Grumman A-6B 'Intruder'

Notes: Improved A-6A configured for standard ANTI-RADAR missile system (ARM) .
  Base model:A-6
  Designation System:U.S. Tri-Service
  Designation Period:1962-Present
  Basic role:Attack
  Crew:Pilot & Bombardier-Navigator
  See Also:

Not Yet Available

Known serial numbers
154046 / 154099


Recent comments by our visitors
 Tony Thornborough
 Bristol, BC
VA-35 received three Mod 1/TIAS A-6Bs for a WESTPAC cruise and the aircraft were painted in VA-35 markings, but did not embark aboard USS America. The aircraft went into temporary storage before passing to VA-34.

VA-34 were the only Atkron to take this particular A-6B version to sea.

Tony T
02/20/2013 @ 05:03 [ref: 67600]
 PARIS / Ile de France, OTH
One squadron, often forgotten as a user of A-6B, is VA-35 "Black Panthers". They used MOD.1 aircraft such as 152617 modex AJ 517 aboard USS AMERICA (CVA-66) during the Vietnam cruise of 1972. See the picture in Squadron Signal "Wild Weasel", page 27.

This aircraft was later affected to VA-34 aboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CVA-67) as AB 524
02/09/2013 @ 04:39 [ref: 67564]
 Liverpool. England. UK, BC
Designation A-6B was given to three batches of A-6A modified as specialized defense suppression aircraft. The first A-6B was delivered in August 1967, the last in August 1970. At one time, there were plans to convert 54 A-6A into A-6B, but only 19 were actually converted.
First ten A-6Bs (Bu Nos 149949, 149957, and 151558 to 151595) were obtained by stripping out most of the attack systems and substituting specialized equipment able to detect radars from enemy Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems. These lacked some of the more sophisticated electronic systems of later A-6B versions. Mod 0 - couple of antennas on nose. Mod 1 - multiple antennas on nose and tail and able to carry AGM-78 Standard Anti Radiation Missiles.
Next three (BuNos 155628, 155629 & 155630) were fitted with Passive-Angle-Tracking Anti-Radiation-Missile (PAT/ARM) system developed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratories to enhance accuracy of AGM-78A missile and make it possible for missile to continue to home in on enemy radar after it was turned off. The first modified aircraft (BuNo 155628) flew on August 26, 1968. The PAT/ARM version had internal antennas only and able to us AGM-78 Standard ARM\'s.
The last six converted (BuNos 149944, 149945, 151591, 151820, 152616, and 152617) were fitted with the Target Identification Acquisition System (TIAS) developed by IBM. This included a number of \"button\" antennas on the nose of the aircraft, designed to receive radar information, identify the radar operating band along with bearing to target. There was also a slight change in the way the B/N\'s radar scope displayed target data and to the weapon selection control boxes.
In Squadron/Signal publication ‘1138 A-6 Intruder in Action’ there are pictures of what TIAS mod looked like.
Several Intruder squadrons had A-6Bs operating alongside their regular A-6As. These were VA-34, VA-52, VA-65, VA-75, VA-85, VA-95, VA-115 & VA-196. A-6B was capable of operating alone against SAM sites, as it carried passive electronic countermeasures equipment for detecting radar emissions as well as missiles for attacking them. Usual load was two AGM-45 Shrike and two AGM-78 Standard ARM, plus a fuel tank on fuselage centerline.
Five were lost to all causes and the 14 survivors were upgraded to A-6E standard between December 1975 and December 1979. http://www.joebaugher.com/usattack/newa6_2.html
Details A-6B Intruder variants.

A-6B Mod 0 (August 1967)
Modified A-6A capable of carrying AGM-78A (Mod 0) ONLY. The APQ-112 Tracking Radar and ASQ-61A Ballistic Computer were deleted.

ECM (Early)
APR-27 Launch Warning Receiver

ECM (Later)
ER-142 (X, C and S band coverage)

A-6B Mod 0/1 (1968)
Modified Mod 0 Aircraft which could fire both the Mod 0 and Mod 1
Standard ARM.

A-6B PAT/ARM (1969)
The PAT system could provide both angular and range data to S band emitters passively. Earlier RWR systems only provided angular data. The PAT system could only look forward in a narrow slice, so an APR-25 RWR was installed for 360 degree coverage.

The IBM APS-118 Target Identification and Acquisition System (TIAS) installed. It provided for better integration of the data from all the electronics subsystems of the aircraft, allowing for easier and better attacks.
ECM (Early)
APR-27 Launch Warning Receiver
ECM (Later 1973)
ALR-50 Launch Warning Receiver

History notes for the nineteen A-6B:

149944 - Mod 1. Converted to A-6E; Retired to AMARC Aug 29, 1995
149949 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E; Lost April 21 1993 /AG-5,VA-34.NAS Oceana, Virginia.
149955 - Mod 1. Converted to A-6E; Retired to AMARC November 21, 1996
149957 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E; for re-wing program but sunk for use as artificial reef
151558 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E; for re-wing but sunk as artificial reef
151559 - Mod 0. A-6B Crashed during training 30 July 1972. 2 crew ejected. VA-196 USS Enterprise.
151560 - Mod 0. A-6B Crashed after launch 20 Aug 1968 - 2 crew Ok VA-196
151561 - Mod 0. A-6B Combat loss 28 Aug 1968 - 2 KIA -VA-85
151562 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E; for re-wing but sunk as artificial reef
151563 - Mod 0. A-6B Crashed during training flight with VA-42 on 15 Oct 1971
151564 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E. Retired to AMARC July 6, 1995
151565 - Mod 0. Converted to A-6E; for re-wing but sunk as artificial reef
151591 - Mod 1. Converted to A-6E. Retired to AMARC July 9, 1996
151820 - Mod 1. Converted to A-6E; for re-wing but sunk as artificial reef
152616 - Mod 1. A-6B Crashed after launch in Med - 3rd July 1973.. VA-34. USS John F Kennedy
152617 - Mod 1. Converted to A-6E. Retired to AMARC June 2, 1994
155628 - PAT/ARM. Converted to A-6E/MOD/TRAM completed 30 Aug 79, last sighted as KA-6D with VA-176 in 1992.
155629 - PAT/ARM. Converted to A-6E; at Quonset Air Museum, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA.
155630 - PAT/ARM. Converted to A-6E. Retired to AMARC October 30, 1995

A-6B 151561 was lost 29th August 1968 - both crew were posted as MIA – this was changed to KIA in 1978.
VA-85 \'Black Falcons\'. Modex 521. Pilot: Lt Cdr Alan Ashall. Bombardier Navigator: Lt Robert Duncan.

The original Mod O system was a forward-looking system only and Duncan and Ashall were ambushed
during a night time Iron Hand mission near Vinh Son, 20 miles northwest of Vinh by a rear SAM shot
when working a double-shift on a Trails War coverage mission.
Overcast was probably a big part, as it often did with such losses.

A-6B 151561 was on a Standard ARM Mission VFR night, at an altitude of approximately 18,000 feet, 10 miles southwest of Vinh. The area was known as (hot) with AA and small and fire & an active \"SAM\" site. The stricken aircraft was being held on radar by an E-2A. An A-7A operating 20 miles south reported 3 \"SAM\'s\" lifting off and the E-2A advised the stricken aircraft but received no acknowledgement. One minute and thirty seconds later, the aircraft disappeared from radar. The E-2A then advised the A-6 to squawk emergency. Again there was no acknowledgment. Both crew were listed as missing in action.

The aircraft carried APS-107, ER-142 gear - effectively the same as contemporary
F-4C Weasel development which could only use Shrike, not Standard ARM (STARM),
A-6Bs used both missiles.
Main changes were external - the additional scopes being almost invisible on the predominantly
black main instrument panel worked by the B/N and included a set of four \'diamond\' antennae
on the top of the radome, either side of the AAR probe, and underneath the fuselage,
forward of the Nose Landing Gear.
Load-outs included centerline drop tank plus two AGM-78s inboard and two AGM-45s or an
MER with 6 x Mk82s on the outboard pylon.

Of all squadrons that deployed with A-6B, VMA(AW)-224 aboard USS Coral Sea in 1972
fired the highest number of AGM-78\'s by far and claimed highest number of SAM-site kills.
Perhaps this was because of early equipment on A-6B\'s during earlier deployments, or changed
Rules Of Engagement during the bombing halt.
VMA(AW)-224 made the highest number of kills because they lobbed everything
they had using new missiles fresh from General Dynamics.

In 1968 the A-6Bs might have flown with AGM-78s inboard and AGM-45s outboard.
In 1972 the mix was the same though the Marine Sqn on Coral Sea took off with
4x AGM-78 until they ran out of missiles!

A 2001 phone conversation with Bombardier-Navigator Col Charlie \'Vulture\' Carr who flew A-6A/Bs on that deployment with CAG Cdr Roger Sheets, and understand their trio of A-6Bs were from the original Mod O batch (but Mod 1 STARM-capable) with the four diamond antennae around the nose, assigned to the squadron during Cross-decking at Cubic Point in the Philippines, around April. They apparently used up most of Carrier Task Force 77\'s Spring 1972 new batch of 48 AGM-78Cs.

A-6B 151563 loss record:
15th October 1971 A-6 Intruder 151563 with VA-42 \'Green Pawns\' Fleet Replacement Squadron
Crashed 15 miles from NAS Oceana.
Both crew ejected: LT J. W. Adair & LT D. C. Wright.

A-6B 151559 loss record:
30th July 1972. A-6B Intruder 151559. VA-196 USS Enterprise.
Lieutenant Commander Richard J. Toft ejected sustaining injuries requiring extensive treatment.
Lieutenant JG John D. Austin, Jr. ejected successfully

A-6B 152616 loss record:
A-6B Intruder 152616, 3rd July 1973. VA-34. USS John F Kennedy, Crashed off carrier, Martin-Baker GRU-5.
Pilot; LCDR G. D. O\'Brien Bombardier Navigator; LT B. B. Betz. Both ejected.

A-6B of VA 34 Blue Blasters 149944 photographed at NAS Oceana

A-6B of VA 34 Blue Blasters 151820 photographed at NAS Norfolk

This A-6B of VA 34 Blue Blasters 152616 is photographed at

A-6B of VA 75 Sunday Punchers parked at NAS Oceana on Aug


CVW-11 (NH)
(November 18, 1967 – June 28, 1968)
VA-75 \'Sunday Punchers\' A-6B
Modex 520 151559
Modex 521 151561
Modex 522 151564

CVW-6 (AE)
April 10 – December 16, 1968 (Vietnam War)
VA-85 \'Black Falcons\' A-6B
Modex 520 151559
Modex 521 151561 - Aug.28, 1968 Combat loss
Modex 522 151564

CVW-14 (NK)
May 29, 1968 – January 31, 1969 (Vietnam War)
VA-196 ‘Main Battery’ A-6B
Replaced Modex 414 149949 & became Modex 422
Replaced Modex 415 151565
Replaced Modex 416 151564
………… Modex 42? 151560 - August 20, 1968 - Operational loss –crashed after launch.

CVW-14 (NK)
Aug.11, 1969 - May 8, 1970 (Vietnam War)
VA-85 \'Black Falcons\' A-6B
Modex 515 155628
Modex 516 155629
Modex 517 155630

CVW-11 (NH)
December 30, 1968 – September 4, 1969 (Vietnam War)
VA-65 \'Tigers\' A-6B
Modex 51? 15????
Modex 51? 1?????

CVW-9 (NG)
April 10– December 21, 1970 (Vietnam War)
VA-165 \'Boomers\' A-6B
Modex 505 155628
Modex 506 155629
Modex 507 155630
VA-165 transferred 155628, 155629 & 155630 to VA-52/CVW-11/CVA-63
at beginning of December 1970

CVW-11 (NH)
November 6, 1970 – July 17, 1971 (Vietnam War)
VA-52 \'Knightriders\' A-6B
Modex 511 155628
Modex 512 155629
Modex 513 155630

CVW-3 (AC)
June 7 – October 31, 1971 (Med)
VA-75 \'Sunday Punchers\' A-6B
Modex 510 149957
Modex 511 1?????
Modex 512 151558

CVW-1 (AB)
September 14, 1970 – March 1, 1971 (Med)
November 18, 1971 - May 10, 1972 (Med)
VA-34 \'Blue Blasters\' are recorded as having A-6B in their inventory during both
deployments although no details as yet.

CVW-15 (NL)
November 12, 1971 – July 17, 1972 (Vietnam War)
US Marine Corps unit VMA(AW)-224 A-6B
Modex 521 149957

CVW-14 (NK)
June 11, 1971 – February 12, 1972 (Vietnam War)
VA-85 \'Black Falcons\' A-6B
Modex 504 151565
Modex 505 151562

CVW-1 (AB)
April 16, 1973 – December 1, 1973 (Med)
VA-34 \'Blue Blasters\' A-6B
Modex 510 149944
Modex 511 149955
A-6B Intruder 152616. 3rd July 1973. Operational loss –crashed after launch.
VA-34. USS John F Kennedy,
Pilot; LCDR G. D. O\'Brien Bombardier Navigator; LT B. B. Betz. Both ejected.

CVW-15 (NL)
March 9 – November 8, 1973 (Vietnam War)
VA-95 \'Green Lizards\' A-6B
Modex 512 155628
Modex 513 155629
Modex 514 155630

CVW-5 (NF)
(Oct. 1973 - Dec. 1977)
VA-115 \'Arabs\' A-6B
Modex 502 155628
Modex 503 155629
Modex 504 155630
155628 (ex. NL-512/VA-95) arrived at NAF Atsugi on Oct.29, 1973.
155629 (ex. NL-513/VA-95) arrived at NAF Atsugi on Oct.16, 1973.
155630 (ex. NL-514/VA-95) arrived at NAF Atsugi on Oct. 1973.
All three replaced by A-6E during 1977.

1970 picture of A-6B Intruder 149949:
A recent ceremony at General Dynamics San Diego recorded the Navy \"Buyoff\" of the second production
A-6B Intruder BuNo 149949.
On hand for the delivery were (l-r) John Luna, DCAS; Stan M. Gilbert, Pomona; Lt. Joel Weissman, USN, NMC Pt. Mugu; Les Cornell, NWC Corona Annex; Lt. Col. Ken Curry, NMC Pt. Mugu; Ernie Von der Heyden, Grumman chief test pilot; and Bob Clauer, GD, Pomon. Rocketeer photo 12 June 1970.

1970 picture of A-6B Intruder 155628:
Grumman A-6B Intruder BuNo 155628 of VA-52 Knightriders on a bombing mission over North Vietnam in 1970.
VA-52 was assigned to CVW-11 aboard CVA-63 USS Kitty Hawk for a deployment to Vietnam
from 6 November 1970 to 17 July 1971.
In background flies a Ling-Temco-Vought A-7E Corsair II BuNo 157535 of VA-195 Dambusters.

1971 picture of A-6B Intruder 149957:
Grumman A-6B Intruder BuNo 149957, Modex 510 of VA-75 \"Sunday Punchers\" on USS Saratoga (CVA-60) summer 1971. VA-75 assigned CVW-3 code AC during deployment to Mediterranean Sea, 3 June–31 October 1971.
Equipped with AGM-78 Standard anti-radiation missile visible on left inboard pylon.
BuNo 149957 later brought up to the A-6E standard and, its service life completed, was sunk as an artificial reef.
USN photo by Randy Bender, ATR2, USN.

Another 1971 picture of A-6B Intruder 149957:
Grumman A-6B Intruder BuNo.149957, AC-510 of VA-75 Sunday Punchers from CVA-60 USS Saratoga
in the summer of 1971. VA-75 was assigned to CVW-3 during a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from
3 June to 31 October 1971.
Equipped with AGM-78 Standard Anti-Radiation Missile, visible on left inboard pylon of AC-510.

Enthusiasts website with discussion on A-6B Intruder:

By going to this website \"AMARC III\":
Mouse clicking on \'Inventory by type\', scroll down to box \'A-6 Intruder\', mouse click on it and
the most up to date inventory list may be viewed.
Inventories dated 15 December 2010, 14 January 2011 & 29 March 2011 record 163 A-6
still in storage at what is now 309th AMARG.
A list dated 14 Sept 2010 recorded 174 Intruder.

Because of recent precautionary restrictions on information only the minimum details
of aircraft at AMARG are allowed to be published.
All aircraft in all \"AMARC III\" lists are in arrival date order only.

149944 - A-6E Retired to AMARC Aug 29,1995 – still at 309th AMARG March 2011
149955 - A-6E Retired to AMARC Nov 21, 1996 - at 309th AMARG March 2011
151564 - A-6E Retired to AMARC July 6, 1995 - at 309th AMARG March 2011
151591 - A-6E Retired to AMARC July 9, 1996 - at 309th AMARG March 2011
152617 - A-6E Retired to AMARC June 2, 1994 - at 309th AMARG March 2011
155630 - A-6E Retired to AMARC Oct 30, 1995 - at 309th AMARG March 2011

As all are included on that list so by end of March year 2011
still existed in a desert military compound near Tucson Arizona.

Maintain a check on this website as it is regularly updated……….
the numbers decrease continually…….

05/24/2011 @ 10:28 [ref: 38285]
 Adam Hodge
 Marietta, GA
(Not sure exactly what A-6 Variation Section to put this one in)

Hey Guys,

I'm a big Intruder fan (Didn't get to see it fly much as was only seven when VA-75, The Last Intruder Sqn, Flew into the history books) and I'm trying to start up a collection of original VA and VMA Patches (Squadron,Shoulder,Decomm, Anything) and was wondering if anyone had anything they could offer? I have very,very little as far as Intruder Squadron Patches go and anything anyone could help me with, I'd appreciate it tons (Will even shoot a little $$ over if need be). I'm trying to do it as a keepsake along with Sluff squadrons.

If anyone can assist me, Please email me at HODGETCA@aol.com

Thanks So Much in Advance and Fly Navy Always!

02/03/2008 @ 03:13 [ref: 19535]
 Tony Thornborough
 Amherst, MA
There existed 19 A-6Bs converted for "Iron Hand" duties by Grumman and the US Navy between 1967 and late 1970 and I would love to hear from anyone who flew or maintained them in SEA Yankee/Dixie Stations with VA-85, -35, -196 and several other ATKRONS and/or the Med with units such as VA-34, for an updated "Iron Hand" book.

11/20/2007 @ 11:31 [ref: 18602]
 Bart Collins
 , NC
While a member of VA-75 in 1967, I took training on The Standard ARM platform through VX-5, Det O. VA-75 was the FIRST operational Navy squadron to use this plane and missle in combat (1967-68 West Pac on USS Kitty Hawk.
The bureau numbers of our 3 aircraft were 149949, 151561 and 151564. We had the planes before the missles and the Captain of the Kitty Hawk told us there were no free riders on his ship. If we didn't have missiles, we were to affix drop tanks and a budddy store and tank CAG 11 aircraft.Imagine the forerunner of the KA-6D cosing 22 million dollars a pop in 1968! Thankfully, we did not loose any of ours while we had them.
03/21/2006 @ 13:08 [ref: 12879]
 , OH
Checked my log book; had roughly 20 A6B flights 37 years ago in the month of July, the last just prior to the bombing halt at the time of the presidential election. The Standard ARM was the only missle we ever launched (AGM78 as I recall)and never had any problems. One went slightly 'north' one night; this one we had to explain to the admiral after landing. Enjoyed every minute of my time in this aircraft.
07/07/2005 @ 14:25 [ref: 10694]
 Phil Conroy, CDR, USNR
 Fort Worth, TX
RE: Grumman A-6B. The "B" model was a special variant of the vacuum-tube technology A-6A, equipped with electronic warfare (EW) weapon systems to program and deploy the STANDARD ARM missle, carrying up to four (4). It was designed to deter the use of and to destroy Soviet-built surface-to-air (SAM) missle sites, which took a heavy toll on our forces during the early phases of the Viet Nam War. It proved to be very effective. Its Air Force equivalent was the F-4 "Wild Weasel", utilized so well during the 1990-91 Arabian Gulf War. Our squadron, VA-115, based on USS MIDWAY and homeported in Japan in the mid-late 1970's, was the last fleet unit to fly the A-6B. In 1978 these venerable war-horses were flown to the "boneyard" while the squadron transitioned to new, solid-state A-6E's and an updated EW system.
07/11/2001 @ 11:37 [ref: 2645]
 tony b
 lincoln, MI
The A-6 is one of the navy's best aircraft. They have been used since Vietnam and in the Gulf War. So many variants have been made like the KA-6,EA-6,and the JA-6.
04/05/2001 @ 21:35 [ref: 2011]


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