The US Navy will replace the aging Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound with the tilt-rotor HV-22 Osprey as carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft, US sources confirmed on Friday 27 March 2015.
Manufacturers Bell and Boeing, who have developped the Osprey together, are set to provide the Navy with 44 HV-22s for a price of 86.8 million a piece. The first Ospreys are planned to enter service in 2020, with the final to be in production in 2024.
Unlike the MV-22 assault tilt-rotor in use with the US Marine Corps, the USN HV-22 will have an external fuel tank, adapted SATCOMs, a modified shipboard landing system and other stuff not incorporated on the Marine Ospreys. The HV-22s are likely not to be armed.
Grumman produced 17 C-2As and 39 improved C-2A(R) for the US Navy’s need to air supply its fleet of aircraft carriers from land-based locations. The core of these Greyhounds is similar to the E-2 Hawkeye the US Navy uses as Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (“radar plane”). The first Grumman C-2 rolled out of the factory in 1965. Since 1987 only the improved C-2A(R)s stayed in service, with the remaining 36 aircraft going through a Service Life Extension Program to keep them flying until 2027 if necessary.
The Greyhound delivers up to 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of cargo to the US Navy’s aircraft carriers, and regularly flies in passengers or a combination of personnel and cargo. The cabin can be adapted to make the plane serve as a medevac asset. It can even been used to airdrop supplies or serve as a paratrooper platform.
Compared to the Greyhound, the basic V-22 can deliver more goods: 14,990 pounds (6,800 kg). But the V-22 has a shorter range than the C-2: 1,010 miles (1,627 km) on the Osprey to 1,490 miles (2,400 km) on the Greyhound. The planned addition of an external fuel tank will give the HV-22 additional range, but will likely decrease the amount of cargo the plane can carry. The new US Navy COD will also be slower than the C-2 with an cruise speed of 241 knots (277 mph or 446 kmh) at sea level for the Osprey to 251 knots (289 mph or 465 kmh) at 28,700 feet for the Greyhound. The only real advantage of the Osprey is that it lands and take offs vertically.
With Boeing producing the air frame, Bell Helicopter final assembles the V-22s at its Amarillo plant in Texas where Ospreys for the US Marine Corps and US Air Force are rolling down the line at a rate of 25 aircraft this year.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey from Marine Medium-lift Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161 takes off from the flight deck of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. Gallagher ( US Navy)