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S-3 Viking

S-3 Viking

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The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a four-seat twin-engine
Twinjet
A twinjet or twin jet is a jet aircraft powered by two engines. Such configuration of an aircraft is the most popular today for commercial airliners, for fighters, and many other kinds, because while offering safety from a single engine failure, it is also acceptably fuel-efficient.-Aircraft...

 jet aircraft
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

 that was used by the U.S. Navy to identify, track, and destroy enemy submarines. In the late 1990s, the S-3B's mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The Viking also provided electronic warfare and surface surveillance capabilities to the carrier battle group. A carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, multi-mission aircraft with long range, it carried automated weapon systems, and was capable of extended missions with in-flight refueling. Because of the engines’ low-pitched sound, it was nicknamed the "Hoover" after the vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaner
A vacuum cleaner, commonly referred to as a "vacuum," is a device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone for later disposal...

 brand.

The S-3 was retired from front-line fleet service aboard aircraft carriers by the US Navy in January 2009, with its missions being assumed by other platforms such as the P-3C Orion
P-3 Orion
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner. The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or...

, SH-60 Seahawk
SH-60 Seahawk
The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The most significant airframe modification is a hinged tail to reduce its footprint aboard ships.The...

, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft. The F/A-18E single-seat variant and F/A-18F tandem-seat variant are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air...

. Several examples continue to be flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron THREE ZERO (VX-30) at NAS Point Mugu, California for range clearance and surveillance operations and a single example is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

) at the NASA Glenn Research Center
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

.

Development


In the mid-1960s, the U.S. Navy developed the VSX (Heavier-than-air, Anti-submarine, Experimental) requirement for a replacement for the piston-engined Grumman
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, later Grumman Aerospace Corporation, was a leading 20th century U.S. producer of military and civilian aircraft...

 S-2 Tracker
S-2 Tracker
The Grumman S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare aircraft to enter service with the US Navy. The Tracker was of conventional design with twin engines, a high wing and tricycle undercarriage. The type was exported to a number of navies around the world...

 as an anti-submarine aircraft to fly off the Navy's aircraft carriers. In August 1968, a team led by Lockheed and a Convair
Convair
Convair was an American aircraft manufacturing company which later expanded into rockets and spacecraft. The company was formed in 1943 by the merger of Vultee Aircraft and Consolidated Aircraft, and went on to produce a number of pioneering aircraft, such as the Convair B-36 bomber, and the F-102...

/Grumman team were asked to further develop their proposals to meet this requirement. Lockheed recognised that it had little recent experience in designing carrier based aircraft, so Ling-Temco-Vought
Vought
Vought is the name of several related aerospace firms. These have included, in the past, Lewis and Vought Corporation, Chance Vought, Vought Sikorsky, LTV Aerospace , Vought Aircraft Companies, and the current Vought Aircraft Industries. The first incarnation of Vought was established by Chance M...

 (LTV) was brought into the team, being responsible for the folding wings and tail, the engine nacelles, and the landing gear, which was derived from A-7 Corsair II
A-7 Corsair II
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft introduced to replace the United States Navy's Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, initially entering service during the Vietnam War...

 (nose) and F-8 Crusader
F-8 Crusader
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, replacing the Vought F7U Cutlass...

 (main). Sperry Univac
UNIVAC
UNIVAC is the name of a business unit and division of the Remington Rand company formed by the 1950 purchase of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, founded four years earlier by ENIAC inventors J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, and the associated line of computers which continues to this day...

 Federal Systems was assigned the task of developing the aircraft's onboard computers which integrated input from sensors and sonobuoys.

On 4 August 1969, Lockheed's design was selected as the winner of the contest, and eight prototypes, designated YS-3A were ordered. The first prototype flew on 21 January 1972 and the S-3 entered service in 1974. During the production run from 1974 to 1978, a total of 186 S-3As were built. The majority of the surviving S-3As were later upgraded to the S-3B variant, with sixteen aircraft converted into ES-3A Shadow electronic intelligence (ELINT) collection aircraft.

ES-3A Shadow


The ES-3A Shadow was designed as a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, electronic reconnaissance (ELINT) aircraft. All 16 aircraft were modified S-3 Viking airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

s, which were modified with numerous additional antennas and antenna housings. The Shadow replaced the EA-3B Skywarrior
A-3 Skywarrior
The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was originally designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy and was among the longest serving carrier-based jet aircraft in history. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was retired in 1991...

, and entered fleet service in 1993.

The ES-3A carried an extensive suite of electronic sensors and communications gear, replacing the S-3’s submarine detection
Magnetic anomaly detector
A magnetic anomaly detector is an instrument used to detect minute variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The term refers specifically to magnetometers used by military forces to detect submarines ; the military MAD gear is a descendent of geomagnetic survey instruments used to search for...

, armament, and maritime surveillance equipment with avionics racks accommodating the ES-3A’s sensors. These modifications had minor impact on airspeed
Airspeed
Airspeed is the speed of an aircraft relative to the air. Among the common conventions for qualifying airspeed are: indicated airspeed , calibrated airspeed , true airspeed , equivalent airspeed and density airspeed....

, reducing its top rated speed from 450 KTAS to 405 KTAS but had no noticeable impact on the aircraft's range
Range (aircraft)
The maximal total range is the distance an aircraft can fly between takeoff and landing, as limited by fuel capacity in powered aircraft, or cross-country speed and environmental conditions in unpowered aircraft....

 and actually increased its rated loiter time. Because these aircraft were standoff indications and warnings platforms and were never intended to be part of an ingress strike package, this new speed limitation was considered insignificant.

Design


The S-3 is a conventional monoplane
Monoplane
A monoplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with one main set of wing surfaces, in contrast to a biplane or triplane. Since the late 1930s it has been the most common form for a fixed wing aircraft.-Types of monoplane:...

 with a high-mounted cantilever wing, swept at an angle of 15°. The two GE TF-34 high-bypass turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 engines mounted in nacelle
Nacelle
The nacelle is a cover housing that holds engines, fuel, or equipment on an aircraft. In some cases—for instance in the typical "Farman" type "pusher" aircraft, or the World War II-era P-38 Lightning—an aircraft's cockpit may also be housed in a nacelle, which essentially fills the...

s under the wings provide excellent fuel efficiency, giving the Viking the required long range and endurance, while maintaining docile engine-out characteristics.

The aircraft can seat four crew members, three officers and one enlisted aircrewman, with the pilot and the copilot/tactical coordinator (COTAC) in the front of the cockpit and the tactical coordinator (TACCO) and sensor operator (SENSO) in the back. Entry is by an entry door / ladder which folds out of the side of the fuselage. When the aircraft's anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role ended in the late 1990s, the enlisted SENSOs were removed from the crew. In the tanking crew configuration, the S-3B typically flew with only a crew of two (pilot and COTAC). The wing is fitted with leading edge and Fowler flaps
Flap (aircraft)
Flaps are normally hinged surfaces mounted on the trailing edges of the wings of a fixed-wing aircraft to reduce the speed an aircraft can be safely flown at and to increase the angle of descent for landing without increasing air speed. They shorten takeoff and landing distances as well as...

. Spoilers
Spoiler (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, a spoiler is a device intended to reduce lift in an aircraft. Spoilers are plates on the top surface of a wing which can be extended upward into the airflow and spoil it. By doing so, the spoiler creates a carefully controlled stall over the portion of the wing behind it, greatly...

 are fitted to both the upper and the lower surfaces of the wings. All control surfaces are actuated by dual hydraulically boosted irreversible systems. In the event of dual hydraulic failures, an Emergency Flight Control System (EFCS) permits manual control with greatly increased stick forces and reduced control authority.

Unlike many tactical jets which required ground service equipment, the S-3 was equipped with an auxiliary power unit
Auxiliary power unit
An auxiliary power unit is a device on a vehicle that provides energy for functions other than propulsion. They are commonly found on large aircraft, as well as some large land vehicles.-Function:...

 (APU) and capable of unassisted starts. The aircraft's original APU could provide only minimal electric power and pressurized air for both aircraft cooling and for the engines' pneumatic starters. A newer, more powerful APU could provide full electrical service to the aircraft. The APU itself was started from a hydraulic accumulator by pulling a mechanical handle in the cockpit. The APU accumulator was fed from the primary hydraulic system, but could also be pumped up manually (with much effort) from the cockpit.

All crew members sit on forward-facing, upward-firing Douglas Escapac zero-zero ejection seats. In "group eject" mode, initiating ejection from either front seat ejects the entire crew in sequence, with the back seats ejecting 0.5 seconds before the front in order to provide safe separation. The rear seats are capable of self ejection, and the ejection sequence includes a pyrotechnic charge that stows the rear keyboard trays out of the occupants' way immediately before ejection. Safe ejection requires the seats to be weighted in pairs, and when flying with a single crewman in the back the unoccupied seat is fitted with ballast blocks.
At the time it entered the fleet, the S-3 introduced an unprecedented level of systems integration. Previous ASW aircraft like the Lockheed P-3 Orion and S-3's predecessor, the Grumman S-2 Tracker, featured separate instrumentation and controls for each sensor system. Sensor operators often monitored paper traces, using mechanical calipers to make precise measurements and annotating data by writing on the scrolling paper. Beginning with the S-3, all sensor systems were integrated through a single General Purpose Digital Computer (GPDC). Each crew station had its own display, and the COTAC, TACCO and SENSO displays were Multi-Purpose Displays (MPD), capable of displaying data from any of a number of systems. This new level of integration allowed the crew to consult with each other by examining the same data at multiple stations simultaneously, to manage workload by assigning responsibility for a given sensor from one station to another, and to easily combine clues from each sensor to classify faint targets. Because of this, the four-man S-3 was considered roughly equivalent in capability to the much larger P-3 with a crew of 12.

The aircraft has two underwing hardpoints that can be used to carry fuel tanks, general purpose and cluster bombs, missiles, rockets, and storage pods. It also has four internal bomb bay stations that can be used to carry general purpose bombs, aerial torpedo
Aerial torpedo
The aerial torpedo, airborne torpedo or air-dropped torpedo is a naval weapon, the torpedo, designed to be dropped into water from an aircraft after which it propels itself to the target. First used in World War I, air-dropped torpedoes were used extensively in World War II, and remain in limited...

es, and special stores (B57 and B61 nuclear weapons). Fifty-nine sonobuoy
Sonobuoy
A sonobuoy is a relatively small expendable sonar system that is dropped/ejected from aircraft or ships conducting anti-submarine warfare or underwater acoustic research....

 chutes are fitted, as well as a dedicated Search and Rescue (SAR) chute. The S-3 is fitted with the ALE-39 countermeasure system and can carry up to 90 rounds of chaff
Chaff (radar countermeasure)
Chaff, originally called Window by the British, and Düppel by the Second World War era German Luftwaffe , is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of secondary...

, flares
Flare (pyrotechnic)
A flare, also sometimes called a fusee, is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light or intense heat without an explosion. Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications...

, and expendable jammers (or a combination of all) in three dispensers. A retractable magnetic anomaly detector
Magnetic anomaly detector
A magnetic anomaly detector is an instrument used to detect minute variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The term refers specifically to magnetometers used by military forces to detect submarines ; the military MAD gear is a descendent of geomagnetic survey instruments used to search for...

 (MAD) Boom is fitted in the tail.

In the late 1990s, the S-3B's role was changed from anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to anti-surface warfare (ASuW). At that time, the MAD Boom was removed, along with several hundred pounds of submarine detection electronics. With no remaining sonobuoy processing capability, most of the sonobuoy chutes were faired over with a blanking plate.

Operational history


On 20 February 1974, the S-3A officially became operational with the Air Antisubmarine Squadron FORTY-ONE (VS-41), the "Shamrocks," at NAS North Island, California, which served as the initial S-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets until a separate Atlantic Fleet FRS, VS-27, was established in the 1980s. The first operational cruise of the S-3A took place in 1975 with the VS-21 "Fighting Redtails" aboard .

Starting in 1987, some S-3As were upgraded to S-3B standard with the addition of a number of new sensors, avionics, and weapons systems, including the capability to launch the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

. The S-3B could also be fitted with "buddy stores" external fuel tanks that allowed the Viking to refuel other aircraft.In July 1988, VS-30 became the first fleet squadron to receive the enhanced capability Harpoon/ISAR equipped S-3B, based at NAS Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL. 16 S-3As were converted to ES-3A Shadows for carrier-based electronic intelligence (ELINT) duties. Six aircraft, designated US-3A, were converted for a specialized utility and limited cargo COD
Carrier onboard delivery
Carrier Onboard Delivery is a military term used to describe type of aircraft which are able to ferry personnel, mail, and high-priority cargo on and off a naval ship .-History:...

 requirement. Plans were also made to develop the KS-3A carrier-based tanker aircraft to replace the retired KA-6D Intruder
A-6 Intruder
The Grumman A-6 Intruder was an American, twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. In service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder was designed as an all-weather medium attack aircraft to replace the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider...

, but this program was ultimately cancelled after the conversion of just one early development S-3A.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the breakup of the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

, the Soviet-Russian submarine threat was perceived as much reduced, and the Vikings had the majority of their antisubmarine warfare equipment removed. The aircraft's mission subsequently changed to sea surface search, sea and ground attack, over-the-horizon targeting, and aircraft refueling. As a result, crews were typically limited to one Naval Aviator
Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

 in the pilot seat and one Naval Flight Officer
Naval Flight Officer
A Naval Flight Officer is an aeronautically designated commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps that specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. NFOs are not pilots per se, but they may perform many "co-pilot" functions, depending on the type of aircraft...

 (NFO) in the copilot's seat, although the addition of an additional crewmember in the TACCO seat was not unusual for certain missions. To reflect these new missions the Viking squadrons were redesignated from "Air Antisubmarine Warfare Squadrons" to "Sea Control Squadrons."

Prior to the aircraft's retirement from front-line fleet use aboard US aircraft carriers, a number of upgrade programs were implemented. These include the Carrier Airborne Inertial Navigation System II (CAINS II) upgrade, which replaced older inertial navigation hardware with ring laser gyroscope
Ring laser gyroscope
A ring laser gyroscope consists of a ring laser having two counter-propagating modes over the same path in order to detect rotation. It operates on the principle of the Sagnac effect which shifts the nulls of the internal standing wave pattern in response to angular rotation...

s and additional GPS systems, and added electronic flight instruments (EFI). The Maverick Plus System (MPS) added the capability to employ the AGM-65E laser-guided or AGM-65F infrared-guided AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-65 Maverick
The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile designed for close-air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities....

 air-to-surface missile, and the AGM-84H/K Stand-off Land Attack Missile Expanded Response
Standoff Land Attack Missile
The Standoff Land Attack Missile or SLAM is a subsonic, over-the-horizon, all-weather standoff cruise missile which grew out of the United States Navy's Harpoon anti-ship missile in the 1970s.-Original SLAM:...

 (SLAM/ER). The SLAM/ER is a GPS/inertial/infrared guided cruise missile derived from the AGM-84 Harpoon that can be controlled by the aircrew in the terminal phase of flight if an AWW-13 data link pod is carried by the aircraft.

The S-3B saw extensive service during the 1991 Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, performing attack, tanker, and ELINT duties, and launching ADM-141 TALD
ADM-141 TALD
The ADM-141A/B TALD was an American decoy missile originally built by Brunswick Corporation for the USAF and the Israeli Air Force. Later it transitioned to joint US/Israeli manufacture with Israeli Military Industries Advanced Systems Division ....

 decoys. The aircraft also participated in the Yugoslav wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 in the 1990s and in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.

The first ES-3A was delivered in 1991, entering service after two years of testing. The Navy established two squadrons of eight ES-3A aircraft each in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to provide detachments of typically two aircraft, ten officers, and 55 enlisted aircrew, maintenance and support personnel (which comprised/supported four complete aircrews) to deploying carrier air wings. The Pacific Fleet squadron, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FIVE (VQ-5), the "Sea Shadows," was originally based at the former NAS Agana
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport , also known as Guam International Airport, is an airport located in Tamuning and Barrigada, three miles east of the capital city of Hagåtña in the U.S. territory of Guam. It is named for Antonio Borja Won Pat, the first delegate from Guam to the United...

, Guam but later relocated to NAS North Island
Naval Air Station North Island
Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay and is the home port of several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy...

 in San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

 with the Pacific Fleet S-3 Viking squadrons when NAS Agana closed in 1995 as a result of a 1993 Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

 (BRAC) decision. The Atlantic Fleet squadron, the VQ-6 "Black Ravens," were originally based with all Atlantic Fleet S-3 Vikings at the former NAS Cecil Field
Naval Air Station Cecil Field
Naval Air Station Cecil Field or NAS Cecil Field was a United States Navy base, located in Duval County, Florida. NAS Cecil Field was the largest military base in the Jacksonville, Florida, area....

 in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

, but later moved to NAS Jacksonville
Naval Air Station Jacksonville
Naval Air Station Jacksonville or NAS Jacksonville is a military airport located four miles south of the central business district of Jacksonville...

, approximately 10 miles (16.1 km) to the east, when NAS Cecil Field was closed in 1999 as a result of a 1993 BRAC decision.

The ES-3A operated primarily with carrier battle group
Carrier battle group
A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together composing the group. The first naval task forces built around carriers appeared just prior to and during World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single...

s, providing organic ‘Indications and Warning’ support to the group and joint theater commanders. In addition to their warning and reconnaissance roles, and their extraordinarily stable handling characteristics and range, Shadows were a preferred recovery tanker (aircraft that provide refueling for returning aircraft). They averaged over 100 flight hours per month while deployed. Excessive utilization caused earlier than expected equipment replacement when Naval aviation funds were limited, making them an easy target for budget-driven decision makers. In 1999, both ES-3A squadrons and all 16 aircraft were decommissioned and the ES-3A inventory placed in Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

Though the S-3 was once considered being replaced by a proposed airframe known as the Common Support Aircraft
Common Support Aircraft
The Common Support Aircraft is a proposed concept, which has been considered by the United States Navy since at least the early 1990s, to replace a number of different fixed-wing aircraft capable of operating from an aircraft carrier and which serve a "support" function, with a single type of...

, this plan failed to materialize. As the surviving S-3 airframes were forced into sundown, a Lockheed Martin full scale fatigue test was performed and extended the service life of the aircraft by approximately 11,000 hours. This supported Navy plans to retire all Vikings from front-line Fleet service by 2009 so new strike fighter and multi-mission aircraft could be introduced to recapitalize the aging Fleet inventory, with former Viking missions assumed among other fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

Iraq War


In March 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, an S-3B Viking from Sea Control Squadron 38 (The "Red Griffins") launched from USS Constellation. The crew successfully executed a time sensitive strike and fired a laser-guided Maverick missile to neutralize a significant Iraqi naval and leadership target in the port city of Basra, Iraq.

This was one of the few times in its long and distinguished operational history that the S-3B Viking had been employed overland on an offensive combat air strike and the first time it launched a laser-guided Maverick missile in combat. The first time an S-3B was employed overland during an offensive air strike was during Operation Desert Storm
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 when an aircraft from Squadron VS-24, from the USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Theodore Roosevelt has been the name of more than one United States Navy ship, and may refer to:, troop transport in commission from 1918 to 1919, ballistic missile submarine in commission from 1961 to 1982, aircraft carrier in commission since 1986...

 (CVN-71), attacked an Iraqi Silkworm missile
Silkworm missile
The Shang Yo or SY-series , and the Hai Ying or HY-series were early Chinese anti-ship missiles. They were derived from the Soviet P-15 Termit missile.The HY-1 and HY-2 received the NATO reporting name Silkworm...

 site.

On 1 May 2003, US President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 flew in the co-pilot seat of a VS-35
VS-35
VS-35, Sea Control Squadron 35, known as the Blue Wolves was a carrier-based United States Navy squadron based out of Naval Air Station North Island in California. The squadron flew the Lockheed Lockheed S-3B Viking and their mission was mining, undersea and surface warfare, electronic...

 Viking from NAS North Island, California to off the California coast. There, he delivered his "Mission Accomplished" speech announcing the end of major combat in the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. During the flight, the aircraft used the customary presidential callsign of "Navy One
Navy One
Navy One is the call sign of any United States Navy aircraft carrying the President of the United States. There has only been one such aircraft: an S-3 Viking, BuNo 159387, assigned to the "Blue Wolves" of VS-35, which transported President George W. Bush to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln...

". The aircraft that President Bush flew in was retired shortly thereafter and on 15 July 2003 was accepted as an exhibit at the National Museum of Naval Aviation
National Museum of Naval Aviation
The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. The museum opened in 1962....

 in Pensacola, Florida.

Between July and December 2008 the VS-22 Checkmates, the last sea control squadron, operated a detachment of four S-3Bs from the Al Asad
Al Asad
Al Asad Airbase is the second largest US military airbase in Iraq and is located in the largely Sunni western Province of Iraq Al Anbar. It was formerly the home of the II Marine Expeditionary Force until January 2010...

 Air Base in Al Anbar Province, 180 miles (289.7 km) west of Baghdad. The planes were fitted with LANTIRN
LANTIRN
Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the USAF's premier fighter aircraft — the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon...

 pods and they performed non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance NTISR. After more than 350 missions, the Checkmates returned to NAS Jacksonville, Florida on 15 December 2008, prior to disestablishing on 29 January 2009.

Retirement


The final carrier based S-3B Squadron, VS-22 was decommissioned at NAS Jacksonville on 29 January 2009. Sea Control Wing Atlantic was decommissioned the following day on 30 January 2009, concurrent with the U.S. Navy retiring the last S-3B Viking from front-line Fleet service.

In June 2010 the first of three aircraft to patrol the Pacific Missile Test Center
Pacific Missile Test Center
Pacific Missile Test Center is the former name of the current Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division. The name of the center was the Naval Air Missile Test Center prior to PMTC. It is located at Naval Base Ventura County/Naval Air Station Point Mugu in Ventura County, California...

's range areas off of California was reactivated and delivered. The jet aircraft's higher speed, 10 hour endurance, modern radar, and a LANTIRN
LANTIRN
Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the USAF's premier fighter aircraft — the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon...

 targeting pod allow it to quickly confirm the test range is clear of wayward ships before tests commence. These S-3B are flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron THIRTY (VX-30) based out of NAS Point Mugu, CA.

Also, the NASA Glenn Research Center
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

 acquired four S-3B's in 2005. Since 2009, one of these aircraft (USN BuNo 160607) has also carried the civil registration N601NA and is used for various tests.

Variants





S-3A
First production version, 187 built.

S-3B
Upgraded avionics, AN/APS-137 inverse synthetic aperture radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar is a technique to generate a two-dimensional high resolution image of a target.ISAR technology utilizes the movement of the target rather than the emitter to create the synthetic aperture...

, Joint Tactical Information Distribution System
Joint Tactical Information Distribution System
The Joint Tactical Information Distribution System is an L band TDMA network radio system used by the United States armed forces and their allies to support data communications needs, principally in the air and missile defense community...

, AGM-84 Harpoon launch capability, first flight 13 September 1984, 119 converted from S-3As.

ES-3A Shadow
ELINT aircraft, AN/APS-137 inverse synthetic aperture radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar
Inverse synthetic aperture radar is a technique to generate a two-dimensional high resolution image of a target.ISAR technology utilizes the movement of the target rather than the emitter to create the synthetic aperture...

, first flight 15 May 1991, 16 converted from S-3A.

KS-3A
Proposed dedicated air tanker with fuel capacity of 4,382 US gal (16,600 l), one converted from YS-3A, later converted to US-3A.

KS-3B
Proposed air tanker based on S-3B and utilizing the buddy refueling system, not built.

US-3A
S-3A modified for carrier onboard delivery
Carrier onboard delivery
Carrier Onboard Delivery is a military term used to describe type of aircraft which are able to ferry personnel, mail, and high-priority cargo on and off a naval ship .-History:...

, capacity for six passengers or 4,680 lb (2,120 kg) of cargo, retired in 1998.

Alladin Viking
Conversion of six aircraft for overland surveillance and Elint missions. May have dropped ground sensors in the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

.

Beartrap Viking
S-3Bs fitted with still-classified modifications.

Callypso Viking
Proposed anti-smuggling
Smuggling
Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

 variant, not built.

Gray Wolf Viking
One aircraft fitted with AN/APG-76 radar in a modified cargo pod under the wing. Also dubbed SeaSTARS in reference to E-8 Joint STARS
E-8 Joint STARS
The Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is a battle management and command and control aircraft of the United States Air Force...

.

Orca Viking
Avionics testbed.

Outlaw Viking
One S-3B fitted with Over-the-horizon Airborne Sensor Information System
Over-the-horizon Airborne Sensor Information System
The Over-the-horizon Airborne Sensor Information System is an organic over the horizon sensor targeting and surveillance system originally produced by Texas Instruments and now by Raytheon....

 (OASIS III), returned to regular S-3B in 1998. This particular Viking is now on display at the USS Midway Museum, located on the decommissioned USS Midway (CV-41)
USS Midway (CV-41)
USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II...

.

NASA Viking
One aircraft was transformed into a state-of-the-art NASA research aircraft. The Navy's Fleet Readiness Center - Southeast and a Boeing facility in Fla. enhanced the plane by adding commercial satellite communications, global positioning navigation and weather radar systems. They installed research equipment racks in what was once the plane's bomb bay. NASA's S-3B Viking is equipped to conduct science and aeronautics missions, such as environmental monitoring, satellite communications testing and aviation safety research.

S-3 Aircraft on display

  • National Museum of Naval Aviation
    National Museum of Naval Aviation
    The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. The museum opened in 1962....

    , NAS Pensacola, Florida
  • NAS Jacksonville, Florida
  • NAS North Island, California
  • NAS Patuxent River, Maryland
  • Pima Air and Space Museum (adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB), Tucson, Arizona
    Tucson, Arizona
    Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

     at the Patriot's Point
    Patriot's Point
    Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, at the mouth of the Cooper River on the Charleston Harbor, across from Charleston.-Museum ships and exhibits:...

     Naval and Maritime Museum, Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

     at the former NAS Alameda in Alameda, California
    Alameda, California
    Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Farm Island portion of the city is adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. At the 2010 census, the city had a...

     in San Diego, California
    San Diego, California
    San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

  • Marietta Aviation Museum in Marietta, Georgia
    Marietta, Georgia
    Marietta is a city located in central Cobb County, Georgia, United States, and is its county seat.As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 56,579, making it one of metro Atlanta's largest suburbs...


Specifications (S-3A)



See also


External links