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S-3 Viking Lockheed
S-3 Viking
Anti-Submarine Plane

The S-3 was built to provide anti-submarine protection for US aircraft carrier battle groups. Despite its relatively large wingspan, the Viking is an incredibly compact aircraft housing four crewman, state-of-the-art data-processing computers, a magnetic-anomaly detector, a high-resolution search radar, a FLIR system, and 60 sonobuoys. Most of the Vikings built were later upgraded to the S-3B standard with improved ESM equipment, a new sonobuoy system, and the ability to carry two Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Those few S-3As not upgraded were converted to US-3A transport aircraft ferrying supplies from shore. As the submarine threat subsided with the end of the Cold War, the S-3 fleet was adapted for other attack roles including bombing land targets. A specialized electronic intelligence model, the ES-3A Shadow, was also developed though is no longer in use. The S-3 Viking is gradually disappearing from use and is due to be removed from service by 2009. Several of the retired aircraft have been offered to NASA for flight research and for sale to foreign nations.

Data below for S-3B
Last modified 18 September 2009

First Flight (YS-3A) 21 January 1972
Service Entry

20 February 1974

Retirement (ES-3A) 1999


four: pilot, copilot/tactical coordinator (COTAC), tactical coordinator (TACCO), sensor operator (SENSO)


$27 million

Wing Root NACA 63-317 mod
Wing Tip NACA 64-712 mod

Length 53.33 ft (16.26 m)
Wingspan 68.67 ft (20.93 m)
Height 22.75 ft (6.93 m)
Wing Area 598 ft (55.56 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 26,650 lb (12,090 kg)
Normal Takeoff 42,500 lb (19,280 kg)
Max Takeoff 52,540 lb (23,830 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 13,145 lb (5,960 kg)
external: 4,080 lb (1,850 kg) in two 300 gal (1,135 L) tanks
Max Payload

2,000 lb (905 kg) internal load
2,900 lb (1,315 kg) external load

Powerplant two General Electric TF24-2 or TF34-400 turbofans
Thrust 18,550 lb (82.52 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 425 mph (685 km/h)
at sea level: 505 mph (815 km/h)
loiter speed: 185 mph (295 km/h)
Initial Climb Rate 4,200 ft (1,280 m) / min
Service Ceiling 35,000 ft (10,670 m)
Range typical: 2,000 nm (3,705 km)
ferry: 3,000 nm (5,560 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun none
Stations four hardpoints in two internal weapons bays and two external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile none
Air-to-Surface Missile two AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-65 Maverick
Bomb up to twelve Mk 82 GP, Mk 84 GP, up to two B-57 nuclear, cluster bombs
Other up to six Mk 54/57 depth charges, up to four Mk 46 ASW torpedoes, up to six Mk 53 sea mines, Mk 36 destructors, up to 60 sonobouys, rocket pods, wingtip ECM pods

YS-3A Prototype
S-3A Production anti-submarine warfare model; 179 built
S-3B Upgraded S-3A with new ESM and sonobouy systems; 160 converted
US-3A COD transport aircraft; 6 converted for US Navy
KS-3A Aerial refueling model, not purchased by the Navy; 1 built
ES-3A Shadow

Electronic intelligence gathering aircraft distinguished by many antennae and an enlarged fuselage; 16 converted from S-3A

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD: Bosnia - Operation Deliberate Force (USN, 1995)
Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom (USN, 2001-?)
Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom (USN, 2003-?)

Philippines (US-3A)


S-3 Viking

  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 348.
  • Bonds, Ray, ed. The Modern US War Machine: An Encyclopedia of American Military Equipment and Strategy. NY: Military Press, 1987, p. 190-191.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 585.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 144-145.
  • Navy S-3B Fact Sheet

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