The Intruder is a medium-attack, all weather day-night carrier-based combat aircraft. Its first flight (prototype YA-2F1 BuNo 147864) was on 16 April 1960. The Navy's designation of the Intruder was changed from the A-2F to the A-6A in October 1962. First fleet delivery of the A-6A was to VA-42, the Atlantic Fleet Replacement Air Group in February 1963. First operational fleet squadron was VA-75 with the first West Pac cruise onboard the USS Independence in May 1965. First flight of the A-6E, a refitted A-6A, was on 27 February 1970 and 240 A-6A's were eventually converted. When the production of the A-6A stopped in December 1970, the Intruder was serving in 14 Navy and 6 Marine squadrons and some 488 aircraft had been produced. The first new production A-6E was accepted by the Navy in September 1971 and first operational fleet squadron (VA-85) started accepting their aircraft in December 1971. As of this writing, February 1995, Intruder fleet squadrons are still operational; however, a phase out is planned. Testing of the Intruder started at Patuxent River in the early 1960's and continues today.
Our display aircraft, NA-6E BuNo 156997 (Salty Dog #500), was built as an A-6A and accepted into the Navy's inventory on 30 January 1970. It served in a succession of fleet squadrons: VA-145, VA-128, VA-52, and VA-95 through 1976. It then went through the A-6A to A-6E update conversion program at Grumman and once again returned to the fleet, this time to VA-35. In March 1979, it returned to Grumman for the installation of the Target Recognition Attack Multisensor system. It spent the next 5 years at VX-5 involved in system operational evaluations. Salty Dog #500 arrived at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, in October 184 and was involved in system test and evaluation work since that time. First, a news prototype fuel indicating system was installed and evaluated. From 1986 through 1993, the aircraft was highly instrumented and Night Attack Technologies involving "Night Sensors." Predictive Ground Proximity Warning and "Passive Terrain Navigation" were demonstrated and evaluated. Its final flight was on 29 July 1993 having accumulated 4,789 flight-hours and 6,287 landings, 787of them, aircraft carrier arrestments. Salty Dog #500 joined our Naval Air Test and Evaluation Museum aircraft stable in April 1995.