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New images added for HA4903 S-3A Viking BuNo 159769, VS-31 “Topcats” USS Independence, US Navy

New images added for Hobby Master HA4903 S-3A Viking BuNo 159769, VS-31 “Topcats” USS Independence, US Navy. Pre-orders on this 1:72 scale model are being taken at £91.95.

In 1974 the Lockheed S-3 Viking entered service with the USN as a twin-engine jet aircraft used for enemy submarine warfare. By the late 1990’s the role shifted to surface warfare providing the carrier battle group with long range surveillance capabilities and aerial refueling. The S-3 was in production from 1974 until 1978 with 186 (187) aircraft completed. Most airframes saw upgrades to the S-3B and sixteen became ES-3A “Shadow” electronic intelligence collection aircraft. The low pitch sound of the engines earned the S-3 the nickname “Hoover” after the vacuum cleaner.

Early in WWII Scouting Squadron 31 was formed and decommissioned in 1945. In 1948 it was re-established as VC-31 but in 1949 became the Atlantic Fleet’s first VS Squadron when it was tasked to perform carrier-based anti-submarine warfare duties. With the new task came a new name, VS-31 (Anti-Submarine Squadron 31) “Topcats”. In 1973 VS-31 moved their S-2 Trackers to Florida and in 1974 became the first VS deployed on USS Independence. In 1977 VS-31 would once again sail on USS Independence but now equipped with the S-3A Viking.

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