The S-3A Viking replaced the piston-engined Grumman S-2 Tracker and entered fleet service in 1974. The S-3 is a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, multi-mission aircraft. It operates primarily with carrier battle groups in anti-submarine warfare roles. It carries automated weapon systems and is capable of extended missions with in-flight refueling.
The last production S-3A was delivered in August 1978. The inventory includes S-3As and S-3Bs. Sixteen S-3As were converted to ES-3 Shadows for carrier-based electronic reconnaissance duties.
On May 1st 2003, US President George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, aboard a Lockheed S-3 Viking, to deliver a speech announcing end of major combat in the Iraq war. The ship was stationed off California in the Pacific Ocean homeward bound from operations to attack Iraq, for this elaborate yet memorable photo-opportunity with airmen and seamen of the US Navy and Marine Corps. Many considered his triumphant presidential speech to be premature as much internal violence and insurgency continued to disrupt civilian life in Iraq throughout 2003 with occupying forces and international agencies (including the International Red Crosscontinuing to suffer many casualties to terrorist and paramilitary action.