In August 1959, the Navy canceled further operational development of the SeaMaster program. By then, the modern equivalent of $2.5 billion had been spent on the SeaMasters, which had ballooned in cost and suffered numerous, still unsolved technological problems. The Martin P6M SeaMaster development joined the Convair Pogo, Sea Dart, and Tradewind programs as failed elements of the SSF.
The Carrier Wins Over the Seaplane Striking Force
In retrospect, while the SSF concept had its ardent and articulate advocates, it was probably never going to perform a primary role in the Navy’s nuclear strike mission. Jet aircraft and carrier advancements obviated the four aircraft conceived to implement the program, but it was also overtaken by extraneous worldwide events. Seaplane advocates in the Navy were far outweighed by senior carrier aviators, whose influence became dominant during the 1950s. Perhaps most important, the rapid development of ballistic missiles dramatically reduced the need for manned aircraft as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons. The Seaplane Striking Force was a costly concept whose time never arrived.
Originally Published November 25, 2018.