Two AD-3Ws (BuNos 122906 and 122907) and two AD-3Ns (BuNos 122901 and 122911) were respectively modified as AD-3E (Search) and AD-3S (Attack) aircraft in an experimental program to demonstrate the feasibility of hunter/killer antisubmarine teams. Under this strategy, the AD-3E and AD-3S would operate in pairs, with the AD-3E hunting for submarines, and the AD-3S killing the submarine once it is found.
Later, one AD-3S was fitted with an AN/APS-31 radar underneath the port wing, in an experiment to see if the hunter/killer role could be combined in one aircraft.
A tentative proposal for a combined hunter/killer antisubmarine aircraft was issued in August of 1950,
but the Navy requested instead that the first batch of AD-4Ws be given the ability to perform the "E" submarine
hunting mission and the AD-4Ns be modified to perform the "S" submarine killing mission. Eventually,
all AD-4Ws and AD-4Ns were so modified before delivery, or were retrofitted in the field.