By Tommy H. Thomason

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Single-Seat A-6

The Navy's VA(L) was to be a single-seat, single-engine attack airplane with an overload mission of 12 Mk 81 (500-lb) Snakeye bombs delivered at a radius of 600 nautical miles. Another key requirement was that it be "a modification of an airplane currently in the Navy inventory." The payload/range favored the use of the Navy's new TF30 engine.

Grumman considered proposing either a TF30-powered F11F or a single-seat modification of its A-6 Intruder with a single seat but the existing engines. The latter's size enabled it to easily exceed the payload/range requirement even though it did not have the fuel-efficient turbofan engine. Grumman decided to offer the A-6 derivative, believing that the low development cost and commonality with an existing airplane in the air group would trump the somewhat higher unit cost. Also see

It didn't.

Douglas proposed a supersized version of its A4D.

North American did the same with its FJ-4.

Vought won the VA(L) competition with an F8U Crusader derivative with an even more creative interpretation of the "modification" requirement than Douglas or North American proposed.

For a last minute change in the Vought proposal, see


SpaceRanger said...

I didn't think the A-6 could be made to look any uglier, but there's proof it could!

Mark Corbin said...

Yeah, uuummmm MK 81 bombs were only 250 pounds, MK 82s however, are 500 pounds.