S-3 Viking

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The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a four seat jet aircraft that was used by the United States 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 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, SH-60 Seahawk, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. 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[1] and a single example is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Contents

Development

In the mid-1960s, the United States Navy developed the VSX (Heavier-than-air, Anti-submarine, Experimental) requirement for a replacement for the piston-engined Grumman S-2 Tracker as an anti-submarine aircraft to fly off the Navy's aircraft carriers. In August 1968, a team lead by Lockheed and a Convair/Grumman team were asked to further develop their proposals to meet this requirement.[2] Lockheed recognised that it had little recent experience in designing carrier based aircraft, so Ling-Temco-Vought (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 (nose) and F-8 Crusader (main). Sperry Univac Federal Systems was assigned the task of developing the aircraft's onboard computers which integrated input from sensors and sonobuoys.[3][4]

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