While I’m on an S-3 roll (Thanks Drew!)
The Iraqi Freedom cruise saw many firsts for the S-3 community, being the first time squadrons deployed with both the SLAM-ER (standard land attack missile extended range) and Maverick missile. For VS-38 we made history by being the only S-3 squadron to fire a warshot in combat when "Jake" 701 accompanied by an FA-18 for target acquisition fired a Maverick missile into Saddam's Yacht which was being used as a command and control communications center. I couldn't find a picture of 701, though I know there are some out there with the "kill" marking on her, but I have a picture here of the target and a VS-38 jet loaded with a Maverick. This mission was one of our few flown during daylight, so I did not participate in the launch, I did work with the ordies that loaded the weapon that night. Boy were they excited when the bird came back with the missile gone!
Wow! I had no idea S-3's were used in the attack role during the Gulf war. Thanks for sharing!
Yep, just that one time. Apparently our Skipper kept after CAG to let us fly the mission until he relented. We wanted to do an inland strike with the SLAM-ER (essentially a Tomahawk), but CAG drew the line there!
Great story, Rob!
Thank you, Navy, for our liberty and the pursuit of those who would threaten it.
Thanks for sharing this epic story with us.
Carlos shot a laser guided Maverick (Echo variant) that night. The pic shows a IR Maverick (Foxtrot variant) loaded up which makes sense for a day event without a buddy (since we didn’t have a laser designator ourselves). SLAM-ER actually stood for “Expanded Response”, not extended range. I heard that a lot.
I was the Operational Test VX squadron project officer for the Maverick Plus system we put on the S-3B aircraft. Very successful program for an airframe the big Navy wasn’t interested in keeping around anymore unfortunately.
Thanks Collin! I am pretty sure it was a day mission though, as I worked as the night FDC, and we loaded the weapon, it launched after I got off and the mission was complete when I got up that afternoon. But that was a long time ago, and honestly most of that time is a bit of a blur, everything kind of mish mashed together in bits and pieces. I know I was always hungry and tired.
The amber/tan nose cone gives it away as a IR Maverick. Laser Maverick has a clear nose with the laser spot tracker on the inside.
Rob, I've read on the web that at one point early on the S-3 (maybe just the prototype?) had transparent glazing over the rear crewmembers. Apparently they couldn't see the scopes with all the extra light so the covers were painted or had vinyl type overlays to keep the light out. (Good explanation for why the panels are a different color. Do they have perforations in them so the crew can see out like vinyl overlays that cover rear windows on commercial vehicles?) I have not been able to find any photos to back this up. What do you know from your time around them?
No light came in from the covered rear canopies. All we had back there at each seat was a small window with a rotating polarization filter on it. Really couldn’t see anything out of it, we called it the “day-night indicator”. When I flew the B-1B, they had a similar window in the backseats.
As I recall, they just let in a bit of light, but were pretty solid.
The paint on that Viking looks pretty worn, so does the yacht !
The tactical paint scheme wore poorly and got filthy quick. Add that to the operational tempo, the birds got beat looking. By the time the war started we had been to sea several months.