The U.S. Navy's newest antisubmarine aircraft, the S-3A, rolls out of the hangar at Lockheed?
The U.S. Navy's newest antisubmarine aircraft, the S-3A, rolls out of the hangar at Lockheed today--right on schedule, the result of more than two years' intensive development effort at the California plant.
Hundreds of hours in a flight simulator and an "iron bird"--or vehicle systems mockup--at the company's Rye Canyon Research Laboratory already have demonstrated flight characteristics from launch to landing.
At the Chine Lake Naval Weapons Center, telemetered dummies test the emergency escape system for the four-man crew at speeds from zero to four hundred and fifty knots.
Successful completion of technical milestones in the initial contract could result in the Navy's exercising an option to order 191 production models of the S-3A. More than a year's intensive competition among aerospace manufacturers preceded award of the development contract to Lockheed.
For its mission of locating and destroying enemy submarines in time of war and providing surface surveillance in peacetime, the S-3A carries the most advanced ASW avionics system yet developed.
The use of digital computers frees the four man crew to study the data presented on television-like displays and make decisions much more effectively, according to Navy sources.
The aircraft can operate above 35,000 feet in search operations and can fly faster than 400 knots--or it operates efficiently also at low altitudes and slow speeds.
Lockheed as prime contractor is teamed with Vought Aeronautics Division of LTV Aerospace Corporation of Dallas, and with Univac's Federal Systems Division of Sperry Rand Corporation at St. Paul. The two engines, manufactured by General Electric, and high bypass ratio turbofan jets (TF-34-2).
The airplane will have an all-weather capability for its ASW mission and can carry a variety of armament--including homing torpedoes, mines, depth charges, rockets and missiles.
The S-3A is the latest in a long line of antisubmarine aircraft from Lockheed, which has turned out 3500 ASW aircraft, beginning with the first plane in history to sink a submarine--the Hudson bomber of World War II.
The new S-3A complement the current land-based P-3 Orion in production for the Navy by Lockheed since 1961.
First flight for the S-3A is scheduled in January of 1972.