The film “A-6E Intruder…Any Weather AnyTime” was made not long after the Vietnam debacle had ended and the Navy and Marine Corps were taking a close look at their force structures and figuring out what they could do without. Grumman’s A-6 Intruder attack bomber had entered service right about the same time Vietnam really became a war and had proven its capabilities in Southeast Asia over and over again. By the time the A-6E variant trapped aboard a carrier for its first deployment in 1971, the Navy and Marine Corps knew they had the finest attack aircraft ever taken to sea. Featuring VA-34 Blue Blasters with a host of other Intruder squadrons supporting, this film was uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm. Enjoy!
Grumman built a total of 445 A-6Es. More than half of them were previously manufactured variants that were reworked to bring them to A-6E specification. At first it was difficult for a casual observer to discern the differences between the variants of the Intruder. Later (after the film was produced- beginning in the early 1980’s) the A-6E received the Target Recognition and Attack Multisensor (TRAM) turret installed under the radome and just ahead of the forward landing gear. In addition to TRAM, the A-6E radar was upgraded to the new Norden AN/APQ-156 radar. By that point there were few other Intruder variants left in service.
Continuously upgraded throughout their service lives, Grumman A-6E Intruders were retired and replaced by the end of 1997. The Navy decommissioned most of their 24 Intruder-equipped squadrons during the 1990s, but today VA-34 Blue Blasters and VA-115 Eagles fly variants of the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet. Originally the Intruders largely replaced the Navy’s Douglas A-1 Skyraider attack aircraft and were themselves eventually replaced, at least for a time, by Grumman F-14 Bombcats. The Marines traded their Intruders for F/A-18D Hornets. Five of the original six Marine Corps Intruder squadrons are still flying.