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Hunting Submarines From The Air Hasn’t Changed A Whole Lot in 50 Years

“To Catch A Shadow” Is Serious Eye Candy for Navy Aircrews

The US Navy promotional film “ASW To Catch a Shadow” was produced by Lockheed and the United States Navy during what the audience is led to believe was an operational readiness evaluation that took place during the early 1960s.

The film, shot aboard the anti-submarine aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CVS-10) and with lots or aerial footage included, is an excellent look at what it takes (or at least took then) to wage anti-submarine warfare (ASW); to prosecute a submerged submarine contact and the coordinated nature of the various moving parts of the forces involved. The film was shot with Pacific Fleet assets and includes interior shots of many of the aircraft and ships used in the film.

Aircraft featured in the film include VP-6 Blue Sharks Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine patrol planes and the squadrons making up Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group (CVSG)-55 aboard the Yorktown:  VS-23 Black Cats and VS-25 Golden Eagles Grumman S-2 Tracker carrier-based ASW aircraft, HS-4 Black Knights Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King ASW helicopters, and VAW-11 Detachment T Early Elevens EA-1E Guppies (Skyraiders) used for airborne early warning. The destroyers USS Leary (DD-879), USS Walker (DD-517), USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), and the frigate USS Bridger (DE-1024) along with their DASH helicopters complete the ASW forces. Playing the role of the hunted are several different types of submarines. The film also includes some footage of the ill-fated nuclear submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589).

The clip is distributed by Periscope Film.

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.