Mostly taken from the VA-115 Arabs 1971-72 Vietnam cruise aboard USS Midway (CVA-41) but with a few other sources spliced in. This also contains a nice tribute to LT Raymond Donnelly. LT Donnelly was killed in action July 19, 1972. His death was the basis for the death of fictional Bombardier/Navigator Morgan MacPherson in Stephen Coonts’ “Flight of the Intruder.”
Sure, this is an Army-centric blog, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for Naval Aviation, in particular, the Grumman A-6 Intruder. That’s the plane that took dear old Dad to war and brought him home.
Our favorite Hornette driver, NeptunusLex points us to an Air&Space Magazine article on the “Tadpole.”
When the Intruder entered service in the mid-1960s, it brought a new capability to carrier air power- the ability to locate and attack targets day or night, in any kind of weather. It may seem hard to believe, but well into the 1990s, few of our airplanes could locate targets except by using the human eyeball. In the Intruder, a very high resolution radar, coupled with a then-exotic inertial navigation system allowed their crews to fly at 200 feet above the ground, find their targets, and plaster them with a massive payload of bombs. During Desert Storm, the Intruder was pretty much the only Navy plane capable of deploying smart-bombs like laser guided bombs.
All good things come to an end, however. In the mid 1990s, the Navy retired the Intruder, replacing it in the strike role with F-14 Tomcats, and later, the F/A-18E/F SuperHornet.