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Douglas A-3 Skywarrior "1952"

Cold War An EA-3B of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two (VQ-2) lands on USS Kitty Hawk in 1987 The EA-3 variant was used in critical electronic intelligence (ELINT) roles operating from aircraft carrier decks and ashore supplementing the larger Lockheed EP-3. Its last service was as an ELINT platform during Desert Storm

Douglas A-3 Skywarrior "1952"

Role Dive bomber
Scout plane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft
Designer Ed Heinemann
First flight 1 May 1940
Introduction 1940
Retired 1959 (Mexico)
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps / United States Army Air Forces
Free French Air Force
Produced 1940–1944
Number built 5,936
Developed from Northrop BT


McDonnell/Douglas

The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior is
a jet-powered strategic bomber.

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Douglas
A-3 Skywarrior "1952"

he Douglas A-3 Skywarrior is a jet-powered strategic bomber that was developed and produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It was designed by Douglas on behalf of the United States Navy, which sought a carrier-capable strategic bomber. During July 1949, Douglas was awarded the contract to produce its design, having bested eight other aircraft companies’ submissions. Unlike rival designs, which had aimed for a 100,000 lb (45,000 kg) maximum take-off weight, the Skywarrior was developed for a 68,000 lb (31,000 kg) take-off weight, facilitating its use from the navy’s existing Midway-class aircraft carriers. Large portions of the aircraft were produced by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, including its early Westinghouse J40 turbojet engines, which failed to meet promises and were replaced by the rival Pratt & Whitney J57 engine by mid-1953. On 28 October 1952, the prototype XA3D-1 performed the type’s maiden flight

Operational History

 

The Skywarrior had a 36° degree swept wing and two Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engines. Early prototypes had used the intended Westinghouse J40, a powerplant that proved to be disastrous and was subsequently canceled. The turbojets could be supplemented by a provision for twelve 4,500 lbf (20 kN) thrust JATO bottles. The aircraft had a largely conventional semi-monocoque fuselage, with the engines in underwing nacelles. Flight controls were hydraulic, and for storage below deck, the A-3’s wings folded outboard of the engines, lying almost flat, and its vertical stabilizer was hinged to starboard. Capacious internal fuel tanks provided long range.

The early A-3 variants had a crew of three: pilot, bombardier/navigator (BN) and crewman/navigator (aka: third crewman). An unusual cockpit configuration was incorporated with the three crew sitting under a framed canopy. In the raised compartment, the pilot and bombardier/navigator sat in a side-by-side arrangement with the pilot’s station on the port side having full flight controls

Operators

 United States
  • United States Navy
    • VAH-1 based at Naval Air Station Sanford (later RVAH-1, now decommissioned)
    • VAH-2 based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (now VAQ-132)
    • VAH-3 based at Naval Air Station (later RVAH-3, now decommissioned); Replacement Air Group / Fleet Replacement Squadron
    • VAH-4 based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (now VAQ-131)
    • VAH-5 based at Naval Air Station Sanford (later RVAH-5, now decommissioned)

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Douglas A-3 Skywarrior "1952"

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. The carrier-based supersonic North American A-5 Vigilante was also originally designed for strategic nuclear strike missions and initially, very briefly, supplanted the A-3 in that role beginning in the early 1960s. A modified derivative of the Skywarrior, the B-66 Destroyer, served in the United States Air Force, where it was operated as a tactical bomber.

Specifications

Crew: 3

Length: 76 ft 4 in (23.27 m)

Wingspan: 72 ft 6 in (22.10 m)

Height: 22 ft 9.5 in (6.947 m)
Empty weight: 39,409 lb (17,876 kg)

Gross weight: 70,000 lb (31,751 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 82,000 lb (37,195 kg)

Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney J57-P-10 turbojet engines.

  • Maximum speed: 530 kn (610 mph, 980 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • Cruise speed: 520 kn (600 mph, 960 km/h)
  • Range: 1,825 nmi (2,100 mi, 3,380 km)
  • Ferry range: 2,520 nmi (2,900 mi, 4,670 km)
  • Service ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,000 m)
  • g limits: +3.4
  • Wing loading: 86.2 lb/sq ft (421 kg/m2)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.357 
  • Guns: 2 20 mm M3L cannon in the tail turret

    Bombs: 12,800 pounds (5,800 kg) of free-fall bombs or mines,
    including any combination of

    12 500 pounds (230 kg) Mark 82 bombs or

    6 1,000 pounds (450 kg) Mark 83 bombs or

    8 1,600 pounds (730 kg) armor-piercing bombs or

    4 2,000 pounds (910 kg) bombs

    1 free-fall nuclear weapon

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Cold War An EA-3B of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two (VQ-2) lands on USS Kitty Hawk in 1987 The EA-3 variant was used in critical electronic intelligence (ELINT) roles operating from aircraft carrier decks and ashore supplementing the larger Lockheed EP-3. Its last service was as an ELINT platform during Desert Storm