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Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior (A3-B)

Designed to be the US Navy’s long range strategic nuclear bomber, the A-3 was the largest and heaviest aircraft to regularly operate off an aircraft carrier.

In order to reduce weight so that it could operate off of smaller carriers, Douglas never put ejection seats into A-3's, requiring the crew members to bail out through an escape hatch in the belly.  

When the Navy decided to put their strategic nuclear weapons in submarines, the A-3 was left without a mission.  The size of the A-3 with it’s large bomb bay made it suitable for new jobs, including photo reconnaissance, electronic intelligence gathering (ELINT) and aerial refueling.  

While several A-3's were fitted out to combine the roles, like ELINT and tanking, this sample was a dedicated tanker.  

The A-3 served on carriers until 1988 and were finally withdrawn from service in 1991.  Since they were retired from military service, their size and performance have made them excellent test beds for new radar and weapon systems with several companies.

Service History of 138965

Delivered: July 15, 1957

June 10, 1968 - To KA-3D

Oct 1970-June71 - VAQ-134 ABD USS Ranger

MFG: Douglas

First Produced: 1957

Powerplant: (2) P/W J57-P-10

Thrust: 12,400 lbs each

Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft

Cruise: 520 mph?

Top Speed: 630 mph

Range: 2,800 miles

Empty Weight: 37,077 lbs

Gross Weight: 84,000 lbs

Wing Span: 72’6”

Wing Area: 661.5 sq. ft

Length: 76’4”

Height: 23’6”

Armament: None

Number Built: 282 total

85 KA-3B models