S-3 Viking

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The S-3 Viking is a carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft. It first came into service in 1974.

S-3 in flight.jpg
Two S-3s in flight.jpg
S-3 on deck.jpg


With nuclear-armed Russian submarines an increasing threat in the 1960s, the Navy decided it was high priority to acquire a reliable, modern anti-submarine aircraft to replace the aging S-2 Trackers. The new aircraft had to carry "more bombs farther." Many companies, including Grumman, McDonnell Douglas, and Lockheed built prototypes.

Lockheed was awarded the contract in 1969 in coalition with Vought and Univac. The Lockheed company was to build the fueslage, while Vought designed the engines, landing gear, and the folding wings and tail. Univac was responsible for the powerful onboard computer.


On February 20, 1974 the aircraft first equipped VS-41 aboard the John F. Kennedy (CVN-67). In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many S-3s were modified to become tanker aircraft and transport planes. During the first Gulf War, they were useful as tankers, transports, and scout aircraft. However, one airplane launched a Maverick laser-guided missile, destroying an Iraqi target, the only instance where an S-3 was used in combat.[1]

"Navy One"

On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush rode in an S-3 to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), the only aircraft ever to use the callsign "Navy One." The aircraft was piloted by Commander John "Skip" Lussier, the commander of VS-35.


The last S-3 will be replaced in 2009.



The S-3A was the first service aircraft; 186 were built.


The S-3B had upgraded computers, upgraded radar, and was modified to launch AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.

ES-3 Shadow

The ES-3 was an electronic warfare aircraft; 16 S-3A aircraft were converted.


The US-3A was a carrier transport and tanker, retired in 1998.

NASA Viking

One S-3B was modified by NASA to carry GPS, research equipment, and satellite communications for research.


Type Anti-submarine aircraft
Contractor Lockheed
Power plant Two TF34-GE2 General Electric 9,275 turbofans
Length 53 feet, 4 inches
Height 22 feet, 9 inches
Speed 518 miles per hour
Wingspan 68 feet, 8 inches
Empty weight 26,650 pounds
Crew Four
Range Unrefueled 2,300 miles
Maximum Weight 52,539 pounds
Armament Assorted weapons including Mark 82, 83, and 84 bombs, B57 nuclear bombs, Mark 50 and 48 torpedoes, mines, and depth charges. Up to 62 sonobuoys.