The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior is a Strategic bomber originally designed to deliver Nuclear weaponry from the decks of U.S. Carriers
About this creation
The Douglas A-3 (A3D at the time) Skywarrior first flew in 1952, its main design role was to deliver Nuclear bombs at high altitude into the soviet union from american aircraft carriers, The Skywarrior was and still is the heaviest operational aircraft to operate from aircraft carriers, gaining the nickname "the whale"
The A-3 had a crew of 3, the pilot and bombardier/navagator sat next to each other with the third member sat behind the pilot and had control of the electronic conter-measures and twin tail 20mm cannons that equipped early versions of the aircraft. to save weight, the A-3 was Not equiped with ejector seats, this lead to the joke that A3D stood for "all 3 Dead", a widow of a A-3 crew-member killed over vietnam in 1973 later sued douglas for not installing ejector seats.
the A-3 could carry up to 5,443 kg (12,000 lb) of ordnance in its internal bomb bay, and some convention bombing missions were carried out in the early years of the vietnam war, however this role would be taken over by smaller, faster attack aircraft and fighter bombers later in the war. for the most part the A-3 would operate in the tanker, electronic warfare and reconnaissance roles
the A-3 Had one of the longest careers among Carrier based aircraft, spanning from the mid 1950s all the way untill the last ones were reitred in 1991, just enought time to also be involved in the first gulf war where it operated in the electronic warfare role, after it was retired from the U.S navy, the A-3 was used as a civilian operated testbed with a few select companies, mainly the Hughes Aircraft Company (later Raytheon), the last aircraft in operation with them was retired onn 30 June 2011, 56 years after the type's first flight