Lockheed S-3 Viking

TypeAnti-submarine aircraft
Country of originUnited States
ManufacturerLockheed Corporation
First flight21 January 1972
Numbers built187
Unit costsUS$27 million (in 1974)
Max speedMaximum speed: 429 kn (493 mph, 795 km/h) at sea level
Mach 0.79, 450 kn (514 mph, 828 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
Cruise speed: 350 kn (405 mph, 650 km/h)
Stall speed: 97 kn (112 mph, 180 km/h)
Max rangeCombat radius: 2,765 nm (3,182 mi, 5,121 km)
Service ceiling: 40,900 ft (12,465 m)
DimensionsLength: 53 ft 4 in (16.26 m)
Unfolded: 68 ft 8 in (20.93 m)
Folded: 29 ft 6 in (9.00 m)
Height: 22 ft 9 in (6.93 m)
Wing area: 598 ft² (55.56 m²)
WeightEmpty weight: 26,581 lb (12,057 kg)
Loaded weight: 38,192 lb (17,324 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 52,539 lb (23,831 kg)
Powerplant2 x General Electric TF34-GE-2 turbofans, 9,275 lbf (41.26 kN) each
ArmamentUp to 4,900 lb (2,220 kg) on four internal and two external hardpoints, including:

10 x 500 lb (227 kg) Mark 82 bombs
2 x 1000 lb (454 kg) Mark 83 bombs
2 x 2000 lb (908 kg) Mark 84 bombs
6 x CBU-100 cluster bombs
2 x Mark 50 torpedoes
4 x Mark 46 torpedoes
6 x mines or depth charges
2 x B57 nuclear bombs
2 x AGM-65E/F Maverick missiles
2 x AGM-84D Harpoon missiles
1 x AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER missile

The two underwing hardpoints can also be fitted with unguided rocket pods or 300 US gal (1,136 l) fuel tanks.
OperatorsUnited States (Retired)

The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a carrier-based anti submarine, subsonic, all-weather, multi-mission, long range, four-seat twin-engine jet aircraft that served with the United States Navy. The Viking also supplied electronic warfare and surface surveillance functions to the carrier battle group. In the late 1990s, the S-3B’s mission focus altered to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The aircraft was also nicknamed the Hoover, taking a vacuum cleaner brand name, due to its low-pitched sound.

The US Navy stopped operating the Viking from front-line fleet service aboard aircraft carriers in January 2009. The Navy replaced the Viking with the P-3C Orion, SH-60 Seahawk, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The NASA Glenn Research Center also operates four S-3B’s since 2005.

The Development and Design of S-3 Viking

Around mid 1960s, the U.S. Navy wanted to replace its anti-submarine aircraft the Grumman S-2 Tracker. Then in August 1968, Lockheed, along with its rivals- a team of Convair/Grumman, Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) conducted further development to meet the Navy’s requirement.

Lockheed won the contest and in August 1969 the U.S. Navy ordered eight prototypes which designated YS-3A.The first prototype successfully took its first flight on 21 January 1972 and the S-3 entered service in 1974. During the production run from 1974 to 1978, a total of 186 S-3As were built. Almost all of the surviving S-3As were later ehanced to the S-3B variant, with sixteen aircraft modified into ES-3A Shadow electronic intelligence (ELINT) collection aircraft.

The S-3 is a typical monoplane with a high-mounted cantilever 15° swept-wing. The aircraft is powered by two GE TF-34 high-bypass turbofan engines mounted in nacelles under the wings which provide excellent fuel efficiency. The Viking had a long range and endurance.

The aircraft is manned by four crew members, three officers and one enlisted aircrew man, with the pilot and the copilot/tactical coordinator (COTAC) in the front of the cockpit and the tactical coordinator (TACCO) and sensor operator (SENSO) in the rear.

The aircraft features two underwing hardpoints that is often used to hold fuel tanks, general purpose and cluster bombs, missiles, rockets, and storage pods. It also has four internal bomb bay stations that can carry general purpose bombs, aerial torpedoes, and special stores (including B57 and B61 nuclear weapons). Fifty-nine sonobuoy chutes are installed, along with a specific Search and Rescue (SAR) chute.

The S-3 is equipped with the ALE-39 countermeasure system and can bear as much as 90 rounds of chaff, flares and jammers in three dispensers. A retractable magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) Boom is built in the tail.

In the late 1990s, the S-3B’s role was adjusted from anti-submarine warfare to anti-surface warfare. At this point, the MAD Boom was taken away, as well as submarine detection electronics.

The Variants of S-3 Viking

There were some variants of the S-3 Viking built (or modification of previous versions) during production years:

  • S-3A: First production version, 187 built.
  • S-3B: Upgraded avionics, AN/APS-137 inverse synthetic aperture radar, Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, AGM-84 Harpoon launch capability, first flight 13 September 1984, 119 converted from S-3As.
  • ES-3A Shadow: ELINT aircraft, AN/APS-137 inverse synthetic aperture radar.
  • KS-3A: Proposed air tanker version with fuel capacity of 4,382 US gal (16,600 l), one converted from YS-3A, later converted to US-3A.
  • KS-3B: Proposed air tanker based on S-3B and utilizing the buddy refueling system, not built.
  • US-3A: A modification of S-3A for carrier onboard delivery, capacity for six passengers or 4,680 lb (2,120 kg) of cargo, retired in 1998.
  • Alladin Viking: Conversion of six aircraft for overland surveillance and Elint missions.
  • Callypso Viking: Proposed anti-smuggling variant, never built.
  • Gray Wolf Viking (SeaSTARS): One aircraft was equipped with AN/APG-76 radar in a modified cargo pod under the wing.
  •  NASA Viking:  One aircraft was transformed into a state-of-the-art NASA research aircraft.

Lockheed S-3 Viking videos

Lockheed S-3 Viking


Lockheed S-3 Viking

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