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Lockheed proposes S-3 COD

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 10, 2014
The C-3 would be able to perform COD and air-to-air refuelling tasks. (Lockheed Martin concept via USNI News)
The C-3 would be able to perform COD and air-to-air refuelling tasks. (Lockheed Martin concept via USNI News)

Lockheed Martin has proposed a carrier onboard delivery (COD) variant of its S-3 Viking aircraft to meet a US Navy requirement to replace its ageing C-2 Greyhounds.

The S-3 was retired from US Navy frontline service in 2008 after a career providing carrier-borne anti-submarine, electronic warfare and air-to-air refuelling capability. A large number of aircraft are currently in storage in the AMARG ‘Boneyard’ in Arizona.

Dubbed C-3, Lockheed proposes to mate redesigned centre and rear fuselage sections including a rear loading ramp to refurbished S-3 wings, forward fuselage and empennage sections in order to be able to carry aircraft engines and other outsized cargo to the ship.

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The C-3 will be designed to be able to carry loads up to 5,000kg including the F-35's F135 engine. (Lockheed martin concept)
The C-3 will be designed to be able to carry loads up to 5,000kg including the F-35’s F135 engine. (Lockheed martin concept)

“There is actually 91 (S-3 airframes in storage), but 87 are useable,” Jeffery Cramer, Lockheed’s COD program manager told USNI News on April 8. “There’s about 9,000 flight hours remaining on each of those airframes on average.” The S-3 was designed to fly for 18,750 hours, meaning most of the airframes in storage are only half way to their first major wing spar inspection.

Other contenders for the COD requirement are likely to be Northrop Grumman with remanufactured or new-build C-2s using systems developed for the new E-2D Hawkeye, and Bell/Boeing with a COD version of the V-22 Osprey.

3 Comments

  • Dane

    says:

    As good as it would be to reuse retired airframes, surely the cost of doing so would be close to that of a new build aircraft?

  • Michael

    says:

    Given Lockheed’s recent track record so far with the F-35 it could end up being even more than a new build in the long run. Anyone know if the other two contenders also incorporate air to air refueling capability or some kind of mission module capabilities for other functions such as ASW?

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    Cheaper when comparing unit acquisition costs, maybe, but not compared to new aircraft development costs.
    Cheers
    Andrew

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