Oct 20, 2015
Lockheed Martin details Plan to supply former US Navy S-3B Viking to the South Korean Navy.
Lockheed says the type has a number of attributes that make it suitable for a return to active service. The type was retired mainly owing to the absence of a submarine threat to US carrier battle groups with the end of the Cold War, as well as the navy's desire to narrow the number of aircraft types operating from carriers.
Lockheed estimates that the S-3B airframes in storage still have around 10-12,000hrs flying time remaining.
The aircraft's cockpits would not require upgrading, but that several systems would. The aircraft's metalic anomaly detector would need to be updated from analogue to digital technology. Other work would involve the aircraft's sonobuoys and ESM equipment. Given South Korea's interest in developing its aerospace capabilities, any work to upgrade the aircraft would all but certainly be undertaken in South Korea.
The aircraft would operate with a four man crew, and would be capable of carrying a mix of four torpedoes and/or anti-shipping missiles.
The initial requirement for the type appears to be 12 aircraft.
Although the S-3B no longer serves aboard US aircraft carriers, the US navy's VX-30 test and evaluation squadron still operates the type in support roles.