The C-2A Greyhound is a naval Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) transport aircraft assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons (VRCs). Greyhounds serve 12 carriers from two primary locations:
VRC-30 based at Naval Air North Island, CA and currently operates 12 C-2A aircraft throughout the Pacific and Central Commands, including two C-2A aircraft permanently forward deployed to Japan on the USS Kitty Hawk.
VRC-40 based at Naval Air Station Norfolk, VA.
The Grumman C-2A, a derivative of the E-2C Hawkeye, replaced the piston-engined C-1A Trader in the COD role. The Greyhound shares wings, power plants and empennage with the Hawkeye, but has a widened fuselage with a rear loading ramp. The first of two prototypes flew in 1964 and production began the following year.
Flying for the first time as the YC-2A on 18 November 1964, the Greyhound was initially built in only modest numbers, just 19 aircraft being accepted for service with the U.S. Navy between 1965 and 1968. Plans to acquire 12 more at this time fell victim to cancellation and, by the early-1970s, attrition had reduced the quantity in service to just a dozen, these operating alongside even older C-1A Traders from Navy installations both in the Pacific and Mediterranean theatres. In view of the attrition of the Greyhound fleet, the Navy opted to reinstate the C-2A in production during 1982. The first examples of 39 additional aircraft were delivered shortly before the end of 1985, procurement continued until 1989.
In 1973, the original C-2A aircraft were overhauled to extend their operational life. In 1984, a contract was awarded for 39 new C-2A aircraft to replace earlier the airframes. Dubbed the Reprocured C-2A, or C-2(R), due to the similarity to the original, the new aircraft include substantial improvements in airframe and avionic systems. All the older C-2As were phased out in 1987, and the last of the new models was delivered in 1990.
Both new and old aircraft are classified as C-2As, but the new planes are better in nearly every way. They fly faster, farther and carry heavier loads. They're safer, more comfortable, more reliable and easier to fix.
The C-2A Greyhound is powered by two Allison T56-A-425 turboprop engines and can deliver a payload of up to 10,000 pounds (4,536kg) or 26 passengers. When required for ship-to-shore medevac operations, the aircraft can accommodate a maximum of three Stokes basket-type litters and three attendants. The Stokes litters are secured on the floor, side to side (not fore and aft), on an angle (tilted forward) using removed vertical stanchions. They are then secured to the floor with two commercial Nylon cargo straps.
For shore-to-shore medevacs, four 3-level cot-type litters can be installed to accommodate a maximum of 12 patients. They are oriented fore and aft and are unsuitable for the carrier environment.
Priority cargo such as jet engines can be transported from shore-to-ship in a matter of hours. A cage system or transport stand provides cargo restraint for loads during carrier launch or landing. The large aft cargo ramp and door and a powered winch allow straight-in rear cargo loading and downloading for fast turnaround.
The C-2A's open-ramp flight capability allows airdrop of supplies and personnel from a carrier-launched aircraft. This, plus its folding wings and an on-board auxiliary power unit for engine starting and ground power self-sufficiency in remote areas provide an operational versatility found in no other cargo aircraft.
The Greyhound has a wide range of communications and radio navigation equipment that are compatible with both military and civil airways on a worldwide basis. Communications equipment includes HF, VHF, and UHF; radio navigation aids include GPS, OMEGA, TACAN, dual VOR, UHF/DF, LF/ADF, weather radar, Doppler radar, and two carrier approach systems. The crew consists of a pilot, copilot, crew chief and loadmaster.
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