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American postwar aircraft


Douglas A3D (A-3) Skywarrior

posted by Jiri Wagner

The A-3 Skywarrior is carrier-borne nuclear bomber, a twin-engined, swept-wing jet aircraft. At the time of its introduction it was the largest and heaviest aircraft ever used on carriers. It was also much used as an electronic warfare vehicle, and by the USAF as the B-66. The ELINT version is know as the EA-3, the tanker version as the KA-3, and a radar test bed as the NRA-3B. The Skywarrior is unique in that it is the largest naval aircraft to routinely operate from an aircraft carrier. The crew in the bomber version consisted of a pilot (left front seat), a bombardier/navigator (front right), and a third-crew/ECM operator (rear facing behind the pilot). The aircraft's large bomb-bay could house everything from heavy ordinance, a tanker refueling package, mines, to nuclear weapons. Missions were flown anywhere from 500 to 40,000 feet depending on the delivery mode. Ordinance was released at high altitude in level flight and by "lay down, pop up, or loft" maneuvers on low level runs.

General characteristics

Primary function Attack (nuclear) bomber
Length 76 ft 23.2 m
Wingspan 72.5 ft 22.1 m
Max. takeoff weight 82,000 lb 37,185 kg
Ceiling 40,000 ft 12,192 m
Crew Three - pilot (left front seat, bombardier/navigator (front right), ECM operator (rear facing behind the pilot).


Take-off and landing on USS Forrestal


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