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January 13, 2016

US Navy’s S-3B Viking aircraft embarks on its last flight

The last of the US Navy's S-3B Viking series made its final flight at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, after being in service for more than 40 years.

By Srijanee Chakraborthy

Viking

The last of the US Navy’s S-3B Viking series made its final flight at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, after being in service for more than 40 years.

Incorporated into service in 1974, it served as a replacement of the S-2 Tracker.

The S-3B Viking offered varied services, ranging from its anti-submarine warfare missions to serving in the fields of organic tanking, electronic intelligence, and carrier onboard delivery.

"They still have life in them but it was time for another depot-level maintenance period."

The aircraft was recalled to serve in another capacity in the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 fleet after it officially retired from navy service in 2009.

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast was assigned with the task of refurbishing the S-3, while captain John Rousseau, along with the VX-30 team, assumed the responsibility to qualify and validate their skills with the aircraft.

The first of three Vikings with VX-30 was decommissioned in November last year. The last of the retired Viking series is expected to serve one more round of federal service with Nasa before its retirement.

Rousseau said: "They still have life in them but it was time for another depot-level maintenance period, and you have to weigh that cost against the little time you could still get out of them.

"So many amazing people have been associated with the S-3 community over the years.

"This last navy flight is difficult. It feels like the end of an era."


Image: The last two US Navy S-3B Viking aircraft soar over Laguna Peak at Naval Base Ventura County, California. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Scott Dworkin/Released.

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