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Curator's Choice Video Collection

Cradle of Aviation Museum Historian and Curator, Josh Stoff, curates interesting short YouTube videos and provides commentary.

Virtual Museum Home > Curator's Choice > Flight of The Intruder

Flight of The Intruder
YouTube Channel: Movieclips, posted March 2, 2012

The formidable A-6 Intruder was an all-weather Naval carrier-based attack aircraft manufactured by Grumman in Bethpage and Calverton. It was developed in the late 1950s as a successor for earlier types of attack aircraft and was designed as a long-range strike aircraft able to carry a wide variety and large amount of ordnance. Operated by a crew of two, the Intruder was placed into service in 1960 with multiple variants, improved models and electronic warfare versions introduced over the next several decades. The Intruder saw extensive use as a bomber in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s and was deployed in conflicts through the various Gulf and Mideast wars until the early 21st century. Remarkably, the type remained in service from 1960 through 2019. A total of 913 were produced for the Navy and Marine Corps in nine different models.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum has an original Grumman Intruder on exhibit in its Hanger 2 Annex. The museum exhibits a rare ‘F’ model A-6, designed in the mid-1980s with new electronics, more powerful engines and greater ordnance capacity. The Navy ultimately decided not to proceed with this version, thus the Cradle’s A-6 is basically a brand new aircraft with only 2 ½ hours of flight time on it. 

Flight of the Intruder was a 1991 war film starring Danny Glover and William Dafoe. Generally, the film received negative reviews and fared poorly at the box office. The story was downright silly with just awful special effects. However, the film was made with the complete cooperation of the Navy and much was filmed during flight operations aboard the USS Independence. The highlights of the film (for us) are the beautiful shots of Intruder carrier operations, a sight never to be seen again as the type is now retired from service. During the Vietnam War the phrase “going downtown” was used by pilots when referring to an attack directly on Hanoi city.

So let's get ready to ‘go downtown’ with the workhorse Grumman Intruder.