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Grumman Intruder

The Grumman A-6 Intruder is an American twinjet all-weather attack aircraft developed for the U.S Navy.

The Grumman A-6 Intruder is a two-seat twin-engined monoplane, equipped to perform carrier-based attack missions regardless of prevailing weather or light conditions. 

The cockpit used an unusual double pane windscreen and side-by-side seating arrangement in which the pilot sat in the left seat, while the bombardier/navigator (BN) sat to the right and slightly below to give the pilot an adequate view on that side.

In addition to a radar display for the BN, a unique instrumentation feature for the pilot was a cathode ray tube screen that was known as the Vertical Display Indicator (VDI).

This display provided a synthetic representation of the world in front of the aircraft, along with steering cues provided by the BN, enabling head-down navigation and attack at night and in all weather conditions.

The A-6’s wing was relatively efficient at subsonic speeds, particularly when 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 wing was also designed to provide a favourable level of manoeuvrability even while carrying a sizable bomb load.

A very similar wing would be put on pivots on Grumman’s later supersonic swing-wing Grumman F-14 Tomcat, as well as similar landing gear.

For its day, the Intruder had sophisticated avionics, with a high degree of integration.

To aid in identifying and isolating equipment malfunctions, the aircraft was provided with automatic diagnostic systems, some of the earliest computer-based analytic equipment developed for aircraft.

These were known as Basic Automated Checkout Equipment, or BACE (pronounced “base”).

There were two levels, known as “Line BACE” to identify specific malfunctioning systems in the aircraft, while in the hangar or on the flight line; and “Shop BACE”, to exercise and analyse individual malfunctioning systems in the maintenance shop.

This equipment was manufactured by Litton Industries.

Together, the BACE systems greatly reduced the Maintenance Man-Hours per Flight Hour, a key index of the cost and effort needed to keep military aircraft operating.

The Intruder was equipped to carry nuclear weapons (B43, B57, B61) which would have been delivered using semi-automated toss bombing.



Pre-production aircraft, eight built with the first four with rotating jet exhaust pipes, redesignated YA-6A in 1962.


First production variant with fixed tailpipe, 484 built, redesignated A-6A in 1962.


Prototype electronic warfare variant, one modified from A2F-1, redesignated YEA-6A in 1962.


Electronic warfare variant of the A2F-1 redesignated EA-6A in 1962


Pre-production aircraft redesignated from YA2F-1 in 1962.


First production variant redesignated from A2F-1 in 1962.


One YA2F-1 electronic warfare variant prototype redesignated in 1962.


Electronic warfare variant redesignated from A2F-1H, had a redesigned fin and rudder and addition of an ECM radome, able to carry under wing ECM pods.


The redesignation of three YA-6As and three A-6As.

The six aircraft were modified for special tests.


One EA-6A aircraft was modified for special test purposes.


Proposed trainer variant with three-seat, not built.


Variant fitted with avionics for the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD).

Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler

Electronic warfare variant of the A-6A with longer fuselage for four crew.


The designation of two EA-6B prototypes, which were modified for special test purposes.


A-6A conversion for low-level attack role with electro-optical sensors.


A-6A conversion for flight-refuelling.


A-6A with improved electronics.

A-6F Intruder II

Advanced version with updated electronics and General Electric F404 turbofans.


Proposed cheaper alternative to the A-6F, with its advanced electronics, but existing J52 turbojets.


Unbuilt single-seat A-6 based design proposal for the VA(L) competition for A-4 Skyhawk replacement based on existing design.

Contract ultimately awarded to the LTV A-7 Corsair II.





54 ft 9 in (16.69 m)


53 ft 0 in (16.15 m)


25 ft 2 in (7.67 m) wing folded


16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)

Wing area

528.9 sq ft (49.14 m2)

Aspect ratio


Empty weight

26,660 lb (12,093 kg)

Max take-off weight

60,400 lb (27,397 kg)

Fuel capacity

2,385 US gal (1,986 imp gal; 9,030 L) (internal fuel)

Zero-lift drag coefficient



2 × Pratt & Whitney J52-P8B turbojets,

9,300 lbf (41 kN) thrust each


Maximum speed

560 kn (640 mph, 1,040 km/h) at sea level

Cruise speed

412 kn (474 mph, 763 km/h)

Stall speed

98 kn (113 mph, 181 km/h) (flaps down)

Maximum exceed speed

700 kn (810 mph, 1,300 km/h)

Combat range

878 nmi (1,010 mi, 1,626 km) (with max payload)

Ferry range

2,818 nmi (3,243 mi, 5,219 km)

Service ceiling

42,400 ft (12,900 m)

G limits

-2.4 to 6.5

Rate of climb

7,620 ft/min (38.7 m/s)

Lift-to-drag: 15.2

Take-off run to 50 ft (15 m)

4,530 ft (1,380 m)

Landing run from 50 ft (15 m)

2,540 ft (770 m)



Five hardpoints with a capacity of 3,600 lb (1,600 kg) each

(4 under wings, 1 under fuselage),

18,000 lb (8,200 kg) total, with provisions to carry combinations of


12x LAU-10 4-round 5-inch Zuni pods

12x LAU-68 7-round 2.75-inch FFAR pods

12x LAU-61/LAU-68 19-round 2.75-inch FFAR pods


AGM-45 Shrike anti-radar missile × 2

AGM-78 Standard ARM anti-radar missile × 2

AGM-62 Walleye TV-guided glide bomb

AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile × 6

AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile / AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missile

AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile

AGM-123 Skipper air-to-ground missile

AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile

ADM-141 TALD decoy missiles


28× Mk 82 500 lb (227 kg) GP bombs


Mk 20 Rockeye II cluster bomb

13× Mk 83 1,000 lb (454 kg) GP bombs

5× Mk 84 2,000 lb (907 kg) GP bombs

5x GBU-12/16/10 laser-guided bombs

5x CBU-72 Fuel-Air Explosives

Up to three B43, B57


B61 nuclear weapons


Mk 60 Captor Mine

Up to 5 300 US gal (250 imp gal; 1,100 L) drop tanks

Various practice stores, chaff launchers, baggage pods, flares.


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