By Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time IV

This was one of the last illustrations cut from Strike from the Sea to make the limit. Provided by the Grumman Historical Center, it depicts a single-seat A-6 providing close air support to the Marines. The proposal was in response to a 1962 Navy requirement to replace the single-seat Douglas A-1 (AD) Skyraider. (The two-seat A-6 had replaced the A-1G (AD-5N) night attack variant.) Also see http://thanlont.blogspot.com/2008/08/single-seat-6.html

Unfortunately, the Navy had in mind not only a variant of an existing aircraft, but one powered by a single TF30 turbofan engine, which not coincidentally at the time was also the basic powerplant for the nascent Grumman/General Dynamics F-111B. Grumman management was forced to choose between full compliance, a TF30-powered F-11 (F11F) Tiger—don't scoff, the winner of the competition was Vought's proposal, which closely resembled the Vought F-8 (F8U) Crusader)—and a proposal that they hoped the Navy would realize was a better deal than an all-but-new design powered by a new engine. They were wrong, although their Attack Tiger would probably have lost to Vought's excellent proposal anyway, as did Douglas' proposal of an A-4 (A4D) Skyhawk on steroids. For more, see chapter nine in my book on U.S. Navy attack aircraft, Strike from the Sea.

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