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ES-3 Shadow

The ES-3 Shadow is a United States Navy jet aircraft used to collect and disseminate tactical reconnaissance information. The aircraft resembles the S-3 Viking, from which it is derived, with the addition of numerous antennas and antenna housings.

The ES-3 Shadow replaced the EA-3 Skywarrior[?] and entered fleet service in 1993. The ES-3 was a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, electronic reconnaissance aircraft. It operated primarily with carrier battle groups providing Indications and Warning (I&W) support to the battle group and joint theater commanders. It carried an extensive suite of electronic sensors and communications gear.

All 16 ES-3 aircraft were modified S-3 Viking airframes. The S-3's submarine detection and other maritime surveillance equipment was removed and the weapons bay fitted with avionics racks to accommodate the ES-3's sensors. The first ES-3A was delivered in 1991. U.S. carriers typically deployed with two Shadow aircraft embarked. All ES-3 aircraft were removed from active service and placed in storage by September, 1999.

General characteristics

  • Primary Function: Electronic reconnaissance
  • Contractor: Lockheed-California Company
  • Unit Cost: US$27 million (original airframe) + US$65 million (conversion) = US$92 million
  • Propulsion: Two General Electric TF-34-GE-400B turbofan engines (9,275 pounds of thrust each)
  • Length: 53 feet 4 inches (16 meters)
  • Wingspan: 68 feet 8 inches (20.6 meters)
  • Height: 22 feet 9 inches (6.9 meters)
  • Weight: Max design gross take-off: 52,539 pounds (23,643 kg)
  • Speed: 450 knots (518 mph, 828.8 kph)
  • Ceiling: 40,000 feet
  • Range: 2,300+ nautical miles (2,645 statute miles, 4232 km)
  • Armament: None
  • Crew: Four
  • Date Deployed: September 1993

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