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Airmark Airguide #3 
Lockheed S-3 Viking 
By Andy Evans 

The Lockheed S-3 Viking was a four-crew, twin-engine turbofan-powered jet aircraft designed and produced Lockheed for the US Navy. Because of its characteristic sound, it was nicknamed the ‘War Hoover’ after the famous vacuum cleaner brand. The S-3 was developed in response to the VSX program conducted USN to procure a successor anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to the Grumman S-2 Tracker. It was designed, with assistance from Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), to be a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, multi-mission aircraft.  On 21 January 1972, the prototype YS-3A performed the type's maiden flight. Upon entering regular service during February 1974, it proved to be a reliable workhorse. In the ASW role, the S-3 carried automated weapons and in-flight refuelling gear. Further variants, such as the ES-3A Shadow carrier-based electronic intelligence (ELINT) platform, and the US-3A carrier-based utility and cargo transport, arrived during the 1980s and 1990s. In the late 1990s, the S-3B's mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refuelling a carrier battle group. It saw combat during the Gulf War of the early 1990s, the Yugoslav Wars of the mid-to-late 1990s, and the War in Afghanistan during the 2000s. The S-3 was removed from front-line fleet service aboard aircraft carriers in January 2009, its missions having been taken over by the P-3C Orion, P-8 Poseidon, SH-60 Seahawk, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. For more a decade after that, some S-3s were flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Thirty (VX-30) at NAS Point Mugu, for range clearance and surveillance operations at the NAVAIR Point Mugu Range. These final examples were retired in early 2016.

Airmark Range Viking

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