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.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
✓Aerial Refueling (Tanker)
Dedicated or converted airframe used to deliver fuel to awaiting allied aircraft.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
53.3 ft (16.26 m)
68.7 ft (20.93 m)
22.7 ft (6.93 m)
26,649 lb (12,088 kg)
52,541 lb (23,832 kg)
+25,891 lb (+11,744 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Lockheed / Vought S-3A Viking production variant)
2 x General Electric TF-34-GE-2 turbofan engines developing 9,275 lb of thrust each.
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.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2 (S-3B only)
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.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (506mph).
Graph average of 563 miles-per-hour.
Lockheed / Vought S-3A Viking operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (280)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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