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A-6 Intruder ordnance in Gulf War


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Hello,

I've been searching here on and off for a while, but never quite settled my mind about what combinations of ordnance are acceptable/probable for A-6 TRAMs with either VA-35 (Saratoga) or VMA-533 (Bahrain) during Desert Storm. I'm aware of the tables at dstorm.eu, which are some help but presumably not a full representation of options. There seems to be little other info.

I have Eduard GBU-16s which would go to waste if I don't use them; but if they are OK, what can I match them with?
A pair of MERs filled with Rockeyes would be expensive, so is a smaller number of Rockeyes and/or Mk.82SE acceptable?
What, if any, asymmetric loadouts are there?
Most of the kit’s (HB) parts are not brilliant, but there’s what looks like an AGM-84E which is not bad. Was that ever used?

 

Thank you if you can make this clearer. I don't find decisions easy when they involve (a) accuracy and (b) my wallet.

Edited by Ade H
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I believe that VMA(AW)-533 A-6 Intruders would have an MER on stations one and five with Mk20, Mk82 or Mk82 Snakeye  . Station two would be a GBU-12 500lb LGB, station three would be a drop tank and station four an AGM-45 Shrike ARM.  

 

 

 

VA-35 A-6E pic from the second night of the war after a SAM hit.

 

 The AGM-84E SLAM was used by VA-75 during Desert Storm .

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Those noted above are just a couple of several ordnance configurations for 224 and 533. 

 

I can't speak for the Navy Intruders, but for the two Marine squadrons at Sheik Isa, these are just a few

 

8 x Mk-77 (2 per MER on the centerline) and a centerline tank

 

22 x Mk-20 Rockeye (6 per outboard MER, 5 per inboard MER), centerline tank

 

22 x Mk-82 (same as above)

 

4 x Mk-77 (2 per outboard MER on centerline), 1 x GBU-12 on station 2, 1 x AGM-45 on station 4, centerline tank

 

8 x CBU-72 FAE (4 per outboard MER, slant loaded), three fuel tanks

 

4 x LAU-10 (2 per outboard TER, slant loaded), 1 x GBU-16 on station 4, 1 x AIM-9M on station 2, centerline tank

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So, does that mean that GBU-16s were rarely mounted and never more than one? Is that a weight issue, meaning that GBU-12s were more common?

Were LGBs never mixed with dumb bombs, other than the Rockeye?

I do like the idea of LAU-10s, but they seem only to have been carried via TERs, and I can't find an aftermarket TER (1:48). None in the box. The same is true of the AGM-45: I'd be keen on a mixed bomb/missile load, but almost all of the suitable missiles are not available.

 

BTW, I just totted up what Dave Roof's second example would cost me in resin: £52!

 

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44 minutes ago, Ade H said:

So, does that mean that GBU-16s were rarely mounted and never more than one? Is that a weight issue, meaning that GBU-12s were more common?

Were LGBs never mixed with dumb bombs, other than the Rockeye?

I do like the idea of LAU-10s, but they seem only to have been carried via TERs, and I can't find an aftermarket TER (1:48). None in the box. The same is true of the AGM-45: I'd be keen on a mixed bomb/missile load, but almost all of the suitable missiles are not available.

 

BTW, I just totted up what Dave Roof's second example would cost me in resin: £52!

 

 

I couldn't sat with 100% certainty how many GBU-16 were carried at once, but I can easily find out as I know several of the Marines that were with both squadrons during ODS. GBU-12 were carried with Mk-82 and the configuration was almost always 12 x Mk-82 (6 per MER on stations 1 and 5), GBU-12 on station 2, centerline tank on 3 and an AN/ALQ-167 on station 4.

 

1/48 TER's are available from Eduard and are pretty nice, as are the AGM-45. Both are currently in stock at Hannant's at the moment as well. 

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Here is a VA-35 A-6 about to go out on a Surface Combat Air Patrol:

1280px-A-6E_of_VA-35_on_cat_of_USS_Sarat

Note it has a light load of what looks like a single Mk-82 on the aft bottom racks of the MERs on the outboard pylons. Also you can barely make out the fins of a LGB, either a GBU-12 or GBU-16, on the inboard pylon. The load was light enough that if no target was found, the plane could land back on the carrier with the bombs still on. Other loads had Rockeyes instead of Mk-82s and a AGM-123 Skipper as the LGB.

Edit: Here are a couple of Skippers:

c.jpg

Jari

Edited by Finn
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I think that the VA-35 A-6 is on a strike mission, that looks like a Mk83 on the MER which would be a large weapon for a surface patrol mission.

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16 hours ago, Finn said:

Here is a VA-35 A-6 about to go out on a Surface Combat Air Patrol:

1280px-A-6E_of_VA-35_on_cat_of_USS_Sarat

Note it has a light load of what looks like a single Mk-82 on the aft bottom racks of the MERs on the outboard pylons. Also you can barely make out the fins of a LGB, either a GBU-12 or GBU-16, on the inboard pylon. The load was light enough that if no target was found, the plane could land back on the carrier with the bombs still on. Other loads had Rockeyes instead of Mk-82s and a AGM-123 Skipper as the LGB.

 

Jari

If I may make a correction, the above pic shows a VA-35 A-6E being launched off of Cat 4 on the USS Saratoga for a strike mission during Operation Desert Storm. It is loaded with 6 x Mk 83 (3 on each MER) and 2 x GBU-16's. VA-35's SUCAP (Surface Unit Combat Air Patrol) loadout was usually (IIRC) 4 x Mk 20 Rockeyes and 1 x AGM-84 Harpoon during the Desert Storm cruise. VA-35 did not use the AGM-123 during D/S to my knowledge (I never saw one come up on deck and I was working 18 hours a day on the roof during the war).

 

Also, I don't recall the Alert SUCAP's ever being launched during the day, the Alert 5 fighters were another story.

 

/r

GW

Edited by GW8345
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Posted (edited)
On 6/28/2020 at 12:47 PM, Stephen said:

I believe that VMA(AW)-533 A-6 Intruders would have an MER on stations one and five with Mk20, Mk82 or Mk82 Snakeye. Station two would be a GBU-12 500lb LGB, station three would be a drop tank and station four an AGM-45 Shrike ARM.

 

Were Mk82s and Mk20s ever mixed, ie. one type on each station? Probably not, I imagine; but I'm thinking about the problems of quantities vs. value for money (only six of each type in Eduard's sets).

 

23 hours ago, Dave Roof said:

1/48 TER's are available from Eduard and are pretty nice, as are the AGM-45. Both are currently in stock at Hannant's at the moment as well.

 

Ah, interesting. I was searching at Creative Models as I needed some other items and had no luck there. I opted for what was available and bought some MERs and Rockeyes (not enough to fill two stations, but maybe they would look good on a scratch-built trolley... More research to do.)

 

Thanks to everyone for your input.

Edited by Ade H
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1 hour ago, Ade H said:

 

Were Mk82s and Mk20s ever mixed, ie. one type on each station? Probably not, I imagine; but I'm thinking about the problems of quantities vs. value for money (only six of each type in Eduard's sets).

 

 

Ah, interesting. I was searching at Creative Models as I needed some other items and had no luck there. I opted for what was available and bought some MERs and Rockeyes (not enough to fill two stations, but maybe they would look good on a scratch-built trolley... More research to do.)

 

Thanks to everyone for your input.

 

Just an FYI, the Eduard MER's are a scale foot too short. The real racks are 13 feet long and Eduard's scale out to 12 foot. Because of this, none of their ordnance fits correctly when attached to them. By that I mean you can't load one of their MER's with 6 Rockeye, Mk-82, etc. 

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On 6/28/2020 at 12:13 PM, Dave Roof said:

 

 

 

8 x CBU-72 FAE (4 per outboard MER, slant loaded), three fuel tanks

 

 

One of my flight school instructors was a USMC A-6 BN (actually there were about 4-5 of them). We had a long night of beers and he told me the night he went out and dropped a max load of FAE in DS1. Said he was down in the hood watching on the FLIR when the pilot was screaming Holy Sh/t, he popped his head up and said he could have read a newspaper in the cockpit the FAE going off was so bright.  He preferred dropping ROCKEYE or LGBs (he said that wasn’t as often). 

Cheers

Collin

 

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3 hours ago, GW8345 said:

If I may make a correction, the above pic shows a VA-35 A-6E being launched off of Cat 4 on the USS Saratoga for a strike mission during Operation Desert Storm. It is loaded with 6 x Mk 83 (3 on each MER) and 2 x GBU-16's. VA-35's SUCAP (Surface Unit Combat Air Patrol) loadout was usually (IIRC) 4 x Mk 20 Rockeyes and 1 x AGM-84 Harpoon during the Desert Storm cruise. VA-35 did not use the AGM-123 during D/S to my knowledge (I never saw one come up on deck and I was working 18 hours a day on the roof during the war).

 

Also, I don't recall the Alert SUCAP's ever being launched during the day, the Alert 5 fighters were another story.

 

/r

GW

Good info. My NAVAIR buddy carried Skipper over on Ranger during DS1 SUCAP flights. Said it sucked because its chance of lighting off was a complete crapshoot. 

 

Cheers

Collin

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11 hours ago, Collin said:

Good info. My NAVAIR buddy carried Skipper over on Ranger during DS1 SUCAP flights. Said it sucked because its chance of lighting off was a complete crapshoot. 

 

Cheers

Collin

 

Yeah, I'm in a group for Ordnanceman on FB and the general consensus is that Skipper wasn't that great. We built several during ODS in the first couple weeks, but they didn't perform well and we concentrated on conical fins, BSU-85 and GBU-16 for the rest of the war.

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19 hours ago, Dave Roof said:

 

Just an FYI, the Eduard MER's are a scale foot too short. The real racks are 13 feet long and Eduard's scale out to 12 foot. Because of this, none of their ordnance fits correctly when attached to them. By that I mean you can't load one of their MER's with 6 Rockeye, Mk-82, etc. 

 

Bad news, but thanks for letting me know, Dave. It gives me a very legitimate reason to return them.

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