Brad Elward’s S-3 Viking In Action, is an interesting profile of a relatively less-known US Naval carrier-borne aircraft.
The Viking first flew on 21 January 1972 and was the latest in a long line of anti-submarine aircraft including the Grumman’s Avenger, Guardian and Tracker. The Viking also conducted Other roles during its service lifetime including ELINT (electronic intelligence collection, with the ES-3A variant), COD (carrier on-board delivery, with the US-3A variant) and midair refueling (using the S-3A/B and oddly, the ES-3A). In fact, towards the end of the Viking’s career, a majority of the Viking’s missions were flown as an aerial refueling tanker. Sadly and perhaps prematurely, the Viking was retired in 2009 but it still flies with VX-30 for range clearance missions and with NASA, at the Glenn Research Center, conducting flight research into aircraft icing.
S-3 Viking In Action, follows the traditional Squadron Signal series of books as they are generally for modelers but also offer the enthusiast an in-depth view of a particular aircraft. The book does a great job of covering the developmental and operational history of the Viking.
One of the little known aspects of that history was the role the Viking played in Operation Iraqi Freedom:
The Viking ended its combat career flying land based missions out of al-Assad Air Base in the al-Anbar province in Iraq. In July 2008, four LANTIRN-equipped S-3Bs from Vs-22 (BuNos. 159746, 160147, 160581, and 160601) deployed to Iraq to conduct Non-Traditional Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (NTISR) missions against insurgents.
There’s some interesting information here about what Viking crews did in OIF and if anyone has further (open-source obviously) information, please let me know as I’d like to do a blog post about it.
In terms of the aircraft itself, there are plenty of illustrations taken from the Viking NATOPS to make crews and enthusiasts drool (as I did). I found the details on the Viking flight control system very interesting. Another interesting detail I didn’t previously know was that the cockpit crew used to consist for 2 Naval Aviators as opposed to the later replacement in the right seat with a Naval Flight Officer.
All in all, “S-3 Viking In Action” is a great guide to one of the unsung workhorses of US Naval Aviation. I highly recommend it as a gift for geeks and former crews as well.
S-3 Viking In Action (10230)