A-6 Intruders

The military aircraft A-6 Intruder, several seen here flying in formation, will be commemorated during a ceremony Friday, May 17 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center. (Contributed photo)

A piece of local military history will be commemorated during an upcoming ceremony.

Members of the A-6 Intruder Association will be unveiling an Intruder tribute at 10 a.m. Friday, May 17 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

Guest speakers for the ceremony include retired U.S. Navy Capt. and Intruder Association President T-Lad Webb; retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. and director of East Carolina Aviation Foundation Tom Braaten; Havelock Mayor Will Lewis; and retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Martin Post.

The Intruder tribute is a 9-foot tall black granite obelisk containing a four panel collage of laser etched Intruder photographs, graphics and general aircraft information.

The tribute educates visitors about the A-6 Intruder and the Intruder community, thereby preserving the legend of the Intruder.

The Havelock site was selected for having aviation interests, visitor and foot traffic in and around the Havelock Tourist and Event Center and the A-6 Intruder on static display nearby.

According to militarymachine.com., the A-6 intruder was introduced in 1963. It served as the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ all-weather attack aircraft through the 1990s.

In 1956, the Navy requested proposals for the aircraft design.

Boeing, Lockheed, Bell, Grumman, Douglas, Martin, Vought and North American submitted 11 designs for a two-seat, subsonic attack bomber.

The Navy requested side-by-side seating in order to increase workload in the cockpit. In 1958, the production for the aircraft started.

It had twin intakes toward the front of the aircraft, a rounded snout and streamlined back. Additionally, a refueling probe stuck out from the nose and was bent forward.

“The A-6 Intruder’s avionics system was ahead of its time, its bombing prowess was immediately noticed, and its side-by-side seating arrangement created a sense of camaraderie rarely seen in other aircraft,” the website reads.

In the cockpit, the pilot sat on the left and the bombardier/navigator sat on the right.

Bombardier/navigators were responsible for monitoring airspeed, power settings, rate of descent and altitude among others.

The side-by-side seating in the cockpit allowed easier communication and enhanced the crew’s effectiveness.

The A-6 Intruder was an all-weather aircraft, but due to its subsonic speeds just above treetop height, most missions were flown at night or in poor weather.

“Vietnamese MiGs (an aircraft) located enemy aircraft best in broad daylight. The Intruder stayed under enemy radar and hit targets, even small or moving ones, with precision,” the site reads.

The Intruder’s avionics system included forward looking infrared, laser targeting, low light level TV and moving target identification. It also had digital integrated attack and navigation equipment, which was considered the biggest advancement in its electronic hardware, which was essentially a bomb release tool.

“DIANE (as the equipment was called) could incorporate any speed, rate of climb, angle of dive, G force, wind or altitude and calculate the proper time to release a payload,” the website reads. “DIANE’s Vertical Display Indicator gave the pilot a representation of the horizon, sky, terrain, radar altitude and angle of attack. This tool allowed the A-6 to hug terrain, which gave it its low-level bombing prowess.”

Developments and versions of the A-6 continued to evolve. Versions went from the A-6A to A-6E and the Intruder eventually gave way to the electronic attack aircraft EA-6B Prowler.

Havelock is the fifth Intruder tribute location. The other four tribute sites are the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City in Long Island, N.Y., the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., and the Naval Aircraft Carrier Memorial Park in Virginia Beach, Va.

The A-6 Intruder Association, who is hosting the tribute, consists of a membership of Marine Corps and Navy A-6 aviators, maintenance personnel, civilians and other aviation individuals.

The Intruder Tribute is an Intruder Association Program with the goal of providing the history and legacy of the venerable A-6 Intruder.

Inquiries may be directed to Tom Blickensderfer at 252-447-1867 or via email at blickensderfer@ec.rr.com.

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