Sea Control Squadron FORTY ONE [VS-41]
VS-41 is the United States Navy's Fleet Replacement Squadron for the S-3B aircraft. The mission of VS-41 is to indoctrinate and train Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, and enlisted Aircrew in S-3 type/model systems and tactics in order to provide a maximum level of air combat readiness in the fleet forces. To assist in this mission the squadron utilizes a complex series of trainers and simulators that use state of the art technology to realistically simulate flight and combat scenarios.
Sea Control Squadron 41 (VS-41) was commissioned on June 30, 1960 in response to the Navy's need to conduct sea-based Under Sea Warfare (USW) operations from aircraft carriers throughout the world. The original aircraft assigned for this mission was the Grumman S-2F1 "Tracker." Flying from CVS carriers, these S-2 series aircraft were instrumental in protecting our Naval forces well into the seventies.
On January 21st 1972, the first flight of the Navy's S-3A "Viking" ushered in a new era in Under Sea Warfare. Built by Lockheed, this carrier based, twin-turbofan jet dramatically improved the Anti-Submarine warfare and Surface Surveillance capability of our Navy. VS-41 received it's first S-3A on 20 February 1974. By the mid 1980's the first reworked and improved S-3B was flown. This technological leap brought the S-3 to the forefront of surface and sub-surface warfare. Transition to this state of the art upgrade was completed in 1990.
VS-41 has trained all east and west coast fleet S-3 squadrons in the new weapon systems since September 1994. The aircraft's high speed computer system processes information generated by acoustic and non-acoustic target sensor systems. This includes the Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) and ESM systems suites. To destroy processed targets, the Viking employs an impressive array of airborne weaponry, including the Harpoon anti-surface missile, Maverick missile, and MK-46/MK-50 torpedo. This provides the fleet with an effective airborne capability to combat the significant threat presented by modern surface and subsurface combatants. Additionally, all S-3B aircraft are capable of carrying an inflight refueling "buddy" store. This allows the transfer of fuel from the Viking to other Naval strike aircraft, thus extending their combat radius.
A variant of the Viking took to the skies in the early 1990's. Designated the ES-3A "Shadow," this aircraft filled the electronic surveillance void left by the departure of the EA-3 "Skywarrior." One squadron on each coast was established and utilized the designation VQ. This aircraft served as the over the horizon "ears" for the modern carrier battlegroup.
VS-41 flies in excess of 10,000 hours per year, qualifying approximately 50 fleet pilots and 80 tactical coordinators (TACCO's). Additionally, all pilots are refreshed or initially qualified for day and night carrier operations: the heart of Naval Aviation.
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