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Grumman A-6 Intruder

Designed by a magician, Lawrence Mead Jr, the Grumman A-6 Intruder has been developed in the late fifties to serve the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Intruder was designed as an all-weather medium attack aircraft to replace the piston-engined Douglas A-1 Skyraider. The A-6’s design team was led by Lawrence Mead, Jr. He later played a lead role in the design of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and the Lunar Excursion Module. Following the good showing of the propeller-driven AD-6/7 Skyraider in the Korean War, the United States Navy issued preliminary requirements in 1955 for an all-weather carrier-based ground-attack aircraft. The U.S. Navy published an operational requirement document for it in October 1956. It released a request for proposals in February 1957. Proposals were submitted by Bell, Boeing, Douglas, Grumman, Lockheed, Martin, North American, and Vought. Following evaluation of the bids, the U.S. Navy announced the selection of Grumman on 2 January 1958. The company was awarded a contract for the development of the A2F-1 in February 1958.

grumman a-6 intruder

The prototype YA2F-1 made the Intruder’s first flight on 19 April 1960. The Grumman A-6 Intruder was a twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft. The A-6’s wing was very efficient at subsonic speeds compared to supersonic fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which are also limited to subsonic speeds when carrying a payload of bombs. The Intruder was equipped to carry and launch a nuclear bomb, although that capability was never utilized. Because the A-6 was a low-flying attack aircraft, an unusual method was developed for launching an atomic bomb, should that ever be required.

The A-6 Intruder served various theatres of operation including Vietnam, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, and Bosnia. In service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder remained in service for a few more years before being retired in favor of the LANTIRN equipped F-14 Tomcat, which was in turn replaced by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The last Intruders were retired on 28 February 1997. A number of retired A-6 airframes that were awaiting rewinging at the Northrop Grumman facility in St. Augustine, Florida were sunk off the coast of St. Johns County, Florida to form a fish haven entitled Intruder Reef.

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