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Posted: 2/8/2010 8:17:40 PM EST
The Navy has ended its bailment contract with Raytheon for the civilian operation of Douglas A-3 Skywarriors.
The bailment ends in March of the year.

Raytheon Flight Operations out of Van Nuys, CA has kept the A-3 flying and making money since the Navy retired them in 1993.

The Navy's plan was to let them "sit" at Mojave, Van Nuys and Davis-Monthan while museums got their shit together to get them.
Raytheon, to their credit, was going to allow them to be "stored" on their (leased) property for the storage fees charged by the respective airports.

The Navy, being the Navy, made the decision this January to scrap every one by March, no ifs ands or buts.

Today the Navy scrapped three of the four A-3's that have been in storage at Mojave, Ca.
Between two of them (142668 & 144838) I have about 180 flight hours them.

Another of the A-3's I flew in was scrapped in 1999, another is stored at Davis-Monthan (soon to be scrapped), one is in storage at Van Nuys and one is on display on board the USS Lexington.

The end is near.

Navy BUNO 142667 (active)
Raytheon Flight Systems at Van Nuys as RAYCO 76. FAA N876RS


Navy BUNO 142668 (scrapped)
Raytheon Flight Systems Mojave.


Navy BUNO 144825 (active)
Raytheon Flight Systems as RAYCO 78 Van Nuys. FAA N878RS.

Navy BUNO 144832 (scrapped)
Raytheon Flight Systems Mojave. FAA N162TB


Navy BUNO 144838 (inactive)
Raytheon Flight Systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 73. FAA N573HA


Navy BUNO 144841 (scrapped)
Raytheon Flight Systems Mojave as RAYCO 72. FAA N572HA


Navy BUNO 144843 (Going to Castle AFB Museum, CA)
Used for Patriot missile tests
Raytheon Flight Systems Mojave as RAYCO 71. FAA N571HA

Navy BUNO 144856 (inactive)
Raytheon Flight systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 70. FAA N870RS

Navy BUNO 144858 (active)
Raytheon Flight Systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 79, FAA N879RS

Navy BUNO 144865 (active)
Raytheon Flight Systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 75. N875RS

Navy BUNO 144867 (inactive)
Hughes Aeronautical testing AWG-9 radar
Raytheon Systems Flight Systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 77. FAA N877RS

Navy BUNO 146454 (inactive)
Raytheon Flight Systems Van Nuys as RAYCO 74. FAA N864RS
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:26:53 PM EST
Adios, Whale Watch

Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:29:56 PM EST
its not even personal for me and I almost cry when they destroy vintage military aircraft.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:31:52 PM EST
Sorry to hear it.

Very sad.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:36:24 PM EST
Wow. I didn't realize there were any still flying.

I've never understood the Navy's determination to destroy such tangible reminders of their history.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:41:00 PM EST


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:44:19 PM EST
I feel for ya.

My first ship was turned into a berthing-barge for bubbleheads.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 8:56:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By wingnutx:
I feel for ya.

My first ship was turned into a berthing-barge for bubbleheads.

Mine was blown in half by bubbleheads.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:08:03 PM EST
Wasn't that the heaviest Navy aircraft to fly off a carrier? I remember the Air Force had a few of those airframes for use in Vietnam. Sad.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:10:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By Depidy_Dawg:
Wasn't that the heaviest Navy aircraft to fly off a carrier? I remember the Air Force had a few of those airframes for use in Vietnam. Sad.


Yes.

No. The USAF bought a bastardized version of the A-3, the B-66.
The USAF used them much like the Navy did once their original mission use was no longer required. R&D, T&E, special missions.

Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:10:09 PM EST
That sucks.



I saw the A-3 on the Lex when I was younger, you flew her? Sweet.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:13:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By TexTJ209:
That sucks.



I saw the A-3 on the Lex when I was younger, you flew her? Sweet.


Flew in her as crew....well, I do have a few hours in her as a pilot.


That's me -and the plane on the Lex, KA-3B 138944 at the 1986 Pt Mugu airshow.



Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:17:57 PM EST
Hughes Aircraft, (bought from GM by Raytheon) used to use them as flying testbeds for various airborne systems.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:20:16 PM EST
What exactly did the aircraft do?
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:24:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/8/2010 9:25:00 PM EST by Pita_146]

Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-3_Skywarrior

ETA: The "K" would specify the Tanker variant.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:24:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By Depidy_Dawg:
Wasn't that the heaviest Navy aircraft to fly off a carrier? I remember the Air Force had a few of those airframes for use in Vietnam. Sad.


Yes.

No. The USAF bought a bastardized version of the A-3, the B-66.
The USAF used them much like the Navy did once their original mission use was no longer required. R&D, T&E, special missions.



Yeah, that's right, the B-66. I remember a lawn ornament of one outside the intel school at Lackland AFB in 1982 when I went through basic.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:25:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/8/2010 9:28:24 PM EST by Depidy_Dawg]
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By TexTJ209:
That sucks.



I saw the A-3 on the Lex when I was younger, you flew her? Sweet.


Flew in her as crew....well, I do have a few hours in her as a pilot.

http://www.air-and-space.com/skywarrior/861019al.jpg
That's me -and the plane on the Lex, KA-3B 138944 at the 1986 Pt Mugu airshow.



Is the side canopy open on that?



Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:27:11 PM EST
Wow, what was it like on approach to a carrier in that beast? Night traps must've been a real hoot!
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:31:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/8/2010 9:37:05 PM EST by KA3B]
Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?


When?

They were originally built as carrier based nuclear bombers, photo recon, elint and trainers.
They were modified into tankers, electronic attack, VIP transport, flying test beds.


The F-14's AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile integration was developed using an A-3.


It was used by the USAF to develop certain stealth aircraft radar systems.


It was also used by the USAF to develop the radar for the Mud Hen....






Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:34:59 PM EST
That's a tribute to the strength and durability of the airframe. impressive.
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:40:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?


When?

They were originally built as carrier based nuclear bombers, photo recon, elint and trainers.
They were modified into tankers, electronic attack, VIP transport, flying test beds.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223066.jpg
The F-14's AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile integration was developed using an A-3.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238517.jpg
It was used by the USAF to develop certain stealth aircraft radar systems.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238512.jpg
It was also used by the USAF to develop the radar for the Mud Hen....

VIP transport? For transporting people faster to carriers?

Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:41:00 PM EST
Do you have any pics of the interior? Not just the front office but the other portions?
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:42:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By FiveO:
Do you have any pics of the interior? Not just the front office but the other portions?










Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:47:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By retgarr:
VIP transport? For transporting people faster to carriers?


The Chief of Naval Operations used one as his personal (office holder perk) jet for 15 years before it was replaced with a G5.
The VIP bird was a converted trainer, from a TA-3B to a VA-3B.
There were three converted, one was converted to an EA-3B (spy plane).




Forward port side view shows table folded out.
Overall configuration could be set up for 6-9 seats (9 with table removed).
Single seat and coat closet on starboard side could be swapped for couch/bunk.
SecNav John Lehman prefered the bunk for catnaps enroute.




Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:50:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?


When?

They were originally built as carrier based nuclear bombers, photo recon, elint and trainers.
They were modified into tankers, electronic attack, VIP transport, flying test beds.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223066.jpg
The F-14's AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile integration was developed using an A-3.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238517.jpg
It was used by the USAF to develop certain stealth aircraft radar systems.

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238512.jpg
It was also used by the USAF to develop the radar for the Mud Hen....


Ok, so basically they kept giving the things nose-jobs.....
Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:56:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By FiveO:
Do you have any pics of the interior? Not just the front office but the other portions?



Pretty crappy photo, not too many people have given up their interior shots of the EA-3B or the ERA-3B for some strange reason.

Link Posted: 2/8/2010 9:59:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/8/2010 10:04:25 PM EST by KA3B]
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?

When?
They were originally built as carrier based nuclear bombers, photo recon, elint and trainers.
They were modified into tankers, electronic attack, VIP transport, flying test beds.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223066.jpg
The F-14's AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile integration was developed using an A-3.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238517.jpg
It was used by the USAF to develop certain stealth aircraft radar systems.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238512.jpg
It was also used by the USAF to develop the radar for the Mud Hen....
Ok, so basically they kept giving the things nose-jobs.....



Even the Army flew them.

Special Activities Detachment One and Two (SAD-1 & SAD 2)


Patriot Missile Development 1985, Fairchild AFB



Link Posted: 2/8/2010 10:13:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/8/2010 10:16:30 PM EST by KA3B]
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By fadedsun:
What exactly did the aircraft do?
When?
They were originally built as carrier based nuclear bombers, photo recon, elint and trainers.
They were modified into tankers, electronic attack, VIP transport, flying test beds.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223066.jpg
The F-14's AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile integration was developed using an A-3.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238517.jpg
It was used by the USAF to develop certain stealth aircraft radar systems.
http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101895_238512.jpg
It was also used by the USAF to develop the radar for the Mud Hen....

Ok, so basically they kept giving the things nose-jobs.....


Some got a tail job...






AIRSAR (Air-to-Air Radar Imaging Measurements) was designed to measure aircraft radar cross sections (RCS) in flight .
BuNo 144856, now with Raytheon, was fitted with a Log-Periodic Dipole Array in a tail extension.
The modification was completed in 1991 and the tests ran for 2 years.


AIRSAR was installed on this A-3 Skywarrior and used to measure a variety of aircraft, including the B-2.
The A-3 carried a crew of five (pilot, two observers, and two radar operators) and provided up to 4 hours of AIRSAR data at flight speeds of 250-300 knots.
The AIRSAR Radar covers VHF, UHF, S, X, and Ku-bands.





Link Posted: 2/8/2010 10:18:27 PM EST
Originally Posted By Depidy_Dawg:
Wasn't that the heaviest Navy aircraft to fly off a carrier?


The C130 beats it by a couple of tons.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 4:19:18 AM EST
Those A3Ds (all three dead) need to be preserved, not scrapped.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 4:32:33 AM EST
This Old Crew Chief feels Your pain.



The Ol' Crew Chief
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:02:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/9/2010 5:03:19 AM EST by Razzman1]
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By FiveO:
Do you have any pics of the interior? Not just the front office but the other portions?


http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_101759_223134.jpg
Pretty crappy photo, not too many people have given up their interior shots of the EA-3B or the ERA-3B for some strange reason.




Wow, that is incredible. Were there any provisions for those guys ejecting from the sensor suite, or bail-out only?

ETA: Disregard. Clearly not ejection seats.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:12:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By c130montana:
This Old Crew Chief feels Your pain.



The Ol' Crew Chief



So do I



Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:13:34 AM EST
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:20:25 AM EST
I saw your bird on the deck of the Lexington last December and some of the others at DM a few years ago. I always loved those things.

Why would the Navy scrap them instead of hanging onto them for historical purposes? It isn't like the Navy doesn't have tons of birds down at DM anyway. I saw more A-4s and A-7s than you could shake a stick at down there.

Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:24:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By AeroE:
They were a common sight on our ramp at McDonnell Aircraft in the early 80's.


Which one?
Tulsa?
Long Beach?
Wichita?
St Louis?
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:25:38 AM EST
I think that's a pretty sexy plane.


Bummer
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:26:13 AM EST
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:29:11 AM EST
It looks like a Warrior . Has a true warrior look to it . Sorry for your OUR loss. Thanks for your service
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:37:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By JSparks:
It looks like a Warrior . Has a true warrior look to it . Sorry for your OUR loss. Thanks for your service


+1

Sorry about your airplane. I always enjoy your aircraft threads too.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:48:13 AM EST
Originally Posted By packinheavy:
I saw your bird on the deck of the Lexington last December and some of the others at DM a few years ago. I always loved those things.
Why would the Navy scrap them instead of hanging onto them for historical purposes? It isn't like the Navy doesn't have tons of birds down at DM anyway. I saw more A-4s and A-7s than you could shake a stick at down there.


It's one less program that the Navy will have to manage.
The Navy still spends money on inactive programs like the A-3, A-4, F-4 and A-7.
Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's still money.
The Navy also makes money on the scrap value of those aircraft.
Remember all of those F-4's I posted a couple years back, the ones that had the protective coatings removed so the USAF could look at them as prospective drones when the "good" USAF F-4's are expended?
A lot of them have been scrapped, more are going to be.

The saving of the A-3's for museums has been hurt by the success of the airframe after the Navy retired it and due to a lack of interest of the public in general.
It's a big airplane, it's not a pointy nosed fighter and it's not sexy.
There are only 4 A-3's in true flying condition, there are another 4 that could be fixed up pretty quick for a "one time flight", and there are another 4-6 that could be made flyable with a lot of money and work.
When the Navy retired the A-3's most of the operable ones were bailed to various companies in Ca, Me and Az with a few here and there.
By 1997 they were all with Hughes/Raytheon at Mojave or Van Nuys.
Had it not been for the bailment programs they would have been flown to various museums and NAS'es for display in 1993.

The Navy has been quietly scrapping A-3's that have been stashed away in odd corners of the USA for 1the past 5 years or so.
There's an A-3 at NAS Key West that's been sitting on the flight line for 17 years waiting to be mounted on a stick, the only reason why it has not been scrapped is because the CO's of the base take pity on the small group of retiree's are trying to get it on display.
If Key West ever gets a CO that does not like the A-3 or does not like the people it's beer can time for it.

My group is trying to get an A-3 from Raytheon, it's going to cost about $35K just to get one up here (fuel, flight crew, ground crew, de-arm, de-mil).
That's not including the cost to get the display site approved, planned and built, to get the display fixture approved, planned and built and to get the aircraft modified to be put on a stick.
We are looking at over $100,000, we have about $12kK in the bank.
It would cost about $100,000 to pull one out of the boneyard for transport on a flat bed to Washington state.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:48:52 AM EST
The Navys stance on their retired airplanes, is just plain fucked up and retarded! Find a WW2 naval plane, dont touch it or they prosicute.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:50:26 AM EST
I can sympathize, for kicks I went and looked up all the ships that were part of the Battle Group I WESTPAC'd with... all of them but the CVN have been chopped up for scrap metal.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 5:51:34 AM EST
I feel your pain.

The first airplane I worked, and the one I had the most time on, was the C-141.

Several years back I was driving past Davis-Monthan and stopped to look through the fence at 141s that were being cut up, destined to become somebody's beer cans.

As I gazed at those dismembered airplanes I felt old.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 6:32:01 AM EST
Excuse my rant - but I really fucking hate it when such older aircraft are just destoyed... I mean - HOW MUCH FUCKING desert space (ie 0% humiditiy) is there in the USA??

The way some JG fuckwit behind a desk saves the few cents spent on storing & maintaining these old aircraft, while the prick in the next office over-orders on stationary supplies makes zero sense

NASA just gave away space shuttle engines for fucks sake

Could these not have been "loaned" to an air museum, or the CAP, or ANYONE NOT OF MIDDLE EAST DESCENT: fuck, sell em to Canada if ya HAVE to!!

One of these aircraft on the back of a flat bed would be a cheap recruiment magnet for the summer airshows

How many WW2 aircraft are now worth a FORTUNE due to them being destroyed en-masse in the late 40's!! Penny pinching bean counting motherfuckers - hope I bump into one of these fuckwits on holiday in Edinburgh, boasting about how he saved the US Defance budget from total wipeout
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 6:43:07 AM EST
Originally Posted By Saddler:
Excuse my rant - but I really fucking hate it when such older aircraft are just destoyed... I mean - HOW MUCH FUCKING desert space (ie 0% humiditiy) is there in the USA??

The way some JG fuckwit behind a desk saves the few cents spent on storing & maintaining these old aircraft, while the prick in the next office over-orders on stationary supplies makes zero sense

NASA just gave away space shuttle engines for fucks sake

Could these not have been "loaned" to an air museum, or the CAP, or ANYONE NOT OF MIDDLE EAST DESCENT: fuck, sell em to Canada if ya HAVE to!!

One of these aircraft on the back of a flat bed would be a cheap recruiment magnet for the summer airshows

How many WW2 aircraft are now worth a FORTUNE due to them being destroyed en-masse in the late 40's!! Penny pinching bean counting motherfuckers - hope I bump into one of these fuckwits on holiday in Edinburgh, boasting about how he saved the US Defance budget from total wipeout


Saddler,
Thats my whole bitch with the Navys stance. If you find a old naval aircraft, it doesnt matter the shape, or condition, they still hold title and WILL NOT release it. There are allot of old WW2 airframes that have been found only to have to remain where they are, left to rot away. You would think they could take the Air Forces stance and if you want to go get it, restore it great its you money and time, but if you have the $$$ to get it out, flying or at least static, it can be yours. They dont give a damn about their history or aviation history at all.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 7:02:38 AM EST
A3's were on my dad's last ship during the Formosa Crisis of 1957-1958. These A3's carried nukes at that time.

Link Posted: 2/9/2010 7:18:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/9/2010 7:20:02 AM EST by AeroE]
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 7:22:33 AM EST
The USAF is a bit better than the Navy, but they have their moments too. When the old Florence, SC Air & Space Museum closed up about 15 years ago, they had a B-26K that was a veteran of many missions in VN with the 56th SOW. Since it was on loan from the AF, it could not be sold. The USAF sent a survey team around to look at all the former USAF planes in the museum. They decided some could be sent to other museums, but for some reason they had a hard on about the B-26. They insisted it had too much corrosion to be allowed to remain intact. I am sure it was rusted in some areas of the airframe, but this was never going to be a flyable aircraft again anyway, so who gave a hoot about corrosion. Several air museums were begging to get it, but the USAF flat refused and ordered it destroyed. Me and several others in the Florence area started a letter writing campaign to the congress critters, but it did no good. It broke my heart to see the B-26K cut up and completely destroyed. I doubt there are many SE Asia combat veteran airframes left. This was a senseless act, especially with museums lined up to come in, dismantle and truck out the old bird.
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 7:24:21 AM EST
Originally Posted By KA3B:
Originally Posted By retgarr:
VIP transport? For transporting people faster to carriers?


The Chief of Naval Operations used one as his personal (office holder perk) jet for 15 years before it was replaced with a G5.
The VIP bird was a converted trainer, from a TA-3B to a VA-3B.
There were three converted, one was converted to an EA-3B (spy plane).

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223076.jpg

http://media1.razorplanet.com/media/42440-9650/images_lg/42440_100237_223083.jpg
Forward port side view shows table folded out.
Overall configuration could be set up for 6-9 seats (9 with table removed).
Single seat and coat closet on starboard side could be swapped for couch/bunk.
SecNav John Lehman prefered the bunk for catnaps enroute.







That is one cheesy looking interior.....
Link Posted: 2/9/2010 7:35:18 AM EST
Originally Posted By Frank_The_Tank:
That is one cheesy looking interior.....


Best that a bunch of Enlisted could do in the late 60's.

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