Saturday, August 9, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Vikings to invade Korea!

And you'll never guess what happens next!

Ok, with that first bit I'm just playing with you.  You've probably seen those types of headlines on the interwebs these days - eye-catching teasers to get you to click the link and read on.  Usually, those just take you to something that doesn't shock or surprise you, and most often isn't worth the click.  I promise you, this one isn't a tease, mainly because I have no photos of wardrobe malfunctions, celebrities wearing see-through clothing, or poorly put-together top 10 lists regarding the venerable Viking.

I also will admit that what I'm sharing here isn't really breaking news since the story was reported waaaay back in October of 2013.  I knew Lockheed was pushing a Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) version of the S-3B, but I completely missed the part about Korea possibly acquiring these birds:  

So the Viking went from this:

To this:

And possibly, to this:

Mock-up of a Republic of Korea S-3B Viking.  My aeronautical art skills leave something to be desired.

Lockheed Martin offers refurbished Viking aircraft to Korean and US navies

Wait a minute!  The ROK Navy (or is it Air Force? No, that's just the Canucks* that have their AF fly Navy birds), already has P-3C Orion aircraft.  Why could they possibly want the venerable Viking?  And from where would they fly them?

S. Korea Envisions Light Aircraft Carrier

Yep, you heard that right.  South Korea is pushing for a blue-water Navy.  Why would they want that?  It's not like they're surrounded hostile neighbors...oh wait.  Gomenasai to Korea's neighbor to the East.  Japan isn't exactly a close friend, but they aren't enemies.

ROK Dokdo Class Carrier.  F-35B-capable.  Hey Korea, you forgot the catapult and arresting gear.  
From Wiki:  

"South Korea has expressed an interest in acquiring up to 18 ex-USN S-3s in order to augment their current fleet of 16 P-3 Orion aircraft. The aircraft would have the added benefit of being able to operate off of a potential future South Korean aircraft carrier. If the purchase goes through then South Korea would become the first foreign operator of the type."

The second article is from Defense News which states:

"The service will purchase 18 S-3 jets and modify them into a new configuration meeting the Navy’s operational requirements. If adopted, it will be the first fixed-wing jet patrol aircraft operated by the South Korean Navy, which flies 16 P-3CK turboprop patrol aircraft."

“The S-3 introduction will offer a great opportunity for the ROK Navy to operate a carrier-based jet, as the service envisions deploying aircraft carriers in the future,” Kim Dae-young, a research member of the Korea Defense & Security Forum, a private defense think tank here. “From the operational perspective, the S-3 is expected to be used for various purposes, such as patrol, surface warfare and aerial refueling.”

No word on whether Korea would purchase the aircraft directly from the U.S. Navy or through Lockheed. Hey Korea, skip the middle-man.  Trust me!  Lockheed was the "pass-through" Defense Contractor for a system we (the Mine Warfare Community) purchased from Germany, resulting in an obscene mark-up in procurement costs.  The article also doesn't say whether or not Lockheed would upgrade the avionics and weapon systems, or if that would be done after transferring the aircraft to the ROK Navy.  Hey Korea, I've seen the Samsung Galaxy S products- do the upgrade yourself.  Trust me!  

While their Dokdo-Class Carrier won't be suitable for fixed-wing ops, the Koreans do have plans for a different variant, although I'm not sure the ramp would help a fully-loaded Viking get enough end-speed. 52,500 lbs was our max takeoff weight, but I'm sure the gross weight could probably be reduced with some upgraded avionics.  That Samsung Galaxy S likely has a better processor than the system I used in the jet!   

Notice the VLS on the bow
Possibly AGM-84 Harpoon on the fantail

This experimental design, designated KCVX, is closer to the size of  the Italian carrier, Cavour, which at 30,000 tons displacement (fully loaded), is roughly a third the size of a U.S. Nimitz-Class carrier.

Italian Flag Ship Cavour

I found this comparison chart which I thought was interesting.  Click to expand, or download and save it yourself.

Anyway, it looks like I might be able to swing a contractor job in Korea if they need some ex-Viking guys.  Although they'd have to worry about that max gross-weight problem again!  Gunbae!

*And the Aussies, Brazilians, Greeks, Iranians, Kiwis, Norwegians, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Taiwanese.

Ok, maybe just a quick teaser


  1. Interesting news Tuna. I had no ideer.

    (I did like the teaser, you bad boy you!)

  2. GO ROKs! Our Navy is too stupid to make use of a really versatile ac. Plus we've let our ASW capability TOTALLY atrophy to the point I wonder if it can ever be effectively reconstituted to meet the every-growing threat that is metastasizing before our very eyes. BTW, FWIW I was SHOCKED to find that we've abandoned Keflavik in Iceland and both the Russians and the Chinese are in there now. What happened to our SONUS station there! What sort of insane craziness is this? Are the Russians reeling in the ocean-floor sensors, or what, Tuna? What does the ASW community have to say?

    1. VX, no idea if the russkies are doing that, but this program: is trying to recoup what we've lost. We need more subs imho though. The P-8 is going to be great, but we need many many more of them. They can't do what a couple subs can do though. I'm not worried about the North Atlantic, but the Pacific? Don't get me started.

  3. That comparative carrier-size graphic alone was worth the price o' admission.

  4. Nicely done Tuna, and you left out the possibility of a C-3 (Viking) replacing the C-2... :-)

    1. Huh? I'm not sure what you mean. I mentioned that in the second paragraph. There are plenty of good airframes there to fill both the COD and ROK requirement, although the COD modification seems like it would almost be an entirely new aircraft.

  5. Tuna, What does the Old NFO think about the Viking flying for the A.F.??

    1. Not sure. Korea has it right- keeping the maritime aircraft with the Navy. I'd have to do some research to see if any country has their Air Force flying from a carrier.

  6. I have my lone trap in a US-3A. Diego Garcia(aka Dodge) to the Good Ship Kitty Hawk in late October of 1985, somewhere in The Indian Ocean/Northern Arabian Sea..................3 plus hours in a five point harness. The last few seconds were the best!
    We had a Chief Postal Clerk on board who was not liking it when we hit the break! I thought he crapped his pants!


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