Grumman TF-1Q

TF-1Qs 13785 (background) and 13788 (foreground) assigned to VAW-33 "Firebirds."
TF-1Qs 13785 (background) and 13788 (foreground) assigned to VAW-33 “Firebirds.” Note the dorsal antennae for the ECM equipment.

Grumman’s Model G-96, known as the TF-1Q (later designated EC-1A Trader), is a little known variant of the C-1 Trader carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft (which itself is a version of the ubiqitious S-2 Tracker carrierborne antisubmarine aircraft. The TF-1Q was the first dedicated electonic warfare (EW) training platform.

The first TF-1Q was delivered in 1957 to VAW-33 in San Diego. The TF-1Q carried a crew of 5 total, including 2 pilots and 3 ECM operators. The TF-1Q shared the same airframe as the C-1A Trader and therefore a volumoius fuselage in which to carry a wide variety of ECM (electronic countermeasure) equipment including:

Recievers for train operators on how to conduct electronic intelligence (ELINT) included:

  • ALQ-2 radar warning reciever (E through I bands, with the antenna for the equipment mounted in the tail)
  • AAR-5 ECM receiver (covering the A band)
  • ALR-8 ECM recieving units, comprising of the APR-13 (covering the A and B bands) and the APR-9 (covering the B through I bands)
  • APA–69A ECM direction finder
  • APA-74 Pulse Analyzer

 

An APA-74 Pulse Analyzer
An APA-74 Pulse Analyzer

The TF-1Q differed from the C-1 Trader in many ways. The compartive greater weight meant the TF-1Q did not operate from aircraft carriers. Also the TF-1Q was limited in range and altitude.

There were 4 total TF-1Qs. Provding bi-coastal EW training, coverage  2 TF-1Qs each were assigned to VAW-33 (later redesignated VAQ-33 “Firebirds”) then based at NAS Quonset Point, RI and the other 2 went to VAW-13 (later redesignated VAQ-130 “Zappers”) at then at NAS Alameda, CA. Additional tasking of these squadrons included providing EW “Red Air” for both east and west coast squadrons. These aircraft privided valuable realistic EW training for crews aboard ships.

As mentioned there were 4 TF-1Qs (listed bureau numbers follow):

  • 136783: TF-1Q to EC-1A 1962. Was stored at Western International Aviation in Tuscon, AZ. Airframe scrapped.
  • 136785: (fate unknown, probably scrapped.
  • 136788: TF-1Q to EC-1A in 1962. She was converted back to C-1A Trader at some point. She was lost 2 April 1982 while on a COD flight from the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69). All 11 aboard were killed.
  • 13688: was FAA registered N788RR which was cancelled (and now belongs to a 2000 SOCATA SOCATA-TBM700) and reregisted as N6788 which expired June 2013.

Here are a few photos I found of some of the TF-1Qs 13788:

13788-2 136788 136788-2

Sources:

http://www.joebaugher.com/navy_serials/thirdseries16.html

The History of U.S. Electronic Warfare Volume 2.