Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vikings Redux- Photo Edition

It's a good week to post more than I normally do, giving Sarge another day or so to recover from his sex change, hair transplant, lobotomy, how about we just go with procedure?  I'm kidding of course.  It wasn't anything quite so interesting. He's doing nicely by the way, and should be back in the next day or two.  At least that's what he told the staff here.  He wouldn't complain even if he wasn't doing well so what do I know? Since I was so controversial and serious in my last post, I figured I'd go for something easier for me to put together and a bit more light hearted- Plane pr0n!  Since I have more S-3B Viking pictures than anything else, it was easy to just scan through my collection to find some of my favorites or ones that might be interesting to the kind readers here at The Chant.  

VS-22 Checkmate over USS SARATOGA (CV-60) 
I like this picture because it's a view of the Hoover not often seen.  It was taken from the ramp of a C-2 Greyhound and the front aspect shows just how big of a wingspan it had.

S-3As from COMASWWINGLANT, (later Sea Control Wing Atlantic) in echelon

The S-3 Squadrons on the east coast were based at Cecil Field until it closed in 1999.  The Hornets relocated to Oceana in VA Beach, and MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina, while the Vikings moved across town to NAS Jacksonville to bunk down with the P-3s.  In order from left to right are the VS-32 "Maulers," VS-31 "Topcats," VS-30 "Diamondcutters," VS-28 "Gamblers," VS-24 "Scouts," and finally the VS-22 "Checkmates."  The FRS- VS-27 "Seawolves" isn't shown, which was disestablished in '92 along with VS-28.  

This one is just a concept for an E-2 replacement.  We called it the Dorito chip Viking.  The Viking's predecessor, the Grumman S-2F or "Stoof" had a E-2 variant (see below)- actually the E-1, so despite looking rather goofy, it wasn't a far-fetched concept. 


ES-3A Shadow

The ES-3A Shadow was a highly modified S-3A packed with electronic surveillance gear, similar to the EA-3B Skywarrior which it replaced (in service from '91-'99).  Actually, the heart of the Shadow is an avionics suite based on the Aries II system of the land-based EP-3E Orion.  I flew an S-3B during OIF that had some of the Shadow's systems which I'll mention later.

A fairly rare view from the "Belknap Pole." VS-21 S-3A on USS RANGER parked next to an EA-3B Skywarrior.

The World Famous "I" Bar.

Since the Vikings are almost all gone, more on that in a moment, the bar in building "I" on NAS North Island (I just can't call it Naval Base Coronado), is somewhat of a memorial to the Viking Community, with plaques, wing fins, and other memorabilia.  If you haven't been and you're in town, let me know and we'll go get a beer and play some dice.

Wings in mid-spread, which was done just prior to entering the shuttle on the catapult.

I like these shots with steam coming up from the catapult track.

S-3B exhibit on the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) Museum
This is the former VS-29 Surveillance System Upgrade (SSU) bird I flew over Iraq.  Unfortunately, when VS-29 disestablished and left it for VS-41 to transfer to the Midway museum, they repainted it in their squadron colors, removing my name from under the COTAC (copilot) canopy.  No, the bar is not a permanent part of the exhibit, although it should be for historical accuracy.

US-3As, AKA "Miss Piggy," from VRC-50 in Cubi Point Philippines

The US-3A was a "Utility" aircraft, serving in the "COD" or Carrier Onboard Delivery role for the 7th and 5th Fleets.  Notice the "blivet" on the left wing pylon of A/C 713 for hauling mail and cargo externally.

The view from my cubicle

S-3B Viking flown by NASA.  One of two they own, and of the four still in service.
S-3B from VX-30 in Pt. Mugu, the unit flying the other two Vikings.

This is the VS-35 bird flown aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN with President George W. Bush in the COTAC seat.  It's the only time a Navy aircraft has carried a sitting President.

S-3As from IKE.  
The S-3B upgrade from the A variant added a new mission computer, upgraded Electronic Surveillance Measures, the APS-137 ISAR Radar, Chaff and Flares, and the Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile capability.  Besides the old-school paint scheme, you can tell the A models from the B models by the round wingtip antennae.  S-3Bs had square ones.

Vikings in the stack overhead JFK
The only thing better than a Viking picture is a Viking sunset picture.
A VS-21 Viking from the observation window of a P-3.  The S-3 was the Aircraft Carrier's primary ASW asset for intermediate and long range ASW.
A view of my office from the neighboring building.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  It's a gaudy paint job, but the lights make up for it.
VS-33 Screwbird launching from the USS STENNIS in San Diego Bay during Fleet Week

Mk-83 drop over Fallon NV

One of the things I loved about the Viking was the variety of missions it conducted.  From aerial refueling, to bombing, ocean surveillance to Anti-Surface Warfare and ASW, and being fully acrobatic- the flights never got boring.  I've got a boatload of pictures I could use, but that's enough for today.  


  1. That's one cool plane. When I first started reading Sarge's blog many moons ago I didn't know what it was when I saw the picture in his masthead. I emailed to ask about it not expecting the detailed reply that I got from him. He is a great guy that really cares about his readers. We wish him a speedy recovery..............................

    1. Thanks Taminator. It was a blast to fly. I've written about it a few times on here if you're so inclined to search.

    2. Thanks Taminator. I have awesome readers (and cobloggers).

  2. I always enjoyed your write ups on it and many other subjects. I just didn't know what it was when I was a newbie, actually a first timer, here..................

  3. Great post and pics Tuna.

    So you had a window office in the Navy, how about now?

    1. Nice as nice or as cool of a cubicle, but it's on the top floor and I've got a window with a view to my alma-mater so I can't complain.

  4. Great post and pics.

    Had some awesome AW buds from the Viking crowd. Incredible fun on Fallon and Orange Air dets. Pretty sure that kind of stuff is no longer featured in the Nav.

  5. Looks like it would be a fun airplane to fly. Probably a good cross country bird, decent range/speed room for some captured loot from other bases. Murph could probably trade in his 172 and make a down payment.

    1. You got that right. I've seen skis going to Park City, ice chests full of lobster returning from Maine, bikes, booze, and once even about 25 pizzas brought back to the troops stuck onboard the boat. We could one-stop it across the US, or even span the whole thing in the winter with the jet stream helping us out. The Hoover might be ugly, but at least it was slow!

  6. Great pics! Some of those were new to me!

  7. Great pics! Some of those were new to me!

  8. I get to mention the "Stoof" variant was designated WF, fondly called Willy Fudd.
    A major drawback to that bird was if it came in low on approach to the bird farm, a too much correction would cause a back seat flip.

    The COD flight was the escort ship's favorite fixed wing aircraft.
    The helo was the absolute favorite aircraft.


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