The Next COD
New Navy carrier-onboard-delivery aircraft planned for 2026
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
the AR/LSB Analysis of Alternatives
Update, the fundamental perform-
ance requirements [range/payload]
will be consistent with the C-2A.”
Northrop Grumman is expected
to offer a modernized C- 2. Bell-
Boeing is expected to propose a
version of its V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor
The competition is not just a
contest between aircraft; it’s also
between concepts of operation.
The C-2A operates in a traditional
hub-and-spoke concept, where a
pair of C-2As operate from airfields
in the deployment theater and carry personnel, cargo,
parts and mail to and from an aircraft carrier. The V- 22,
with its vertical flight capabilities, conceptually could
lift its payload from airfields and logistics ships and
deliver it to various ships in a carrier strike group.
The C-2A has been the workhorse of COD operations since the mid-1960s, when 19 were built by
Grumman for the Navy from a design of a cargo variant
of the E-2A Hawkeye radar warning aircraft.
Essentially, the E-2A’s wings, engines and empennage
were fitted to a voluminous cargo-carrying fuselage.
During the 1980s, the old C-2As were replaced by a
new production run of 39 updated C-2As, 35 of which
are in operation today and have completed a service
life extension program (SLEP).
Northrop Grumman’s offering, a modernized
Greyhound, C- 2(M), would be equipped with features
of the company’s new E-2D radar warning aircraft,
including the new cockpit, wings, engines and empennage of the Advanced Hawkeye.
“Our modernization strategy can keep the C- 2 flying for another 50 years after the end of service life in
2028 at today’s fleet usage rate,” said Steve Squires,
director of E-2/C- 2 Product Support and C- 2 Capture
at Northrop Grumman.
The Navy’s next carrier-onboard-delivery (COD) aircraft will
attract a stiff industry competition between Northrop Grumman
■ Northrop Grumman will offer a modernized C- 2 Greyhound.
■ Bell-Boeing plans to offer a version of its V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor
■ Selection will determine if the Navy stays with a proven concept or adopts the changes of tiltrotor technology.
An intense competition is in the offing among companies vying to build the Navy’s next- generation carrier-onboard-delivery (COD) aircraft. As the Navy moves closer to issuing a request for
proposals (RfP), two companies have thrown down the
gauntlet, although other contestants may enter the fray.
The Navy plans to issue a competitive RfP in fiscal
2014, and expects to award a development contract for
its next-generation COD aircraft during the second quarter of 2016, with initial operational capability (IOC)
scheduled in 2026. The service completed an Analysis of
Alternatives for a COD with its Airborne Resupply/
Logistics for Seabasing (AR/LSB) study in October.
The current fleet of 35 Northrop Grumman-built
C-2A Greyhound COD aircraft will begin retirement in
2028 and by 2031 “will be insufficient to support
warfighting requirements,” said Brian Scolpino, program manager, Carrier Onboard Delivery Advanced
Development Program Office, at Naval Air Systems
Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
“The requirements for the next COD, including range,
radius and payload, will be shared with our industry
partners in the competitive request for proposal planned
for fiscal year ’ 14,” Scolpino said. “Based on insight
gained from the preparatory analysis, most recent being