The twin-engine S-2A (S2F-1) Tracker, introduced in 1954, was the first carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft specifically designed to combine the detection and attack roles in a single aircraft. As early models of the S-2 were replaced some were modified to utility versions such as the US-2B. The S-2 airframe also served as the basis for the carrier based C-1 Trader transport and E-1B Tracer early-warning aircraft. Converted S-2 Trackers continue to fly today as fire-fighting aircraft with the California Department of Forestry.The anti-submarine varient of the Tracker was equipped with a wide array of electronics and sensors capable of detection, localization, and classification of submarine contacts. The S-2A was fitted with a wing-mounted 85 million candle power searchlight, retractable magnetic anomaly detector, electronic counter measures equipment and 20 sonobuoy dispenser tubes in the rear of the engine nacelles. The S-2Bs were later converted from S-2As by adding Jezebel acoustic echo ranging system. The S-2C features a larger weapons bay to facilitate the use of a bigger ASW torpedo. They were replaced in the fleet by the S-2D and S-2E, distinguished from their predecessors by an increased wingspan and a lengthened fuselage. Greater internal fuel capacity increased the range of the later models.
“Stoofs” (for S-two-F) were one of the strongest and most versatile Navy aircraft ever built. More than a thousand have been produced for the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, nationalist China, Thailand, and Uruguay.
Specifications S-2 Tracker
- Crew(S-2A): 4 man crew (pilot, co-pilot & two ASW operators)
- Length: S-2A,B,C 42’0” (S-2D,E 43’6”)
- Height: S-2A,B,C 16’4” (S-2D,E 16’7”)
- Wing Span: S-2A,B,C 69’8” (S-2D,E 72’7”)
- Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-82WA Cyclone
- Horsepower at takeoff: 1,525 bhp
- Max speed (Sea Level): S-2A,B,C 229 kts. (S-2D,E 210 kts.)
- Cruising Speed: 130 kts.
- Service Ceiling: S-2A,B,C 22,000’ (S-2D,E 19,000’)
- Combat Range: S-2A,B,C 841 nm. (S-2D,E 1000 nm.)
- Weapons: Nuclear depth charges, conventional depth bombs, five inch rockets, Zuni rockets and homing torpedoes
- Combat Endurance: S-2A,B,C 6.5 hrs.; S-2D,E 7.7 hrs.