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Home Base: Addison, TX
Operation: Central and Eastern USA
Model: S2F-1
Wing Span:
68' 8"
Length: 46' 0"
Height: 16' 3"
Max Speed: 263 mph
Gross Weight: 26,000 lbs
Power Plant: 2 x Wright 1820-82B
Horsepower: 1,525 each
Fuel Capacity: 526 gallons
Armament: 6 - 100 lb bombs or 6 - 5" rockets on wing hardpoints, 1 - mk.46 Torpedo or 2 depth charges in Torpedo Bay.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum's Grumman S2F-1 Tracker

The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is the owner and operator of this Grumman S2F-1 Tracker
which is available for airshows, flybys and film.

To meet a Navy requirement for an aircraft combining search and attack capability in the carrier based antisubmarine role, Grumman designed a twin engine, high wing monoplane with 1,525 HP Wright R-1820-82WA piston engines, internal weapons bay, retractable search radar and 70 million candle power search light. To help locate a submarine under the water, the airplane was given a Magnetic Anomaly Detector, which was mounted in a retractable tail boom and sonobouy tubes with the equipment for picking up the sounds made by the submarine.

The first flight of a Grumman S2F-1 was made December 4, 1952. The first S2F-1 squadron was Antisubmarine Squadron TWO SIX (VS-26), entering service in February 1954. The airplane received the nickname of "STOOF" (S-Two-F). Torpedoes, depth charges and rockets were used for offensive measures, including its biggest "stick", a nuclear depth charge. The fuel tanks could contain 520 gallons of aviation gas, enough for a combat range of 841 sea miles or a 6 hours flight. The cruising speed was 130 knots and the top speed was 230 knots. A total of 755 S-2F-1's were built.

During the early years of the Cold War, the primary threat to the superiority of the U.S. Navy was not an enemy surface fleet but the numerous Soviet submarines that regularly patrolled the world's oceans. In response to this very real threat, Grumman designed the S2F-1 in the early 1950s as the U.S. Navy's premier sub hunter. Outfitted with the latest submarine detection equipment, the S2F-1 Tracker revolutionized anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Variations of the basic S2F-1 design were developed to serve many functions including: fire bombing, target towing, photo-reconnaissance, Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) and multi-engine proficiency training.

Also called the “Stoof” (S-Two-F), the Tracker's twin engines and crew of four allowed the plane
to search hundreds of miles of ocean on each patrol, ensuring that American carrier groups could proceed without harassment from Soviet subs. The S2F carried a search radar mounted on the bottom of the fuselage in a retractable radome, a retractable magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) mounted at the base of the tail fin and air-launched sonobuoys carried in the ends of both engine nacelles. The Tracker's armament included ASW torpedoes, bombs, depth charges and rockets. It is interesting to note the unique wing folding mechanism of the Tracker, the right wing folds slightly forward while the left wing folds slightly aft. This allows the wings to remain nearly flat on top of the cabin, reducing the plane's width by nearly 40 feet.

The S2F-1 was a very successful design. It was sold to several countries including Australia and Argentina. Additionally, the Tracker was produced under contract in Canada by de Havilland. The “Turbo Tracker,” a version of the plane refitted with turboprop engines, is still in service in Brazil and Taiwan. The ultimate conversion of the “Stoof” was the E-1B “Tracer,” an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft. The Tracer featured a massive radome mounted on the top of the fuselage earning the E-1B the nickname “Stoof with a Roof.” The Tracer's radar system had a search radius of some 250 miles, and the E-1B saw extensive service in Vietnam as the U.S. Navy's “eye in the sky.”

The Cavanaugh Flight Museum's S2F-1 (BuNo. 136431 ) was accepted by the U.S. Navy in 1957. Assigned to the Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 37, it completed one deployment aboard the U.S.S. Philippine Sea (CVS-47). The aircraft was converted into a US-2B (the unarmed utility and training version of the Tracker) in 1964 and served with various U.S. Navy squadrons. Last stationed at N.A.S. Corpus Christi with Combat Training Wing (COMTRAWING) 4, the museum's Tracker was retired in January 1979. During its service with the Navy, it accumulated nearly 11,000 flight hours and performed more than 650 catapult launches.

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Cavanaugh Flight Museum
4572 Claire Chennault
Addison, Texas  75001

Phone: (972) 380-8800

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