Lockheed S-3 Viking

The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a 4-crew, twin-engine turbofan-powered jet aircraft that was used by the U.S. Navy primarily for anti-submarine warfare.

In the late 1990s, the S-3B’s mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refuelling.

The Viking also provided electronic warfare and surface surveillance capabilities to a carrier battle group.

A carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, multi-mission aircraft, it carried automated weapon systems and was capable of extended missions with in-flight refuelling.



First production version, 187 built.


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.


The ES-3A Shadow was designed as a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, electronic reconnaissance (ELINT) aircraft. 16 aircraft were modified, replacing the EA-3B Skywarrior, and entering fleet service in 1993.

The ES-3A carried an extensive suite of electronic sensors and communications gear, replacing the S-3’s submarine detection, armament, and maritime surveillance equipment with avionics racks accommodating the ES-3A’s sensors.

These modifications had minor impact on airspeed, reducing its top rated speed from 450 KTAS to 405 KTAS but had no noticeable impact on the aircraft’s range and actually increased its rated loiter time.

Because these aircraft were standoff indications and warnings platforms and were never intended to be part of an ingress strike package, this new speed limitation was considered insignificant.


Proposed dedicated air tanker with fuel capacity of 4,382 US gal (16,600 l), one converted from YS-3A, later converted to US-3A.


Proposed air tanker based on S-3B and utilizing the buddy refueling system, not built.


S-3A modified for carrier onboard delivery, capacity for six passengers or 4,680 lb (2,120 kg) of cargo, retired in 1998.

Aladdin Viking

Conversion of six aircraft for overland surveillance and Elint missions.

May have dropped ground sensors in the Bosnian War.

Beartrap Viking

S-3Bs fitted with still-classified modifications.

Calypso Viking

Proposed anti-smuggling variant, not built.

Gray Wolf Viking

One aircraft fitted with AN/APG-76 radar in a modified cargo pod under the wing.

Also dubbed Seastars in reference to E-8 Joint STARS.

Orca Viking

Avionics testbed.

Outlaw Viking

One S-3B fitted with Over-the-horizon Airborne Sensor Information System (OASIS III), returned to regular S-3B in 1998.

NASA Viking

One aircraft was transformed into a state-of-the-art NASA research aircraft.

The Navy’s Fleet Readiness Centre, Southeast and a Boeing facility in Florida enhanced the plane by adding commercial satellite communications, global positioning navigation and weather radar systems.

They installed research equipment racks in what was once the plane’s bomb bay.

NASA’s S-3B Viking is equipped to conduct science and aeronautics missions, such as environmental monitoring, satellite communications testing and aviation safety research.




53 ft 4 in (16.26 m)


68 ft 8 in (20.93 m)


29 ft 6 in (8.99 m) folded


22 ft 9 in (6.93 m)

Height tail folded

15 ft 3 in (5 m)

Wing area

598 sq ft (55.6 m2)

Aspect ratio




NACA 0016.3-1.03 32.7/100 mod


NACA 0012-1.10 40/1.00 mod

Empty weight

26,581 lb (12,057 kg)

Gross weight

38,192 lb (17,324 kg)

Max take-off weight

52,539 lb (23,831 kg)

Fuel capacity

Internal fuel capacity: 1,933 US gal (1,610 imp gal; 7,320 L) of JP-5 fuel

External fuel capacity

2 × 300 US gal (250 imp gal; 1,100 L) drop tanks


2 × General Electric TF34-GE-2 turbofan engines, 9,275 lbf (41.26 kN) thrust each


Maximum speed

429 kn (494 mph, 795 km/h) at sea level

Maximum speed

Mach 0.79

Cruise speed

350 kn (400 mph, 650 km/h)

Stall speed

97 kn (112 mph, 180 km/h)


2,765 nmi (3,182 mi, 5,121 km)

Combat range

460.5 nmi (529.9 mi, 852.8 km)

Ferry range

3,368 nmi (3,876 mi, 6,238 km)

Service ceiling

40,900 ft (12,500 m)

Rate of climb

5,120 ft/min (26.0 m/s)

Wing loading

68.5 lb/sq ft (334 kg/m2)




Up to 4,900 lb (2,220 kg) on 4 internal and 2 external hard points, including:

10 × 500 lb (227 kg) Mark 82 bombs

2 × 1000 lb (454 kg) Mark 83 bombs

2 × 2000 lb (908 kg) Mark 84 bombs

6 × CBU-100 cluster bombs

2 × Mark 50 torpedoes

4 × Mark 46 torpedoes

6 × mines or depth charges

2 × B57 nuclear bombs (depth charges)

2 × AGM-65E/F Maverick missiles

2 × AGM-84D Harpoon missiles

1 × AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER missile

The underwing hardpoints can also be fitted with unguided rocket pods or 300 US gal (1,136 L) fuel tanks.


AN/APS-116 sea search radar, maximum range 150 nmi (173 mi, 278 km)

Upgraded on S-3B to AN/APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR)

OR-89 forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera with 3× zoom

AN/ARS-2 sonobuoy receiver with 13 blade antennas on the airframe for precise buoy location (Sonobuoy Reference System)

AN/ASQ-81 magnetic anomaly detector (MAD)

AN/ALR-47 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) emitter-location system, with boxy receiver pods fitted to the wingtips, to locate adversary communications and radar transmitters

AN/ASN-92 Inertial navigation system (INS) with doppler radar navigation and TACAN

Up to 60 sonobuoys (59 tactical, 1 Search and Rescue).



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