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Lockheed / Vought S-3 Viking

Naval Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Aerial Tanker Aircraft

The Lockheed-Vought S-3 Viking series was the first digitally-minded Anti-Submarine Warfare platform adopted for service with the United States Navy.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 10/19/2018
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Year: 1974
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Manufacturer(s): Lockheed / Vought - USA
Production: 280
Capabilities: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW); Anti-Ship; Navy/Maritime; Aerial Refueling; Reconnaissance (RECCE);
Crew: 4
Length: 53.35 ft (16.26 m)
Width: 68.67 ft (20.93 m)
Height: 22.74 ft (6.93 m)
Weight (Empty): 26,649 lb (12,088 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 52,541 lb (23,832 kg)
Power: 2 x General Electric TF-34-GE-2 turbofan engines developing 9,275 lb of thrust each.
Speed: 506 mph (814 kph; 440 kts)
Ceiling: 35,007 feet (10,670 m; 6.63 miles)
Range: 2,302 miles (3,705 km; 2,001 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 4,200 ft/min (1,280 m/min)
Operators: United States
The S-3 Viking series of carrier-borne aircraft was a joint production effort from the Lockheed and Vought aircraft firms. Selected from no fewer than five proposals from various other companies an including the two aforementioned firms, the S-3 was designed to a United States Navy requirement for an anti-submarine aircraft platform built around the then-powerful Univac digital computer. The system was a direct result of the ever elusive new generation of Soviet submarines constantly testing the waters in an around the United States. The Viking would go on to become the Navy's most advanced and all-computerized aircraft at the time.

By 1972, the YS-3A was developed into eight service evaluation models. Vought's contribution to the overall aircraft was in the production of the wing elements, tail assembly, engine nacelles and the landing gears system. The resulting aircraft was a highly-identifiable high-shoulder mounted wing design with the two large General Electric turbofans hung underneath. Crew accommodations amounted to a total of four and included a pilot, copilot, sensor systems operator and the tactical coordinator. A single large rudder was fixed atop the tail assembly. An internal weapons bay provided storage for up to four torpedoes, bombs and mines.

Upgrades to the base S-3A system eventually produced the standardized S-3B, fitted with updated acoustic processing, newer sonorbouy system, improved radar and the ability to mount, target and fire the powerful AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile system on two new external hardpoints to compliment the internally-held stores. Most all existing "A" models were now modernized to the "B" standard. B-models were field by 1984.

With the need for such a dedicated anti-submarine system diminished on the new modern battlefield, the S-3 system has be relegated to "buddy" tanking services. As such, fewer and fewer S-3 systems are kept aboard carrier groups these days, though the system itself is intended to be fielded up through 2015. An electronic warfare conversion model exists as the ES-3A "Shadow" Elint as well.


Internal Weapons Bay cleared for the carrying of 4 x Torpedoes OR 4 x Mk 36 Destructors OR 4 x Mk 82 Drop Bombs OR 4 x Mk 53 Naval Mines

Underwing Hardpoints (S-3B only) for 2 x Torpedoes OR 2 x AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles OR 2 x AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles OR 2 x Rocket Pods.

Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

Variants / Models

• YS-3A - Service Evaluation Models of which eight were produced.
• S-3A - Initial Production Variant of which 187 were produced.
• S-3B - Improved S-3A model set as "standard" by 1984; ability to field and fire the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile; most all existing S-3A models were coverted to B level.
• US-3A - USN model operated as Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) sans anti-submarine warfare equipment; four utilized in this fashion.
• KS-3A - Single dedicated tanker variant (evaluation model only).
• ES-3A "Shadow" Elint - Electronic Warfare Variant.
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