Douglas A-3 Skywarrior

The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was a strategic bomber built for the United States Navy and among the longest serving carrier-based jet aircraft. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was not retired until 1991. For many years after its introduction, it was also the heaviest aircraft ever flown from an aircraft carrier. Its primary function for much of its later service life was as an electronic warfare platform and high capacity aerial refueling tanker. 

The Skywarrior is the only Navy attack aircraft intended as a strategic bomber to enter service. The U.S. Navy published its requirement for a long range, carrier-based bomber with a 10,000 pound bomb load in January 1948. The contract was awarded to Douglas Aircraft on 29 September 1948 and the first flight of an A-3 was 22 October 1952. The first A-3, at the time designated as the A3D-1, was assigned to Heavy Attack Squadron ONE (VAH-1) on 31 March 1956.

Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1952
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Douglas Aircraft Company 282 View

Role Strategic bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Designer Ed Heinemann
First flight 28 October 1952
Introduction 1956
Retired 27 September 1991
Status Phased out of service
Primary user United States Navy
Produced 1956–1961
Number built 282
Developed into Douglas B-66 Destroyer


General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 76 ft 4 in (23.27 m)
  • Wingspan: 72 ft 6 in (22.1 m)
  • Height: 22 ft 9.5 in (6.95 m)
  • Wing area: 812 ft (75.4 m)
  • Empty weight: 39,400 lb (17,900 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 70,000 lb (31,750 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 82,000 lb (37,200 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney J57-P-10 turbojet, 10,500 lbf (46.7 kN) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 530 knots (610 mph, 980 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 450 knots (520 mph, 840 km/h)
  • Range: 1,325 mi (2,130 km)
  • Service ceiling 41,000 ft (12,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: ft/min (m/s)
  • Wing loading: 86.2 lb/ft (421 kg/m)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.30

Armament

  • Guns: 2 x 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon in tail turret
  • Bombs: 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) of free-fall bombs, including any combination of
    • 12 x 500 lb (230 kg) Mark 82 bombs or
    • 6 x 1,000 lb (450 kg) Mark 83 bombs or
    • 1,600 lb armor-piercing bombs or
    • 500 lb Mark 50 bombs or
    • 1,000 lb Mark 36 bombs or
    • 2,000 lb Mark 25 mines or
    • 1 x Mark 15 free-fall nuclear weapon

End notes