Intruder Outbound by William S. Phillips
The image is bright and clear: an A-6 Intruder jet aircraft taking off from the deck of USS Enterprise. But the story behind this aviation art is one of consummate courage in the face of incredible a...
The A-6E Intruder was an all-weather, two seat, subsonic, carrier-based attack aircraft. It was equipped with a microminiaturized digital computer, a solid state weapons release system, and a single, integrated track and search radar. The target recognition/attack multi-sensor (TRAM) version of the A-6E was introduced to the fleet in 1979. It was equipped with a chin turret containing a forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) system and a laser designator and receiver.
The A-6E proved once again that it was the best all-weather precision bomber in the world in the joint strike on Libyan terrorist-related targets in 1986. With Air Force FB-111s, A-6E Intruders penetrated the sophisticated Libyan air defense systems, which had been alerted by the high level of diplomatic tension and by rumors of impending attacks. Evading over 100 guided missiles, the strike force flew at low levels in complete darkness, and accurately delivered laser-guided and other ordnance on target. The A-6E has since been retired from the Navy and Marine Corps, being replaced by the F/A-18 Hornet.