The U.S. Navy’s quiet decision to select the V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor transport aircraft as the next-generation aircraft to fly personnel,
parts, mail and supplies to and from aircraft carriers
will mark a significant change in the way it supplies
the ships and may alter the hub-and-spoke concept of
operations of carrier onboard delivery (COD).
Under a Jan. 5 memorandum of understanding
between the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Chief of
Naval Operations ADM Jonathan W. Greenert and
Marine Corps Commandant Gen Joseph F. Dunford Jr.,
the sea services agreed to fund the V- 22 as an eventual
replacement for the current COD aircraft, the C-2A
Greyhound, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020.
“The Navy will use a variant of the V- 22 to perform
the COD mission by adding additional fuel capacity,
permitting an operational range of 1,150 nautical miles
with 6,000 pounds of cargo,” said LTJG Kat Dransfield,
a spokeswoman for the Navy staff. “The ability to operate day or night, without impacting carrier flight deck
cycles, will enhance the operational flexibility of the
COD capability. Additionally, the proven reliability of
the V- 22 air vehicle and product support benefits due
to the synergies of operating with a fleet of over 400
other V- 22 aircraft throughout the world, generate
operation and support cost savings.
“The V- 22 is ideally suited for a wide range of sce-
narios and has a proven record in various roles that
include logistics support, medical
evacuation, Naval Special Warfare
support and missions of state [dis-
tinguished visitor trips to ships,
humanitarian assistance and disas-
ter relief, and peacekeeping mis-
sions and interdiction],” she said.
The V- 22 Joint Program Office
expects to issue a contract for
development of the V- 22 COD ver-
sion in 2016, said Marine Col Dan
Robinson, the program manager.
A total of 44 V- 22 CODs are planned for procurement
beginning in 2018, in co-production with the Marine
Corps’ MV-22Bs and Air Force CV-22Bs. Production of
the U.S. aircraft is expected to be completed in 2023.
Robinson noted that an increase of the base number of
aircraft will normally reduce the unit cost.
“The V- 22 Navy variant will be a baseline MV- 22 air-
craft with an engineering modification to add an
extended-range fuel system, high-frequency radio and
public address system,” Robinson said. “The modifica-
tions required by the Navy are specifically for the V- 22
Navy variant. Although they could be incorporated
into the MV and CV, there is no requirement by the
Marine Corps or the Air Force to do so at this time.”
Robinson said that, like the Marine Corps and Air
Force Ospreys, the V- 22 Navy variant will include “the
ability to receive aerial refueling.”
For more than 50 years, the Navy has relied on the
Northrop Grumman-built C-2A Greyhound for COD mis-
sions. The C-2A is a derivative of the E-2A Hawkeye radar
early warning aircraft. The first batch of C-2As has long
been retired, but a newer, modernized version was built in
the 1980s and has been progressively updated over time.
Northrop Grumman had proposed a modernized C- 2 for
the mission, an aircraft that would include many upgrades
featured in the company’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.
Typically, a carrier will deploy with two C-2As, but
upon reaching a deployment area, the carrier will
COD to VOD
The Navy is changing the way it flies cargo to carriers
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Tiltrotors for the Navy
The Navy has selected the V- 22 Osprey to replace the C-2A in
the carrier onboard delivery role.
; Vertical delivery will impact flight-deck cycles only minimally.
; Use as a recovery tanker is an attractive option.
; The V- 22’s versatility likely will see its use expand to other roles.