Nuclear Strike, Tanker, Reconnaissance, and Electronic Warfare Aircraft
Figure 1: Our Skywarrior (S/N 144867) in its Original Form
Called the A3D Skywarrior from 1956 to 1962. Redesignated the A-3 Skywarrior in 1962.
First intended use: nuclear attack bomber. Later used as tactical strike bomber, electronic warfare, reconnaissance, and tanker aircraft.
Called “the Whale,” it was the heaviest aircraft every to take off from an aircraft carrier. However, only slightly heavier than the later F-14.
Served extensively in Vietnam, initially as bombers but later in electronic warfare, reconnaissance, and tanker roles. It was used most heavily as a tanker.
Usually had a crew of three—pilot, bomber/navigator, and rear gunner. Most electronic warfare versions added four electronic warfare specialists, called “crows” or “ravens”
Last used in Desert Strom, 1991.
Served as the basis for the USAF B-66 Destroyer bomber, which replaced the B-26....