The Douglas A-3 Sky warrior was designed as a strategic bomber for the U.S. Navy and was among the longest serving carrier-based aircraft in history. It entered service in the mid1950s and was retired in 1991. Throughout its service, it was the heaviest operational aircraft to operate from aircraft carriers, earning its nickname “The Whale.” Its primary function for much of its later service life was as an electronic warfare platform, tactical air reconnaissance platform, and high capacity aerial refueling tanker.
The museum’s aircraft was damaged on the ground and initially stored at MASDC. It was later shipped to Edwards AFB for use in fire-fighting training, but was transferred to the museum instead, having since been restored to its first flight condition. This aircraft was presented and dedicated to the AFFT Museum at Edwards AFB on 14 October 2011.