Grumman S-2 Tracker

The Grumman S-2 Tracker (previously S2F prior to 1962) was the first purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to enter service with the U.S. Navy. Designed and initially built by Grumman, the Tracker was of conventional design with twin engines, a high wing and tricycle undercarriage. The type was exported to a number of navies around the world. Introduced in 1952 the Tracker saw service in the USN until the mid-1970s with a few aircraft remaining in service with other air arms into the 21st century. Argentina and Brazil are the last countries to still use the Tracker.

Grumman S-2 Tracker
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Grumman
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1952
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Argentina View
Australia View
Brazil View
Canada View
Japan View
United States of America 1954 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Grumman 1284 View

The Tracker was intended as a replacement for the Grumman AF Guardian, which was the first purpose-built aircraft system for ASW, using two airframes for two versions, one with the detection gear, and the other with the weapon systems. The Tracker combined both functions in one aircraft. Grumman's design (model G-89) was for a large high-wing monoplane with twin Wright Cyclone R-1820 nine cylinder radial engines, a yoke type arrestor hook and a crew of four. Both the two prototypes XS2F-1 and 15 production aircraft, S2F-1 were ordered at the same time, on 30 June 1950. The first flight was conducted on 4 December 1952, and production aircraft entered service with VS-26, in February 1954.

Follow-on versions included the WF Tracer and TF Trader, which became the Grumman E-1 Tracer and Grumman C-1 Trader in the tri-service designation standardization of 1962. The S-2 carried the nickname "Stoof" (S-two-F) throughout its military career; and the E-1 Tracer variant with the large overhead radome was colloquially called the "stoof with a roof."

Grumman produced 1,185 Trackers. Another 99 aircraft carrying the CS2F designation were manufactured in Canada under license by de Havilland Canada. U.S.-built versions of the Tracker were sold to various nations, including Australia, Japan, Turkey and Taiwan.

The Tracker was eventually superseded in U.S. military service by the Lockheed S-3 Viking, the last USN Tracker operational squadron (VS-37 with S-2G models) was disestablished in 1976. The last Navy S-2 was withdrawn from service on 29 August 1976. For many years the TS-2A version of the Tracker was used by US Navy training units including VT-28 Squadron based at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Texas.

A number live on as firefighting aircraft, however. Trackers continued to provide excellent service with the naval forces of other countries for years after the U.S. discontinued them. For example, the Royal Australian Navy continued to use Trackers as front line ASW assets until the mid-1980s.

Role ASW aircraft
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 4 December 1952
Introduction February 1954
Status Active service in Argentine Naval Aviation
Primary users United States Navy (historical)
Royal Canadian Navy (historical)
Royal Australian Navy (historical)
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force(historical)
Argentine Naval Aviation (current)
Brazilian Naval Aviation (current)
Number built 1284
Variants Grumman C-1 Trader
Grumman E-1 Tracer
Conair Firecat

General characteristics

  • Crew: four (two pilots, two detection systems operators)
  • Length: 43 ft 6 in (13.26 m)
  • Wingspan: 72 ft 7 in (22.12 m)
  • Height: 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)
  • Wing area: 485 ft² (45.06 m²)
  • Empty weight: 18,315 lb (8,310 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 23,435 lb (10,630 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 26,147 lb (11,860 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820-82WA radial engines, 1,525 hp (1,137 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 280 mph (450 km/h) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (240 km/h)
  • Range: 1,350 mi (2,170 km) or 9 hours endurance
  • Service ceiling: 22,000 ft (6,700 m)


  • 4,800 lb (2,200 kg) of payload could be carried in the internal bomb bay and on 6× under-wing hardpoints
  • Torpedoes: Mk. 41, Mk. 43, Mk. 34, Mk. 44, or Mk. 46
  • Depth charges: Mk. 54 or naval mines

End notes