Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA4909 S-3B “VS-21 decommissioning scheme” BuNo 160604, VS-21, USS Kitty Hawk, January 2005. Buy online now at Flying Tigers.
In 1974 the Lockheed S-3 Viking entered service with the USN as a twin-engine jet aircraft used for enemy submarine warfare. By the late 1990’s the role shifted to surface warfare providing the carrier battle group with long range surveillance capabilities and aerial refueling. The S-3 was in production from 1974 until 1978 with 186 (187) aircraft completed. Most airframes saw upgrades to the S-3B and sixteen became ES-3A “Shadow” electronic intelligence collection aircraft. The low pitch sound of the engines earned the S-3 the nickname “Hoover” after the vacuum cleaner.
After 60 years of unit history VS-21 “Red Tails” were decommissioned in February, 2005. Built in 1978 S-3A 160604 c/n 394A-1184 was the 184th of 187 Vikings built and was chosen to wear a special decommissioning paint scheme. The Commander of VS-21 provided photos and information as to what he wanted. A WWII era drawing of a woman was added to each side of the nose as well as modex 710. “NF” tail code was applied only to the starboard side and Bugs Bunny on the port side.