Grumman A-6 Intruder
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|Grumman A-6E Intruder|
|First Flight||April 19th, 1960|
|Entered Service||February 7th, 1963|
|Maximum takeoff weight||kg||lb|
|Engines||two Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8B|
|Thrust||41.4 kN (each)||9,300 lbf (each)|
|Rate of climb||m/min||ft/min|
|Avionics||Norden AN/APQ-148 radar|
|Armament||5 external hardpoint for up to 8,170 kg (18,000 lbs) of weapons|
The A-6 Intruder was ordered by the United States Navy as all-weather replacement for the piston engined A-1 Skyraider. Advanced items, at that time, were the (dual) Norden AN/APQ-92 search radar and AN/APQ-88 (later AN/APQ-112) attack radar. These were integrated in the Digital Integrated Attack and Navigation Equipment (DIANE) system, making the aircraft capable of blind bombing. Pilot and Navigator/Bombardier are seated in Martin-Baker GRU-7 ejection seats. The initial J52-P-6 turbojet engines (37,8 kN) were replaced by J52-P-8A engines rated at 40,5 kN. As the A-6 was retired, its precision strike mission was taken over by the now also retired F-14 Tomcat equipped with LANTIRN, which has subsequently passed on the role to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Initial model A2F-1, redesignated A-6A. Equipped with J52-P-6A/-6B engines (later modified to -8A/-8B) and Norden AN/APQ-92 radar. A total of 488 delivered to United States Navy from December 1969 onwards. Maximum weapons load was 8.1 tonnes, including a single AIM-9B Sidewinder. The NA-6A was used for General Dynamics AGM-78 Standard Standard Anti-Radiation Missile integration tests, the JA-6A was used as testbed for circulation control wing R&D aircraft.
Modified with AGM-78 Standard ARMs for Iron Hand missions against SA-2 SAM sites. Delivered as A-6B Mod 0 (10 a/c), A-6B PAT/ARM (with Passive Angle Tracking/Anti Radiation Missile, 3 a/c) and A-6B Mod 1 (6 a/c with Target Identification & Acquisition System).
Modified under the Igloo White project and equipped with Trails, Roads Interdiction Multi-sensor (compromising FLIR and LLLTV) for night attack missions against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam. Modified to A-6E.
Second generation Intruder, first flown February 27th, 1970 and designated by Grumman as Model 128S. Equipped with Norden AN/APQ-148 (based on the Norden AN/APQ-112) multi-mode radar. Subvariants are the A-6E CAINS (Carrier Airborne Inertial Navigation System, with Litton AN/ASN-92 INS), A-6E TRAM (Target Recognition Attack Multisensor, with or Norden AN/APQ-156 radar, FLIR, LLLTV and LRMTS) and A-6E SWIP (Systems Weapon Improvement Program) dating from 1992 introduced AN/ARN-188 Tacan, AN/ASN-139 INS and Global Positioning System. The NA-6E was used for permanent tests. Armament options include Paveway LGB, AGM-65F Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 Harm, AGM-84 Stand-Off Land Attack Missile (SLAM) and the B61 nuclear weapon. In total, 228 early model Intruders were converted to A-6E and 205 were newly built, the final one being delivered February 3rd, 1992. The US Navy flew 15 A-6E squadrons, augmented by 5 US Marine Corps squadrons. All replaced by F/A-18 Hornets.
Proposed version with fuel efficient F404-GE-400D turbofan engines and new Norden radar (with Inverse Synthetic Aperture modes), new cockpit lay-out (with 5 Multi Function Displays), AN/ALQ-165 ECM and JTIDS. Two prototypes built, achieving first flight August 25th, 1987.
Proposed version of A-6F with the original J52-P-408 engines.
Electronic Warfare version for US Marine Corps, based on the A-6A (two seat) airframe and originally designated as A2F-1H. Equipped with AN/ALQ-41, AN/ALQ-86 and AN/ALQ-100 self defence jammers. EW jammers include AN/ALQ-55 and AN/ALQ-76. Prototype identified as YEA-6A, 27 A-6A airframes converted.
Four seat specialized EW version with AIL/Eaton AN/ALQ-99 EW system and J52-P-408 turbojet engines rated at 49,8 kN. The YEA-6B prototype was flown on May 25th, 1968. The NEA-6B is used for tests. Upgrades include the EA-6B EXCAP (Extended Capability), introduced January 1973 with 8 instead of 4 frequency band coverage. EA-6B ICAP-I (Improved Capacity One) was introduced September 1977 and introduced digitally tuned antennae and new cockpit lay-out. EA-6B ICAP-II (Block 86) from 1983 introduced a new AN/AYK-14 mission computer and two-way data-link. 125 were further upgraded to EA-6B ICAP-II Phase 2 (Block 89A) with AN/ARC-310 radio and embedded GPS/INS. EA-6B ADVCAP (Advanced Capability) was a development program initiated to improve the flying qualities of the EA-6B and to upgrade the avionics and electronic warfare systems. Cancelled on cost ground. Final version is the EA-6B ICAP III, also the equipment baseline for the EA-18G Growler. Major improvements are the Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-218 Radio Frequency Receiver (eliminating the need for triangulation to give a geo-location) and selective jamming capability (allowing pinpoint jamming instead of diffusely jamming a broad spectrum of frequency bands). Latest upgrades include the USQ-113 radio countermeasures set and integration of the Litening targeting pod to counter the improvised explosive devices (IED) in Iraq. This will enable the Prowler to investigate IED activity in support of US ground troops. The last of 170 Prowlers built for the US Navy and US Marine Corps was delivered July 1991. From 2009 onwards, all EA-6Bs will replaced by EA-18G Growlers.
- Air International, February 2008