GRUMMAN A-6E INTRUDER

  

GRUMMAN A-6E INTRUDER

The Intruder was a medium-attack, all weather day-night carrier based combat aircraft. Its first flight (prototype YA-2Fl BUNO 147864) was on 16 April 1960. The Navy's designation of the Intruder was changed from the A-2F to the A-6A in October 1962. First fleet delivery of the A-6A was to VA-42, the Atlantic Fleet Replacement Air Group (RAG) in February 1963. The first operational fleet squadron was VA-75, with the first West Pac cruise onboard USS INDEPENDENCE in May 1965. First flight of the A-6E, a refitted A-6A, was on 27 February 1970 and 240 A-6A's were eventually converted to A-6E's. When the production of the A-6A stopped in December 1970, the Intruder was serving in 14 Navy and 6 Marine squadrons and some 488 aircraft had been produced. The first new production A-6E was accepted by the Navy in September 1971 and the first operational fleet squadron (VA-85) started accepting their aircraft in December 1971. Intruder fleet squadrons were phased out in 1997. Testing of the Intruder started at Patuxent River in the early 1960's and continued until 1996.

Our display aircraft, NA-6E BUNO 156997 (Salty Dog #500) was built as an A-6A and accepted into the Navy's inventory on 30 January 1970. It served in a succession of fleet squadrons through 1976, including: VA-145, VA-128, VA-52, and VA-95. It then went through the A-6A to A-6E update conversion program at Grumman and once again returned to the fleet, this time to VA-35. In March 1979, it returned to Grumman for the installation of the Target Recognition Attack Multisensor (TRAM) system. It spent the next 5 years at VX-5 involved in system operational evaluations.

Salty Dog #500 arrived at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, in October 1984. It was involved in system test and evaluation work since that time. First a new prototype fuel indicating system was installed and evaluated. From 1986 through 1993, the aircraft was highly instrumented for testing of night attack technologies involving "Night Sensors", "Predictive Ground Proximity Warning" and "Passive Terrain Navigation". Its final flight was on 29 July 1993, having accumulated 4,789 flight hours and 6,287 landings, 787 of them aircraft carrier arrestments. Salty Dog #500 joined our Patuxent River Naval Air Museum aircraft stable in February 1995.

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