Apr 12, 2014
Lockheed Revives an Old Idea for New Carrier Cargo Plane
Now, a third player has entered the COD fray, with Lockheed Martin offering refurbished and remanufactured versions of its S-3 Viking antisubmarine aircraft, nearly all of which were retired by early 2009. Ninety-one of the aircraft remain in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
Those aircraft still have quite a bit of life on them, having flown an average of 9,000 hours.
Designed in the early 1970s as a carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft, the Viking was used in its later service years as a tanker. Lockheed’s COD proposal — dubbed the C-3 — would replace the S-3’s fuselage with a wider version, but retain the original wings, tail assembly, engines and crew compartment.
A refurbished and remanufactured aircraft, would have a flying life greater than 10,000 hours.
The aircraft would be big enough to transport Pratt & Whitney jet engines for the F-35 joint strike fighter.
With an unrefueled range of 2,400 nautical miles carrying a 10,000-pound load, the C-3 would have twice the range of a new C-2, and triple the range of an Osprey.
Of the 91 S-3s in storage, 87 are useable. A number of spare General Electric TF-34 turbofan engines used by the S-3 also are in storage.
Lockheed has also proposed refurbishing S-3s for the Republic of Korea, which is seeking an anti-submarine aircraft. Those planes would not be rebuilt as in the C-3 proposal, but retain their original fuselages.