Aircraft Gallery

EKA-3 Skywarrior

SPECIFICATIONS:

Crew: 3
Length: 76 ft 4 in (23.27 m)
Wingspan: 72 ft 6 in (22.10 m)
Height: 22 ft 9½ in (6.95 m)
Empty weight: 39,409 lb (17,876 kg)
Loaded weight: 70,000 lb (31,750 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney J57-P-10 turbojet, 10,500 lbf (46.7 kN) dry (12,400 lbf (55.3 kN with water injection))[35] each
Maximum speed: 530 knots (610 mph, 982 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Cruise speed: 452 knots (520 mph, 837 km/h)
Range: 1,826 nmi (2,100 mi, 3,380 km)
Ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,495 m)
Guns: 2 20 mm M3L cannon in the tail turret[36]
Bombs: 12,800 pounds (5,800 kg) of free-fall bombs or mines,[36] including any combination of[8]
12 500 pounds (230 kg) Mark 82 bombs or
6 1,000 pounds (450 kg) Mark 83 bombs or
8 1,600 pounds (730 kg) armor-piercing bombs or
4 2,000 pounds (910 kg) bombs
1 free-fall nuclear weapon

Popularly known as “The Whale”, the EKA-3 Skywarrior was the largest aircraft regularly flown from carriers. Designed as a nuclear bomber, the A-3 instead served in several roles which capitalized on its size, including electronic warfare which employed an extensive array of sensors and jammers. However, the Whale’s most enduring service was as a flying gas station, refueling other aircraft in mid-flight. Tucked away under the belly is the basket-shaped refueling drogue which connected the fuel hose to the receiving aircraft’s probe.

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