First page
History of the S-2 Tracker
The types that were built
Who operated the Tracker?
De squadrons en hun emblemen
Photo Gallery
More Trackers on the web
All the Trackers built
Memories about the Tracker
E-mail me!
Tracker goodies
Tracker new(s)
looking old mates?

USA (United States Navy/United States Marines Corps)

More than 1200 Trackers were built for use by the United States Navy. Many of these were finally delivered to friendly countries, lots of them via the Mutual Defence Aid Program (MDAP). The first Tracker was delivered to the Navy in October 1953 and sent to VS-23. A total of 32 squadrons have used Trackers for patrol, test, traget towing, transport, training, (photo) reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
Mid-1977 all ASW Trackers were replaced by S-3 Vikings. The last S-2 was taken out of service in March 1986. This was an ES-2D of the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kwajawalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Today, many Tracker remain in storage at the AMARC in the desert of Arizona. Many organizations still use the Tracker, like the California Forestry Department and the Museum of Wing&Things at Anderson, Indiana, that demonstrates a US-2B at air shows.

Argentina (Comando Aviacion Naval Argentina)

On Februari 6, 1962 the Argentinian Navy received six S-2As that were based at BAN Punta Indio. They later moved to BAN Comandante Espora. The Trackers were also frequently based onboard the aircraft carrier 'A.R.A Independencia' (V-1). In June 1967 one extra S-2F was added to the squadron.
After the Independencia was withdrawn from use in December 1968, the Trackers could not fly from any carrier for a short period of time. But on November 23, 1969 the first S-2 landed on the deck of 'A.R.A. 25de Mayo' (V-2)(Patch), the former Dutch carrier 'HMS Karel Doorman' that was taken over by the Argentinians.
The first of six 'new' S-2Es arrived at Comandante Espora in May 1978. Due to the growing use of the S-2s and the A-4Q Skyhawks &emdash; also based onboard the 25de Mayo &emdash; the CANA developed a requirement for a transport aircraft that could fly personnel and supplies to the fleet: COD = Carrier Onboard Delivery. Therefore three S-2As were converted to transporter and designated a US-2A. In April 1988 the last US-2A was withdrawn. The Argentinian Trackers haven't operated from the carrier since mid-1990, when the ship was laid up.
In order to extend the life of the Tracker, the government decided in 1989 to modernize the aircraft with new turbo engines and ASW equipment. Six Trackers are upgraded and delivered since. The Trackers are based at BAN Comandante Espora, Bahia Blanca and serve for 1 Escuadrilla Anti-Submarina. From 1993 the Argentine Trackers fly from the Brazilian aircraftcarrier Minas Gerias during joint-maritieme exercises, mostly each year. Even though the Trackers could stay operational for many more years, the future of these S-2Ts looks uncertain. The CANA has received five P-3 Orions and '25de Mayo' was scrapped.

Australië (Royal Australian Navy)

The RAN received 30 S-2E/G Trackers from 1967 for the benefit of ASW. The aircraft were sent to two squadrons: VS-816 and VC-851. The first one frequently based onboard 'HMAS Melbourne', that joined the RAN in 1956. VC-851 Squadron was the Nowra based training squadron. This squadron did deploy occasionally to various parts of the Australian coastline on operational surveillance tasks. The only other Australian aircraft lost was from the deck of HMAS Melbourne in Feb 1975 (153608) flown by Leut Greg Rulf (Pilot) with Leut Barry Bromfield (TACCO) and SBLT ‘Noddy’ Palmer and Chief Petty Officer Joe Kroger in the back seats. After the carrier was withdrawn from service in 1982, the Trackers operated only from land bases. A tragic event took place in 1976 when nine Trackers were badly damaged in a hangar fire. In 1984 the last Trackers were withdrawn from use and succeded by P-3 Orions.
The RAN Historical Flight still owns a airworthy Tracker. The S-2 can often be seen at airshows in Australia. The aircraft has its original colour scheme.(Markings)

Brazil (Força Aerea Brasileira)

The FAB received 13 S-2As in 1961 and the were locally designated P-16As. After the carrier 'NAel Minas Gerais' was taken into service, the aircraft were deployed onboard regularly. Three S-2s were used for transport and called UP-16As by the Brazilians.
The S-2As were replaced by eight S-2Es (P-16Es) eventually. These newer models were also based onboard the 'Minas Gerais'. Due to the ageing of the aircraft, a contract was made with IMP in Halifax (Canada) for the modernization of eight S-2Es to Turbo-Trackers. But because the FAB was not satisfied with the results, only one S-2 was converted. The operations with the Trackers lasted untill mid-1996. The costs for maintenance were to high and the aircraft were stored.
The future of the Tarcker of the FAB is unclear, especially because the FAB has ordered some second-hand P-3 Orion from US stocks. All S-2s are now put up for sale. The majority of these aircraft is in storage at PAMA São Paulo, while the sole Turbo-Tracker is still at Santa Cruz, the former home base.(Markings)

Canada (Royal Canadian Navy/Canadian Forces)

The first Tracker was delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy on October 13, 1956. In January 1959 the first Trackers were based onboard the aircraft carrier 'HMCS Bonaventure'. These deployments lasted untill December 1969, when the carrier was laid up. Except in the ASW-role, the Trackers were also used in the role of fisheries patrol and northern sovereignty patrols as well as secondary SAR duties up to the time of their retirement. The aircraft also had a new weapons system late in its operational career. That was the CRV-7 air to surface rocket. This would have been employed in an anti-shipping role had the need arisen. The final Trackers were withdrawn by MR-880 in 1990. Most roles were taken over by the CP-140 Aurora.

Italy (Aeronatica Militaire Italiana)

The AMI received its first Grumman S-2s in 1957. The aircraft were sent to two squadrons and based at Sigonella on Sicily. The Italians received ten Trackers without a wingfoldingsystem (148294-148303). In 1978 the Trackers were replaced by Brequet Atlantics. A number of S-2s were kept in storage on the airport of Napels for years. These aircraft were finaly scrapped.

Japan (Japan Maritime Self Defence Force)

Japan is an island very much dependent on ASW aircraft: on the other site of the seas are countries like North Korea. Therefor Japan received about 50 S-2s in 1957 as part of MDAP. After the US Navy, the JMSDF became the force with the most Trackers. The last S-2 was withdrawn in 1984 after Japan had chosen the P-3 as their succeeder.

South-Korea (Republic of Korea Navy/Republic of South Korea Air Force)

Not much is known about the Trackers of South-Korea. Probably only two S-2s were received initially, followed by some 24 S-2Es between 1976 and 1981. Trackers were used by both navy and air force. The navy used the aircraft for ASW and coastal patrols; the air force used them for electronic warfare. These special S-2s had black undersides. The aircraft were replaced by P-3C Orions in 1995.

Peru (Fuerza de Aviacion Naval)

The 'flying navy' of Peru received a total of nine Grumman S-2E Trackers, that were delevered from 1976 on. After some accidents an S-2G was purchased in the 1980s. According to unconfirmed reports the Trackers are no longer in active service. The home base of the aircraft was Jorge Chávez (Lima). No replacement was ordered.

Taiwan (Republic of China Air Force)

Taiwan received its first of 37 Trackers in 1978: S-2As, S-2Es and S-2Gs. In 1991 the first of these Trackers arrived at AIDC in Taichung for converion to S-2T Turbo Tracker. A total of 22 S-2Es and S-2Gs received turbo engines.
All S-2s are in service with the air force and based at Pingtung AB. The aircraft are not capable to deter the growing Communist Chinese Navy and especially their submarine fleet. Taiwan needs ASW aircraft with more flying range, but as long as the US won't allow the delivery of P-3 Orions, the S-2Ts will stay in the front lines, but for how long? Brian Hsu of Taipei Times reported December 12th 2000: "At a budget meeting the Navy's chief of staff said that more than three-quarters of the fleet of 40-year-old planes had been incapable of flying missions recently. The navy admitted yesterday that only a small percentage of its anti-submarine aircraft have been operational recently. The navy would like to retire the aging fleet, but has nothing to replace them with. Navy chief of staff Vice Admiral Chang Wen-ping said that only 23.8 percent of 26 of the S-2T anti-submarine aircraft in the service are operational. The figure means that only six of the operational S-2Ts are capable of carrying out a mission, raising an alarm about the navy's anti-submarine capabilities. "The figure was true only for three days [recently]. It comes as a result of an ongoing comprehensive check of all the S-2Ts for suspected generator problems. By Dec. 24, mission-capable aircraft of the S-2T fleet will increase to nine," Chang said, adding that the number will further increase to 13 by January 20. Chang made his remarks yesterday during a budget screening session of the defense committee in the legislature. Chang revealed the poor condition of the S-2Ts, the only fixed-wing anti-submarine aircraft in the armed forces, as he sought for support from defense committee members for a proposed NT$1.43 billion allocation to buy spare parts for the aircraft next year. "Except for these three days, we have kept the operation ratio of S-2Ts at 51 percent over the past 10 months. If we can get enough money next year, we can raise the operation ratio of the aircraft to 71 percent," Chang told the lawmakers. "Actually we need more money than our proposal asks for," Chang said. Despite Chang's persuasive efforts, committee members, following negotiations, still decided to cut the proposed allocation for the S-2T spare parts by NT$140 million. KMT lawmaker Chou Cheng-chih, a retired general, said he doubts the navy needs to keep "so many anti-submarine aircraft that are in such bad shape." A disappointed Chang expressed regrets over the committee's failure to fully support the navy's efforts to extend the service life of the aircraft, which are more than 40 years old. "The NT$140 million cut will greatly affect our plans to keep the S-2Ts in normal operation conditions. It will kill us!" Chang told the Taipei Times. "We wish to buy the P-3C from the US to replace the S-2T. We are still making an effort to talk the US into selling us the new anti-submarine aircraft," he said. Air force chief of staff Lieutenant General Chou Wen-chung came to the navy's aid, telling defense committee members that it is very difficult to maintain operation of the S-2Ts under current conditions. The S-2Ts were in service with the air force beginning in the mid-1970s before being re-attached to the navy in July 1998. "Taiwan is the only country in the world which is still using this type of aircraft (that is not true, Argentine and Thailand still do). The aircraft is already out of production. We are not sure whether we can get the spare parts we need for the planes even if we are fully subsidized," Chou said."

Thailand (Royal Thai Naval Air Division)

In 1967 or 1968 Thailand received 10 S-2Fs for anti-submarine warfare and 2 US-2Cs for transport and support. They were based at U-Tapao. Thailand is one of the very few countries that still have Trackers in active service. In 1995 the first P-3 Orion was delivered to the Royal Thai Navy and the days of the S-2s seemed numbered. The feared decision failed to occur and it still appears that the S-2s will carry on for some time. About five aircraft are still kept operational at naval base U-Tapao.

Turkey (Turk Donama Havaciligi)

The Turkish Navy received its first Trackers in 1971. They were 8 S-2As from the Dutch Navy (MLD) and a single S-2A of the US Navy. All aircraft were sent to 301 Filo at Bandirma and mostly used for training. At least one (ex MLD s/n 146) S-2A was rebuild for target-towing duties in the 1980s but unfortunately crashed in 1986. Early 1972 the Turkish Navy purchased 12 S-2Es for ASW missions and between 1978 and 1987 another 18 S-2Es were delivered. This was also the end of the S-2As. Nowadays only two S-2As (both ex MLD) are preserved, one at the marine museum at Golcuk and one at the gate of Naval Air Station Topel. Identity of both are unknown.
Turkey was the last European country to fly the Tracker. Today these aircraft are in storage at various locations. Some of them were spotted at Murted air base (Akinçi) with Turkish Aerospace Industries, and others are stored at naval base Topel. A deadly accident on 15 July 1993 lead to the withdrawal of the Trackers. An able replacement hasn't been found yet. An other option is to equip the old Tracker with turbo engines.(Markings)

The Netherlands (Marine Luchtvaart Dienst)

The Dutch Navy received 28 S-2As from the US in 1960 as a replacement for the Grumman Avengers. The MLD got another 17 CS-2F-1s via the Royal Canadian Navy. Three squadrons (VSQ 1, 2 and 5) operated the Trackers from the aircraft carrier Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman and VSQ 320 flew them from Valkenburg naval airbase.
After the Karel Doorman was sold to Argentina in 1968, the Tracker were permanently based at Valkenburg. Between 1968 and 1972 a total of 18 S-2As were converted to S-2Ns. The remaining aircraft went to Turkey. In 1972 4 S-2N were turned into target tugs and designated US-2Ns.
The last flight of the Dutch Trackers occured on 1 October 1975, when numbers 159 and 160 flew from Valkenburg to De Kooy naval airbase for storage. As a replacement the Breguet Atlantic entered service. The CS-2A's had a different colourscheme compared to the S-2A's. The CS-2's were Dark Sea Grey and Light Sea Grey. The S-2A's were grey and lightgreen (Markings). After 1967 some CS-2A's received the standard MLD-colourscheme (grey/lightgreen)

Uruguay (Aviación Naval Uruguaya)

One of the smallest users of the Tracker was Uruguay. The aircraft were stationed at the air base of Laguna del Sauces, close to the capital Montivideo. The ANU received 3 S-2As and 3 S-2Gs, which had a general patrol task and took part of maritime exercises with neighouring countries and the US Navy. The Trackers are now in storage awating a possible decision to convert the to Turbo Trackers.(Markings)

Venezuela (Armada Venezolana)

Around 1974/1975 the AV received 6 S-2Es. These aircraft were supplemented in 1982 by 2 more. The main task was anti-submarine warfare and coastal patrols. The Trackers of the Venezuelan Navy have already left the active service and are kept in storage at naval air base Puerto Cabello. There's very little chance that they will ever fly again, since the navy staff now wants to buy some second hand P-3 Orions.