|U.S. Navy Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior (BuNo 146452) from Fleet Reconnaissance Squadron VQ-1 Det.64 World Watchers in flight over the South China Sea.|
So knowing that Comjam was a former A-3 guy, I promised him a post on The Whale, if he would but respond to my humble request. He did and, as I'm a man of my word, here's the post, as promised.
This is the first time I've really taken a look at the Skywarrior, I should have looked sooner!
The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy and was among the longest serving carrier-based aircraft in history. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was retired in 1991. Throughout its service, it was the heaviest operational aircraft to operate from aircraft carriers, earning its nickname, "The Whale". Its primary function for much of its later service life was as an electronic warfare platform, tactical air reconnaissance platform, and high capacity aerial refueling tanker.
A modified derivative also served in the U.S. Air Force until the early 1970s as the B-66 Destroyer, serving as a tactical bomber, electronic warfare aircraft (EB-66C) and RB-66 reconnaissance bomber. The Skywarrior is one of only two U.S. Navy attack aircraft intended as a strategic bomber to enter full-scale service (the other being its predecessor, the North American AJ Savage). - Wikipedia
|The Whale in Air Force livery.|
Something else that's really cool about The Whale is who designed it. Ed Heinemann, that's who. And who is Mr. Heinemann? Check this out -
During his long career at Douglas, Heinemann designed more than 20 combat aircraft, primarily for the U.S. Navy, including many that became legends in aviation history. His designs included:At this point I'm thinking that Mr. Heinemann is probably deserving of his very own Flyby. (I foresee a future series of Flybys honoring various aircraft designers. Highlighting the aircraft they designed, of course. And yes, I do take requests, the only proviso being that I feature military aircraft. Not saying I'd turn down the opportunity to post on a really awesome civilian bird, just stating my preferences. So to speak.)
- SBD Dauntless dive bomber
- A-20 Havoc light bomber/attack aircraft
- A-26 Invader light bomber/attack aircraft
- A-1 Skyraider attack aircraft
- A-3 Skywarrior bomber
- A-4 Skyhawk light bomber
- F3D Skyknight night fighter
- F4D Skyray carrier-based fighter aircraft
One of the first aircraft to be designed by Heinemann was the Moreland M-1 Trainer of 1929, a braced-wing parasol wing monoplane. Due to the 1929 recession only a small number were sold before the company ceased trading in 1933. - Wikipedia
- Douglas Skystreak and Douglas Skyrocket research aircraft
Ladies and gentlemen, aviators and maintainers, Bubbleheads and Shoes*, I give you the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior -
|Hey! I recognize that rock!|
|EA-3B Skywarrior Ranger 16 ("Lola") of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron VQ-2 Rangers, |
prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) on 3 February 1987.
|NRA-3B Skywarrior aircraft (BuNo 144834) equipped with electronic warfare (jammer) pods,|
with its wings folded at the Pacific Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, California, on 5 Apr 1982.
|Plan view of the A-3 Skywarrior|
|Cutaway view of the Skywarrior|
Visit the A-3 Skywarrior Association here. Lots of good stuff about a pretty awesome aircraft.
* Bubbleheads and Shoes = Submariners and Professional Surface Warfare Officers. Ahem. Sorry Jim P., sorry Naviguesser and Nuke.