Osprey's A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96

Author:

Rick Morgan

Publisher/Distributor

Osprey Publishing

Price

$23.00 MSRP

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 96 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1877-5

Watching how military aircraft evolve is something that many enthusiasts enjoy. A case in point are bombers/attack aircraft. These planes are designed to carry a lot of ordnance with bombers generally being high altitude aircraft and attack planes being the ones that get down a lot closer to the ground.

With the advent of WWII, attack planes became larger and larger, eventually becoming the size of a medium bomber. One only has to look at the A-20 and A-26 to see this. Even the A-26 was later redesignated B-26 after the Marauder was out of service.

Fast forward to the 1960s and the Navy. On carriers, there was the A-3 for the heavy attack role, the A-4 and later A-7 for light attack and the A-6 for medium attack. It was soon realized that there was no actual need for a heavy attack aircraft and the Skywarrior evolved to tanker and electronic warfare. This left light and medium attack. Both served very well in the 60s/70s/80s, but by the time the 1990s came around, Naval air wings were reducing the number of types on board.

Soon light attack went away as current fighters, the F-18 was able to take over that mission. While not able to carry the ordnance of the A-6, the Hornet and later Super Hornet were also able to do much of what the Intruder could and there was some commonality of parts in the Hornet twins. As such, though still a very capable airframe, a political decision was made to retire the A-6, despite millions being spent on upgrades (like new wings) that were never installed. This was seen by many as a real shame as some of the newer airframes were less than 6 years old when they were scrapped or tossed into the ocean to make artificial reefs.

This book is the story of the Intruder as it served post-Vietnam in various conflicts in Grenada, Lybia, and the middle east. There are the requisite pilot stories and a ton of really great photos and profiles. There is also a section on things under wings and tables that include the rather large number of units who flew it. It makes for an excellent book to go along with Osprey's books on similar aircraft and a must have for the Intruder fan. Highly recommended.

August 2017

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