Air International 1986-11
R.Dorr - Intruders and Prowlers
The original Grumman A-6 design has given rise to several variants that serve the US Navy in relatively small numbers but fulfil important roles. Here is a KA-6D tanker photographed during a Mediterranean detachment in early 1986; most of the 14 A-6 equipped medium attack squadrons have four KA- 6Ds assigned in addition to 10 A-6Es apiece.
A Grumman A-6E trials aircraft is shown carrying a pair of AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles, as well as 500-lb (227-kg) HE bombs and AIM-9P Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
A KA-6D of VA-55 prepares for take-off from CV-43 Coral Sea in the Mediterranean during January 1986.
A TRAM-equipped A-6E of VA-165 operating on the USS Constellation.
A TRAM-equipped A-6E of VA-75 on USS Saratoga.
TRAM (target-recognition attack multi-sensor) equipped A-6Es can he distinguished by the small sensor turret located beneath the nose, as seen here.
The current markings employed by attack Intruders are illustrated on A-6E (155688), NJ-825, of the US West Coast replacement air group VA-128, the “Golden Intruders", seen in a low-level mission over the state of Washington in 1986.
The AC tail code on thus A-6E indicates that it is attached to Carrier Air Wing CVW-3, an Atlantic Fleet unit (as shown by the "A") attached to USS Saratoga (as shown by the “C"). Carrying AAMs, rocket pods, bombs and a long-range tank, this Intruder is flown by VA-75 "Sunday Punchers", the medium attack squadron of CVW-3.
The prototype A2F-1 Intruder (147864) on its first flight near Grumman’s Calverton facility on 19 April 1960, with test pilot Robert Smyth at the controls. The basic appearance of the aircraft has changed little in 26 years.
An early production A-6A carrying five external tanks during flights to demonstrate the Intruder's long ferry range.
An A-6A Intruder (154133) in the early markings of VA-95. With the more recent introduction of low visibility camouflage, the colourful unit markings have disappeared. The "NL" code is an example of a Pacific Fleet marking, indicated by the “N".
Grumman A-6E (TRAM) Intruder
The EA-6B Prowler - this one in service on the USS Saratoga - equips 11 tactical electronic warfare (VAQ) squadrons, with four aircraft each.
A participant in the April 1986 combat operations against Libya. EA-6B EXCAP Prowler (160788) of Marine squadron VMAQ-2. the "Playboys", coded AA-607, on board USS Saratoga (CV-60).
EA-6A Intruder (151596) operating as CY-24 of the "Playboys”, Marine Composite Squadron VMCJ-2, in 1966. Sensors carried in tanks under the wings were later integrated into the airframe.
EA-6A Intruder (156984), RM-614, in the final markings employed by Marine composite reconnaissance squadron VMCJ-l at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, before the squadron was decommissioned in September 1975. All EA-6A operations were then made the responsibility of VMAQ-2 on the US East Coast.