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Grumman A-6 projects

gfi88

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Found this on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/EXCELLENT-GRUMMAN-US-NAVY-A6D-INTRUDER-DESK-MODEL-AIRPLANE-STAND-/350635442834?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51a3804292
 

Tailspin Turtle

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That is almost certainly a display model depicting the proposed tanker variant. It is loaded with five external fuel tanks and incorporates what looks like a refueling drogue housing on the underside of the aft fuselage. The tanker didn't need the attack radar so I'm guessing that the nose was reshaped to reduce drag. That feature didn't make it to the KA-6Ds that resulted.
 

Blaze1

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The following is a cockpit photo of an A-6E SWIP Block 1A. This version took it's maiden flight in 1994 and featured composite wings, ASN-139 INS, ARN-118 TACAN, GPS, MFD for the B/N and a new HUD and warning lights. The Block 1A was never introduced to the fleet.
 

Grey Havoc

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The political side of the A-6F cancellation: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a200342.pdf
 

circle-5

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1959 Grumman manufacturer proposal model of their Design 128 (later A2F-1) with centerline Corvus missile by Temco, Bullpups and drop tanks. Note initial location of refueling probe, early canopy, nose radome, air intakes, etc. This was very close to the final configuration.
 

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Mark Nankivil

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Very nice model/pics - thanks! Mark
 

Boxman

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Among the recent San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) Archives Ryan Aeronautical postings on Flickr are these photos of an A-6 Intruder model configured with a wing-mounted trapeze to air launch (at least that's what I initially believed) a Ryan Firebee reconnaissance variant.

Strangely enough, the arrangement reminds me of the B-36/F-84 FICON trapeze, with what appears to be a small hook on the top of the Firebee that would fit into a loop in the front of the trapeze, and two braces on the trapeze that would straddle/support the rear of the drone. Also, Firebees of similar size and wingspan were frequently launched from Intruders simply from a wing hard point - which would seemingly make an arrangement such as this unnecessary. Perhaps, instead of solely being a launching mechanism, this is a recovery system?

Unlike FICON, where the parasite aircraft's hook faces forward, the hook on the drone here faces to the rear. If this is a proposed recovery system, it would require the A-6 to approach and snatch the drone from above and behind - which would explain the hook on the drone facing the rear. Also, when fully extended, the trapeze stretches forward so that that the "eye" for the hook would be almost perfectly parallel with the A-6 pilot's line of sight. Then again, my imagination has probably run wild, as this all strikes me as an extremely risky and dangerous maneuver ("How do you deploy the trapeze in a recovery without striking the drone's vertical stab?") that could just as easily send that same drone crashing into the "recovery" aircraft.

Anyway, here are the photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/34125292750/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/33700528143/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/34122953590/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/34123287970/


For comparison purposes, here's the typical arrangement for two Firebees on an A-6 (photo is posted at The Aviationist site - albeit sourced from SDASM):
https://theaviationist.com/tag/ryan-firebee/
 

starviking

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The Model appears to be in SEA Camoscheme. Navy-based reconaissance project for Vietnam? Fly the drones out to highly defended areas in North Vietnam, recover them with the A-6?
 

AeroFranz

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That would be one way to increase the mission radius of the drone...although i don't know that that would be enough to justify what is obviously a complicated recovery.
But i do agree with you that aerial recovery makes sense for the device shown here. The guidance systems required are just now becoming available, so i don't know how successful they would have been in their endeavor.
Very cool find!

edit: just took a second look at the device...with the vertical tail of the Firebee a few feet behind the rear portion of the recovery device, that doesn't seem to leave much room for maneuvering the device into place for a recovery.
 

taildragger

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My guess is that the trapeze device is a drone launch option conceived before launching from a fixed hardpoint was demonstrated. The illustrated mechanism would have helped ensure a clean separation any problems arose. It shows none of the alignment aids (for want of a better term) that would be necessary during recovery.
 

taildragger

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Triton said:
Previously discussed model of Grumman A-6D Intruder tanker variant.
I wonder what the purpose of the altered nose profile was. The actual KA-6D had a standard A-6 radome without the radar. The model's radome seems to have gunports, which seem like a useless addition to a tanker. Maybe the revised profile reduced drag.
 

kaiserd

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taildragger said:
Triton said:
Previously discussed model of Grumman A-6D Intruder tanker variant.
I wonder what the purpose of the altered nose profile was. The actual KA-6D had a standard A-6 radome without the radar. The model's radome seems to have gunports, which seem like a useless addition to a tanker. Maybe the revised profile reduced drag.
Isn't that a model of a proposed single seat "simplified" A-6 that competed against the Vought design that became the A-7 Corsair II? Or maybe a proposed A-6 variant that derived from that configuration?
 

taildragger

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No, the G-128 was the single-seat development proposed for the VAX competition won by Vought. The photos of the A-6D model I was referring to were posted by Triton on 11/5/2012 and depict a tanker-configured aircraft with a 2 seat cockpit.
 

Grey Havoc

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There's not a huge amount on non-built aircraft, but there is an awful lot of info to let you put design work in the context of the requirements and functions they were supposed to meet. For example there are big sections on early Cold War CAP requirements and the complications of trying to meet fairly onerous targets about not letting a mirror-imaged bombing threat get within launch range. CAP on deck couldn't reach intercept distance in the time from first detection, airborne CAP didn't have the endurance, and the carriers couldn't cycle them fast enough to keep them airborne. That kind of thing. Aircraft highlight for me was the description of the Outer Air Battle and what the A-6Fs were supposed to be doing during it (extra AIM-152 shooters) which I'd not seen clearly defined before, including the minor detail that a CVBG would need to put other ops on hold for a day to prep for a regimental strength Backfire raid. Of course it helps that Friedman was working for SecNav on precisely that at the time.

As an aside, I picked up my ebook copy ridiculously cheap (couple of pounds) in a recent Amazon sale, along with several other Friedmans. So worth keeping an eye open.
 
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