A-6 Intruder

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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charlielima223

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Unread post23 May 2019, 08:07

I always found the A-6 to be aesthetically pleasing. I always seemed to me that the A-6 was underrated. In either case I hope y'all enjoy these videos.

I remember watching these series when I was a kid. It got me into military aviation and the military in general.


Another great podcast and interview
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hornetfinn

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Unread post23 May 2019, 11:49

I definitely agree. I think both A-6 and A-7 were rather underrated possibly because they were not fast or sleek. They had most important things for attack aircraft though. Those were great avionics and weapons systems, very long range and huge and flexible weapons load. I'd say Blackburn Buccaneer was also very similar to these aircraft. Su-17/22, MiG-23BN/27 and SEPECAT Jaguar put more emphasis on speed at the expense of range, avionics and weapons load. I think especially for carrier based attack aircraft, they were pretty much perfect for their job.
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mixelflick

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Unread post23 May 2019, 14:17

hornetfinn wrote:I definitely agree. I think both A-6 and A-7 were rather underrated possibly because they were not fast or sleek. They had most important things for attack aircraft though. Those were great avionics and weapons systems, very long range and huge and flexible weapons load. I'd say Blackburn Buccaneer was also very similar to these aircraft. Su-17/22, MiG-23BN/27 and SEPECAT Jaguar put more emphasis on speed at the expense of range, avionics and weapons load. I think especially for carrier based attack aircraft, they were pretty much perfect for their job.


I would second these comments.

The A-6 never inspired from a looks perspective, but what it could do in inclement weather was incredible. Once the weather became a factor, nobody did it better than the A-6. As for the A-7, I always thought it struck the perfect balance between being a strike platform, but with respectable self-defense capabilities. The fuselage mounted sidewinders probably bought some peace of mind, even if they were rarely used.

The A-7F was an amazing machine. The Pratt and Whitney F-100 coupled with improvements in avionics looked to be perfect for the time, especially considering what it gave you for the $. It may have been the best "low risk" design evolution of any aircraft of its generation. And I think had the USAF adopted it, it would have found foreign buyers too...
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Gums

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Unread post23 May 2019, 15:42

Salute!

You all know my feelings for the SLUF, and there are many good posts about it.

We only flew with 'winders for our Linebacker 2 missions Downtown and closeby. However, we did get one launch!! A cpmmon procedure was to switch the gun and missile stations on after releasing the bombs. So this dude is told he has a few hung bombs and thinks he either has the bombs selected or select jett. Whoosh! there goes a 'winder thru a dozen or more of us, ungiuded. He took flak for years nd years, heh heh.

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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post23 May 2019, 16:12

First time I saw the A-6 loaded up with max Mk82s I was in love. A two ship of A-6s had the same bombload as a B-52.
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garrya

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Unread post24 May 2019, 09:59

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:First time I saw the A-6 loaded up with max Mk82s I was in love. A two ship of A-6s had the same bombload as a B-52.

Are you talking about this:
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hornetfinn

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Unread post24 May 2019, 10:01

Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?
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madrat

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Unread post24 May 2019, 12:32

The A-6 is one tall plane. It would have been most comparable to Blackburn's Buccaneer. The A-6 would have been interesting with an internalized payload and a pointed nose like the Bucc. Regardless, it is amazing how sturdy built these things look up close.

hornetfinn wrote:Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?


Political bases demanded their plane be built.
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mixelflick

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Unread post24 May 2019, 14:05

madrat wrote:The A-6 is one tall plane. It would have been most comparable to Blackburn's Buccaneer. The A-6 would have been interesting with an internalized payload and a pointed nose like the Bucc. Regardless, it is amazing how sturdy built these things look up close.

hornetfinn wrote:Thank you Gums, I love your personal experience stories. I'm sure others do as well.

Did you ever have a chance to take a look into A-6 and compare it to A-7? I find it interesting that these aircraft were used at the same time in carrier air wings. I wonder why not use one or the other?


Political bases demanded their plane be built.


That's true, but the A-6 could fly and fight in really bad weather - whereas the A-7 would have had a much more difficult time. They were quite different solutions to the mission. Personally, I preferred the A-7. Primarily due to the fact it could carry some self protection sidewinders and had a gun. I'm not sure if the A-6 was outfitted with sidewinders, but I do know it didn't have a gun. Something I'd want for everything from strafing runs to getting jumped by enemy Migs.

I think the death knell was when Reagan struck back over Lebanon. If memory serves, we lost at least one of each in those airstrikes. Both participated in Desert Storm, but by that time the F-18 had started to filter into the fleet and their days were numbered. Regardless, both very impressive aircraft. Could carry a heavy load a long way, and do so in very difficult conditions. I was sad to see them go, and the Navy def lost some serious miles insofar as power projection was concerned. The F-18 just didn't have the same reach..
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post24 May 2019, 15:31

garrya wrote:Are you talking about this:

Yeah. 30 Mk82s. That will ruin a day. Ripple drop those at 250ms interval at 800ft/s and you plaster a full nm. Or decrease interval and drop in a dive and simply erase a target from existence.
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Unread post30 May 2019, 23:08

Salute!

I do not have the tech data for the A-6. but the basic comparison is the Intruder could carry more than the Sluf, but at about the same range plus some more. I really think the Intruder could carry more when using the cat than rolling forever on the runway like we did in the Sluf at Korat. We rolled a bit over 8,000 feet carrying 10 x 500 and two 300 gal tanks.
- The early A-7's did not have the cosmic nav and computer system that the D and E had. It made all the difference in the world, especially for CAS.
- The Intruder did not have the super DTOS system that we had. Ditto for computed ( CCIP) RX and strafe.
- We had a great radar for boming in WX, but the autopilot did not have control stick steering, so updating the aimpoint and manually flying left/right was challenging. The Intruder had the NFO so the pilot was like I was in the VooDoo - steer the "dot".
- I was surprised that the Sluf was even in The Storm. Thot USN would be all Hornets and Intruders would be Weasels and jammer and refueling. USAF had moved all of the active duty Sluf's to the Guard and Reserve, and many of those outfits already had Vipers. e.g. the 419th at Hill got Vipers in late 1983 and I flew with both the 421st and that reserve unit until I retired ( IP and academics) at the end of June. The Swamp Foxes in S.C. got their Sluf's in 1983 or so and I checked out a few of them. They got their Vipers in 1982 or so.

Bottom line from my viewpoint is the Sluf is preferred for CAS and interdiction out to 350 -400 n.m. with at least 10 x 500 and no refueling required!!!!. We could have carried more for Linebacker II up north if not loading the ALQ's. The 'winders were free, as was the gun.

For longer missions carrying more or bigger eggs, then take the Intruder. It might not be preferred for night CAS due to a less capable conputed bombing system , but interdiciton would be its niche.

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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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madrat

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Unread post01 Jun 2019, 21:17

I'm pretty sure the claims from GD and Grumman were always back and forth about how Intruders always battled Aardvarks - and vice versa - for best accuracy during joint drills on a level the Corsair (sluf to you gents that actually flew them) could not match due to their fancy automated bombing systems. The Intruder enjoyed major upgrades during the Reagan days.
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outlaw162

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Unread post01 Jun 2019, 21:43

I 'spect you'll hear from Gums about that.

For daylight, clear weather visual attack, either DTOS or CCIP, there was nothing that could beat an A-7D in terms of consistent accuracy, until the F-16 came along. The A-6 or F-111 would have been at the same dis-advantage as the F-4 in competing in the daylight tactical scenarios used at Gunsmoke. They were optimized for night, all-weather attack, with an extra guy....Gunsmoke was a daytime thing....night was for parties. :D

I recall numerous high-altitude dive 'hat-tricks' (3 shacks) in the A-7D. That's an 8000' AGL release. It's hard to be more accurate than a direct hit.

BTW A-7Ds & F-16s consistently dominated Gunsmoke even when F-111s competed. Navy wasn't invited. :D
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Unread post01 Jun 2019, 23:54

Salute!

Thanks, Outlaw

I'll take some time Sunday and post the Corona Harvest bomb accuracy reports from forward air controllers.

The number one plane for accuracy was the A-37. Then we Slufs showed up in Otober 1972 as the Dragonflies were folding up. The FAC's gave us the same rating as the A-37 - - --- 15 meters CEP. Big difference was the Sluf could get that close from a 4 or 5,000 foot release, but I had to drop at about 2500 feet or so in the A-37 and 150 knots slower.

The Viper crushed the opponents at the first RAF Bomb Comp in bombing accuracy and also shot down almost 80 aggressors with only one losss. Heh heh. I personally helped the 419th reserve guys for their Gunsmoke effort, which they won. We adjusted the canopy coefficients to get that extra mil or two of accuracy. The Top Gun that year was an ex-Sluf driver.

I would also take a bet on a radar delivery in the Sluf or Viper if we didn't have a lotta ack or SAM's. The Sluf and Viper had really good radar bombs in a "benign" environment. My first radar drop at a strange range was 35 meters, and I had not practiced the run or seen the layout.

Gums sends...
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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outlaw162

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Unread post02 Jun 2019, 01:36

To be fair, when I was going thru F-16 school, on a day off, just for grins, I took a backseat ride in an A-7K equipped with a LANA FLIR pod. Down low with variable terrain. In the back I had a HUD repeater. That convinced me that this business was best left to the A-6s and F-111s....and this was daylight, perfect Arizona weather. :shock:

(The LANA pod also took about 50 knots off of top speed.....and 10 units of rudder trim. :D )

I was however impressed with accuracy results on my first F-16 radar bomb mission....of course the range had two ginormous radar reflectors on each side of the run in.

You know another advantage the A-7 had over the A-6 was that it was a very stable gun platform and actually had a gun. At one time the NMANG had an A2A dart program and invited our A-7 weapons school to participate while they towed. Two of us headed over to New Mexico. I shot first, and even with the fixed 0.56 sec TOF symbology, one pass and the dart bridle was obliterated and the dart shot off. Second guy was not happy.

edit: Also the A-7 did a pretty good ARA.
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