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S-2 Tracker

US Navy S-2E Tracker ready for launching from Bennington (CVS-20), 30 November 1967. Note the searchlight on the starboard wing.

The Grumman S-2 Tracker was the first US Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft designed specifically for the purpose.

Its predecessor, the AF-2 Guardian, used two aircraft for ASW, one with the detection gear, and the other with the weapons. This was very inefficient, and the Navy wanted a design that carried both. The replacement aircraft was to carry radar, a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), ECM, acoustic equipment, and a searchlight, and be able to be armed with bombs, mines, torpedos, and rockets.

Grumman's design (model G-89) was for a large high-wing monoplane with twin radial engines.

Both the two prototypes XS2F-1 and 15 production aircraft, S2F-1 were ordered at the same time, on 30 June 1950. First flight was 4 December 1952, and production aircraft entered service, with VS-26, in February 1954.

Followon versions included the WF Tracer and TF Trader, which became the E-1 Tracer and C-1 Trader in the rationalization of 1962.

Versions of the tracker were sold to various nations, including Canada, Australia, and Taiwan.

The Tracker was eventually superseded for military use by the S-3 Viking - the last Tracker squadron was disestablished in 1976 - but a number live on as firefighting aircraft.


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