years after that, A-6E aircraft took a symbolic part in the UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia. In addition, they were used to patrol non-fly zones organized over Bosnia and Iraq.

At the end of 1980, Grumman’s proposal to carry out a radical modernization of the fleet of released A-6 attack aircraft was rejected by representatives of the US Navy. Although the new deck attack aircraft A-12, which was planned to replace the Intruder, was never built, the A-6 began to be removed from service. The process was finally completed at the start of 1997. At the same time, some of these aircraft were even flooded off the coast of Florida to create the so-called "Intruder Reef".

Grumman A-6E Intruder of the United States Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola:

Flight technical characteristics of the Grumman A-6E Intruder:
Overall dimensions: length - 16,64 m, height - 4,93 m, wing span - 16,15 m (folded - 7,72 m), wing area - 49,1 m2.
Empty weight - 11 625 kg.
Maximum take-off weight - 27 397 kg (take-off from the airfield), 26 580 kg (take-off from the catapult).
The power plant is 2 turbojet engines Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A with a thrust of 2x4200 kgf.
The maximum flight speed is 1043 km / h.
Cruising flight speed - 776 km / h.
Practical range - 3482 km (without suspension).
Practical ceiling - 13 595 m.
Runway Length - 802 m.
Run length - 640 m.
Armament - 5 suspension points (for 1633 kg load on each), combat load - 7833 kg. Air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, unguided missiles (70 or 127 mm), bombs: guided, high-explosive, nuclear, cluster.
Crew - 2 person.

Information sources: (фото)
Open source materials
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Bongo
    Bongo 1 February 2016 07: 27 New
    At the end of the 1980, Grumman's proposal to fundamentally modernize the fleet of A-6 attack aircraft was rejected by representatives of the US Navy. Although the new A-12 deck-based attack aircraft planned for replacement by the Intruder was never built, the A-6 began to be removed from service. This process was finally completed at the beginning of the 1997 year.

    This is not entirely true. request The A-6 aircraft, formally called an attack aircraft, but in fact being a carrier-based bomber and after that continued to be operated in a number of American test centers. The EA-6 Prowler electronic warfare aircraft (pictured) is still taking off next to the OV-10 Bronco.
    1. NIKNN
      NIKNN 6 February 2016 15: 59 New
      Not a bad plane.
      One such aircraft of the last series could suppress the work of 8 enemy radars, as well as disrupt his communication system between units or airplanes in the strike area.

      Let them try to break smile
  2. kote119
    kote119 1 February 2016 08: 42 New
    cool car, the workhorse of the fleet was before
    1. avt
      avt 1 February 2016 10: 02 New
      Quote: kote119
      cool car, the workhorse of the fleet was before

      good When I saw him for the first time, well, it’s not heroic against the background of Phantom and Vigilent .... and the guns don’t stick out laughing , but not at all! But here you go - you survived everyone and it seems
      Quote: Bongo
      The EW EA-6 Proler plane is still taking off

      still really use it. Successful device however.
  3. PKK
    PKK 1 February 2016 08: 51 New
    Thank you for the article. Apparently the author watched the excellent film "The Intruder". Yes, the plane is successful and commands respect.
  4. FID
    FID 1 February 2016 09: 09 New
    Great plane! There is simply nothing to add ...
  5. Falcon
    Falcon 1 February 2016 09: 27 New
    The load for the subsonic deck is impressive.
    It looks like the wing is really highly developed. Aerodynamic quality must be up to par.

    The question is open - does the radar allow flying around the terrain, and even for the 90's it is problematic to break through air defense. And if you mount electronic warfare, then the combat load will subside.
    1. Bongo
      Bongo 1 February 2016 09: 32 New
      Quote: Falcon
      The load for the subsonic deck is impressive.
      It looks like the wing is really highly developed. Aerodynamic quality must be up to par.

      The question is open - does the radar allow flying around the terrain, and even for the 90's it is problematic to break through air defense. And if you mount electronic warfare, then the combat load will subside.

      Hi, Kirill!

      As far as I know, the avionics of this aircraft did not allow flying on PMV in automatic mode. Nevertheless, a pilot of average skill could carry out rather long low-altitude flights, while the aircraft was well controlled and not too shaken. What actually the American pilots used in Vietnam. At the same time, the bomb load was a little more than 3000 kg.
      1. Falcon
        Falcon 1 February 2016 10: 00 New
        Quote: Bongo
        What actually the American pilots used in Vietnam. At the same time, the bomb load was a little more than 3000 kg.

        Greetings Sergey!

        Curious, thanks!

        The machine is really interesting, but a terrible horror wassat
        It’s a pity the stormtrooper’s time is leaving ...
        1. Bongo
          Bongo 1 February 2016 10: 05 New
          Quote: Falcon
          The machine is really interesting, but a terrible horror
          It’s a pity the stormtrooper’s time is leaving ...

          Duc is not an attack aircraft, despite the letter "A" in the designation. A classic deck bomber, if I'm not mistaken, it didn't seem to have a cannon.
          1. Falcon
            Falcon 1 February 2016 10: 17 New
            Quote: Bongo
            if he’s not mistaken, he seems to have no guns.

            It looks like the photo is not visible
            1. 52
              52 1 February 2016 17: 17 New
              It’s good that stormtroopers’s time is running out — it’s easy to imagine what an intensive air defense will do with the Intruder. But in general, the machine is quite epoch-making for the US Navy, not particularly brilliant TTX — quite at the level of requirements and able to master new professions. Not Skyhawk, of course, but still.
    2. tomket
      tomket 7 February 2016 00: 47 New
      Quote: Falcon
      The load for the subsonic deck is impressive.

      Kind of like they called it "MINI B-52".
  6. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 1 February 2016 10: 18 New
    One of my favorite cars.
  7. cobalt
    cobalt 1 February 2016 10: 40 New
    By the way, some of the machines are still operated as EW EA-6V aircraft, there are about 20 of them in the United States Marine Corps.
  8. magirus2000
    magirus2000 1 February 2016 12: 04 New
    Please tell me the brand of air bombs with drop-down stabilizers (in the second photo above)
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 1 February 2016 12: 15 New
      Quote: magirus2000
      Please tell me the brand of air bombs with drop-down stabilizers (in the second photo above)

      Judging by the signature to the original photo, this is the Mk 82 Snakeye.
      An A6E Intruder medium attack aircraft of the US Navy dropping fin retarded bombs over a training range in the early 1990s. The A6 Intruder was a medium, all weather aircraft carrier based attack aircraft that served from the mid 1960s through retirement in 1997. The Mark 82 (Mk 82) is an unguided, lowdrag general purpose bomb (dumb bomb), part of the US Mark 80 series. With a nominal weight of 500 lb (227 kg), it is the smallest of those bombs in current service, and one of the most common air dropped weapons in the world.
    2. The comment was deleted.
  9. fa2998
    fa2998 1 February 2016 13: 16 New
    The plane is excellent! "The workhorse" of aircraft carriers in the "Cold War". Successful modifications have been made - both the tanker and the electronic warfare aircraft, everything is easier for the technicians. Subsonic - and okay, supersonic is contraindicated for an attack aircraft-bomber. hi
  10. rubin6286
    rubin6286 1 February 2016 15: 25 New
    The article is interesting, informative. In terms of airframe and engine design, the A-6E Intruder all-weather deck-based attack aircraft, designed in the United States to equip the Navy and Marine Corps based on experience of a local conflict in Korea, is of no interest
    The “highlight” of the aircraft in another - primarily in its avionics, the improvement of which ensured the “longevity” of the machine for over 30 years. Initially, the aircraft was equipped with a powerful radar, and all-weather and round-the-clock use was provided by the DIANE digital navigation and weapon control system, which was not just a novelty in the late 50s, but a “miracle of technology”. It included: a radar, an onboard computer, an inertial navigation system, a Doppler speed and drift angle meter, an aerodynamic parameters calculator, etc., as well as a BITE automatic control system for flying at low altitude with tracking of the terrain.
    I must say that in the early 60s none of the Soviet aircraft had an automatic control system for flying at low altitude with tracking of the terrain yet.
    In 1965, aircraft began to be used to strike at targets in North Vietnam. Called the “frog” by the Vietnamese, the A-6 was the second largest number of downed Navy aircraft and constantly improved during the war. An analysis of the wreckage of the downed vehicles made it possible to get an idea of ​​the electronic “stuffing” of the aircraft and take measures to improve the Soviet air defense systems used by the air defense missile defense. Modification A-6V was equipped with equipment for launching Standard ARM missiles and special equipment that allowed them to be launched against targets located on the side of the carrier.
    The first use of the Wollay guided bomb in Vietnam became possible after equipping the aircraft with the TRIM multi-sensor system, which consists of an infrared and television high-sensitivity sighting system located in a container under the fuselage. Such machines received the designation A-6C and appeared at the front in 1970. However, the Vietnamese air defense continued to successfully shoot down the "Intruders" night and day at all heights.
  11. kote119
    kote119 1 February 2016 17: 51 New
    well, the flyer’s cabin is arranged, sit side by side, a large lamp (the review is probably appropriate)
  12. Raphael_83
    Raphael_83 1 February 2016 19: 40 New
    Thank you for the article. I always loved this unpretentious machine: it’s ugly (not like a mortal sin, of course, but still) and disproportionate in places, and at the same time somewhere even elegant.
    The film "Flight of the Intruder" (1991) with Defoe and Glover in ch. roles with all the "shoals" and mistakes, it was still valid. fellow
    Remind me, please - in Nama there seemed to be an episode when during a month the strategically important bridge covered by the air defense missile defense could not be bombed and only two consecutive raids of these latest (at that time) tactical bombers blew the bridge to pieces?
    From SW. hi
  13. iouris
    iouris 1 February 2016 20: 59 New
    Another proof of the thesis: an efficient aircraft is beautiful (the aircraft is ugly).
  14. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 1 February 2016 22: 40 New
    By the way, it would be very interesting to read about its use in Vietnam - it was his finest hour. Especially about the effectiveness of its electronic warfare systems and anti-radar missiles.
  15. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 1 February 2016 23: 36 New
    To be honest, the article is a bit messy.
    For example, perforated shields, as I understand it, were removed from the A-6A, and not from the A-6E. It is unclear whether we are talking about the entire history of the development of the A-6 or the A-6E. If the story begins in the 50s, then you would think that the carbon fiber wing was installed on the first models in the 60s. But even if we assume that we are talking about the A-6E, then one might think that such a wing appeared in the 70s. What advanced Americans! But in fact, the A-6E with such a wing first took to the air only in 1989. The old A-6E had a wing resource, and I really did not want to write off the aircraft. We decided to “change it, change it like that” and replaced the wing with a super-duper carbon fiber. So carbon fiber on the A-6 did not appear in the 60s or 70s, but in the 90s.
  16. Vadim12
    Vadim12 16 July 2017 20: 04 New
    Good car, well done designer.