Douglas A-3B “Skywarrior”

Douglas A-3B “Skywarrior” at the New England Air Museum


Type:   Strategic carrier-based bomber
Crew:   3
Armament:   2 X 20mm cannons in tail turret; 12,800 lbs bombs
Length:   &76' 4rdquo;
Height:   22' 9”
Wingspan:   72' 9”
Rotor Diameter:   
Empty Weight:   39,409 lbs.
Gross Weight:   70,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed:   520 mph
Maximum Speed:   610 mph
Range:   2,100 mi.
Service Ceiling:   42,000'
Powerplant:   2 X Pratt & Whitney J57-P-10
Year:   1957
Serial No.:   142246
Location:   Outdoor Display

The “Skywarrior” was designed as a strategic bomber to operate from an aircraft carrier. The test version, XA3D-1, first flew in October, 1952 and in March, 1956, the A3D-1 entered service with the U.S. Navy. One year later, the main production variant, the A3D-2 (later to be re-designated as A-3B) was delivered. For many years, it was the largest and heaviest carrier-based aircraft earning it the unofficial nickname, “The Whale.”

The A-3 was initially used as a bomber, but the aircraft proved to be very adaptable and its roles evolved to include photographic and electronic reconnaissance, electronic warfare, air refueling tanker, high speed transport and trainer. It proved very valuable in the Vietnam War as the EKA-3B in providing intelligence and jamming of enemy radar systems and communications networks, and as the KA-3B for in-flight refueling of attack aircraft. The Skywarrior was retired from service in 1991 as one of the longest serving carrier-based aircraft in history.

While the Navy was the primary user of the aircraft, a derivative, the B-66 “Destroyer,“ also served with the U.S. Air Force as a tactical bomber, electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft until the early 1970's.

This plane was flown to the Museum from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, MD, by Navy Commander Joel H. Graham.

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