The scientific tourist #369 — A-6E Intruder

On display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, it’s a Grumman A-6E Intruder:

Grumman A-6E Intruder

The A-6 was a twin-engine subsonic carrier-based attack aircraft — in service in one form or another between 1963 and 1997.  Cutting its proverbial teeth in the Vietnam War, what the A-6 lacked in speed it made up for with range and load capability (still unmatched by its replacements).

Intruders are easy to identify, courtesy of their wide cockpit, which hosted a pilot on the left (as seen facing forward) and bombardier / navigator on the right — this arrangement allowed for all-weather flight.  The aircraft’s bulbous nose and slim tail also resulted in a number of distinctive nicknames for the design, including “Drumstick” and “Iron Tadpole.”

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