The US Navy Becomes Nuclear Strike Capable

On this day in 1947, the US Navy launched two P2 V-3C Neptune aircraft from the USS Coral Sea off of the coast of Virginia. This was the first aircraft carrier launch of any P2 V aircraft.

The P2-V Neptune was a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft designed by Lockheed, with the P2 V-3 C being a version of the P2-V designed to carry nuclear weapons. It was in military service from May of 1945 until 1984, when it was replaced with the Lockheed P-3 Orion.

Their carrier-based launch established the US Navy’s nuclear strike capability. Interestingly, if the P2 V-3C was ever used in a carrier-based nuclear strike, the aircraft would either have to ditch at sea or recover at a land based airfield as it didn’t have the ability to recover on an aircraft carrier.

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