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A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War by Rick Morgan, Jim Laurier

By Rick Morgan, Jim Laurier

Designed within the years following the Korean warfare after which synthetic for over 30 years beginning in 1960, the A-6 speedy grew to become the main able assault plane within the US Navy's sturdy. the 1st squadron, VA-75, made its preliminary deployment at once into strive against in south-east Asia in 1965, and, over the following 8 years, ten US military and 4 Marine Intruder squadrons might behavior strive against operations all through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. After preliminary difficulties and a excessive loss expense, the sort proved itself past all doubt because the Naval prone' top evening and foul-weather platform, relatively in the course of the region's infamous monsoon season.

The A-6 Intruder grew to become a real vintage of naval aviation over the skies of North Vietnam however the fee used to be excessive as sixty nine Intruders have been misplaced in wrestle to all motives through the struggle. This paintings tells the full tale of those airplane in wrestle in the course of the Vietnam conflict.

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Lacking the parts needed to undertake effective all-weather strike missions, the A-6s of VA-75 were largely flown as ‘lead-nosed, iron bombsight’ aircraft exclusively in the benign Mediterranean theatre. By early 1968 Cdr Jerry Zacharias’ squadron had received a batch of brand new full-system aircraft specifically for the unit’s second deployment to Southeast Asia. VA-75 also became the first A-6 unit to have a pair of new A-7A Corsair II squadrons (VA-37 and VA-105) as its light attack counterparts instead of A-4s.

They would be the last awarded in Vietnam to medium attack aircrew for action in flight. Because of its Korean sojourn, Ranger would spend ‘only’ 88 days on the line off Vietnam. The ship out-chopped from CTF-77 on 25 April and set sail for California. IRON HAND The ‘Sunday Punchers’ made their second appearance in-theatre at the end of 1967, arriving on the line as a part of CVW-11 in Kitty Hawk on 23 December. Between combat cruises the ‘Punchers’ had made the first Intruder deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as part of CVW-7 embarked in Independence from mid-1966 through to early 1967.

This is airframe No 4, BuNo 147867, in an early publicity shot. The aircraft carries a maximum bomb load of 30 Mk 82 500-lb bombs, which would soon be reduced to 28. The forward/inside bombs on the inboard wing stations were removed due to potential interference with the forward main landing gear doors. By the time production of the A-6A commenced, the aircraft’s rudder had been enlarged, a refuelling probe fitted, wingtip speed brakes installed and the moveable engine exhausts fixed in place (Grumman courtesy the Grumman Historical Center) The addition of the second seat was critical, as no small part of the Intruder’s eventual success was in fact due to its crew of two – a Naval Aviator and a Bombardier-Navigator (B/N), the latter being a commissioned officer who was initially rated as a Naval Air Observer (NAO).

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