The End Draws Closer

by Steve on December 5, 2006

I’m begining to understand how Pinch felt when the F-14 took to the skies for the last ride. A sure sign that your aircraft is being phased out of fleet duty is the sight of one being craned aboard the USS Yorktown, now a floating museum.

From the Charleston Post:

In a 13-ton feat of heavy lifting, a Navy S-3 Viking jet will be hoisted onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Yorktown on Wednesday, the first plane added to the ship’s fleet in 13 years.

The jet was flown to Charleston Air Force Base from Coronado, Calif. At the base, its fuel, avionics and ejection seats were removed. At 2 a.m. Monday, it will be towed down Remount Road to the State Ports Authority North Charleston Terminal where it will be loaded on a barge. At 7 a.m. Wednesday, the barge will leave the terminal for a journey down the Cooper River to the Yorktown. At high tide two hours later, a crane will lift the aircraft onto the flight deck, he said.

If everything went as planned, they’re getting ready to lift her aboard right about now. At least that’s one Viking that was saved from the shredder. The beginning of the end. Actually the beginning took place back in 1992 when the Viking fleet became one squadron less. VS-28 was disestablished (Navy word, not mine) and went quietly into the history books as a footnote. Then in 1994 VS-27, the east coast Fleet Replacement Squadron, followed. Both fell victim to the Clinton draw-down or so called “peace dividend.” Those two squadrons, my fleet career, have been forgotten for it would be almost ten years before another Viking squadron closed down. Enough of a gap that you don’t see 27 or 28 included in the community roster, no articles on their history and their insignia are gone as well. 1992 was the beginning of the end for the Viking community; “No longer needed.” A sobering, depressing thought for a fleet aviator – your ride is going away.


H/T to reader Jason for the news on Yorktown.


pinch December 7, 2006 at 22:04


Hang in there, pard. Aside from feeling ancient, it ain’t that bad.


badbob December 8, 2006 at 22:35


Gee what about VS-37? Same timeframe. Fastforward- Only sqadrons left are VS-22, 24, 31, and 32. 24 decomms in March. (2) scheduled deployments left. Middle of 2009 adios Viking.

re- “Both fell victim to the Clinton draw-down or so called “peace dividend.”

Actually, PAA of 6 did it along with reduced # of $$ for enough S-3B’s.. Intruder rewing, LGBs deficiencies and Bombcat sucked off the $$$’s too.

Cheer up. Go to Viking East in January. Things ain’t that bad. I promise you the Viking will fly for years around the world. Maybe even in the US.

The Viking will get the last laugh on BlackJack Nathman. Scouts honor. You’ll be surprised what the future holds. Did you know that the S-3 Full Scale Fatigue Test completed in late 2004 established a new S-3 airframe life of nearly 23,000 hours? The average S-3 flying, in the desert or even on sticks have 12000 on ’em. Do the math and tell someone.

The S-3’s aren’t being crushed like the turkeys that have zero fatigue life left (Titan Corp) and they’re not going to make a reef like the Intruders so they could never be re-used and threaten Hornet Sharia like 1996.

re- the legacy: Go to the CSCWL website. Soon there will be a data call for a Be there or B2.


Steve December 8, 2006 at 23:24

Hmmm… VS-37. Stand-up, oops – just kidding, stand-down. You’re right, forgot about that one.

Scouts honor – heh. Bet you know Chum, don’t cha?

23,000 hours?!?! Gives me the chivers thinking about it. Slam an old plane into the deck repeatedly and you start to wonder, “How much longer am I going to get away with this?”

Steve December 8, 2006 at 23:32

Or was that VS-35 I was thinking of??

badbob December 9, 2006 at 13:11

As an aside, VS-35 went away once in the 80’s, then came back in 90 (?) and finally went away in 2005..all trivia I reckon.

Never was a Scout. Writing it just came out. Like I said I’m an old one Steve.

re airframe- basically means we could continue flying ’em off the deck for another 25-30 years! Bottom line Steve. All F-18 A/B are flying on borrowed time (centerbarrell cracks), C’s aren’t far behind, the EA-6B is so close to FLE they have serious limitations, the P-3 is a slippery slope structurally and the E-2 is fast approaching the edge. Hell even the SuperHornet (probably from all that carried to tank) is showing accelerated FLE early….

LM got really lucky with the S-3 box’s aluminum and the community applied the right corrective actions at the right time. Something y’all should be proud of.

That dog looks guity on da bed or he’s watching the door. My setters are never allowed on furniture, but back in the early 80’s my first used to jump off as soon as I opened the garage door. How’d I know? Those old waterbeds would slosh around for as few minutes. Never caught her up thar though! Little sneak.


Steeljaw Scribe December 11, 2006 at 13:59

Unlike the Hornet Lite, Prowler, P-3 and F-14, the E-2 is still rolling off prodction lines and will for several more years to come. Projected to last through 2050 — then, well, shoot we’ll all be replaced by UCAVs and airships floating on the edge of space. Hmm, mindless ‘bots and gasbags, sounds like some of the folks I’ve known over the years 😉 BTW, personal take is that i think it was a mistake to through the Viking overboard, but hey, what do I know. I’m not one of those smart new business practices folks that are populating the staffs these days.
As for the decomms — definitely feel for you. I’ve taken two squadrons into that quiet goodnight, one as CO (which really hurt as it was one of the “originals” from the 1967 split) as well as participated in CVW-13/Coral Sea’s decomm. Not fun.

Steeljaw Scribe December 11, 2006 at 14:01

(stupid keyboard)
through = throw
i = I

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