Navy to Buy Ospreys for Carrier Deliveries

000222-N-5221P-001In a major boost for military tilt-rotor aircraft, the Navy has a preliminary agreement to buy MV-22 Ospreys to replace the aging C-2A Greyhound fixed-wing turboprops for the delivery of supplies and personnel to carriers.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus was expected to outline the Osprey deal in remarks Thursday to the Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia, a Navy spokesman said.

The agreement was first reported by Breaking Defense’s Richard Whittle, author of “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey.”

The report said that Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford had reached a memorandum of understanding for the Navy to buy four Ospreys each year at about $68 million apiece from Fiscal Year 2018 to 2020 for carrier-on-board delivery (COD) flights.

The Navy-Marine Corps arrangement on the Ospreys will have to be approved by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the Defense Department, which was expected to be submitted early next month.

The memorandum of understanding said that the “the Navy is responsible for modifying these V-22s into an HV-22 configuration,” the Navy’s variant of the MV-22 Osprey flown by the Marines. The CV-22 is the Air Force version of the Osprey.

The C-2As began flying in the 1960s to carry mail, personnel and supplies between the carriers and shore. The Ospreys, built by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and Boeing Co., went into service with the Marines in 2007 and with the Air Force in 2009.

The Osprey program began in the 1980s to replace the Marines’ aging CH-46 helicopters and was marred by several accidents in testing that resulted in 30 deaths – most of them Marines. At one point, former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney tried to kill the Osprey program by canceling funding, but his move was rejected by Congress.

The Ospreys’ two large wingtip rotors can rotate to enable it to take off and land like a helicopter and fly straight like a conventional fixed-wing aircraft.

In the past, the Army rejected the tilt-rotor concept but the service of the Ospreys in Iraq and Afghanistan has altered the Army’s philosophy. The Army’s Future Vertical Lift program now features several tilt-rotor designs.

In an effort to keep the Osprey production line open, the Marines and Bell Helicopter have been pushing foreign sales. Several nations have expressed interest in the Ospreys but not deals have yet been finalized.

About the Author

Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.
  • blight_

    I saw comments asking whether or not the V-22 could carry everything a Greyhound can (namely a F-135 engine packed in a travel container). If so, then using the V-22 as COD means that a carrier embarking COD aircraft can also resupply other ships as well at ranges beyond helicopter resupply; and also freeing up a ship’s helicopter for other duties.

    • rile

      No pressurization for the V-22 - grounded during bad weather, unlike the
      Greyhound.

      • Bernard

        Sounds like they need to fix that. Regardless, this sounds like the only mission case where the V22 might actually be an improvement. After all, COD doesn’t require landing in the middle of enemy fire.

      • hialpha

        Well, the C-2 only does Case 1 anyways. So “bad weather” is not really a sticking point.

  • tgc22

    MV-22B can carry 20,000 lb internally or 15,000 lb externally and a 135 weighs just under 4000lbs alone so depending on the dimensions of the container it should be able to. The requirements for Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft are set at roughly the ability to transport 26 passengers and carry 10,000-pounds of cargo for distances up to 1,150 miles. This does mean that the range is slightly less (1,011 miles for the mv-22, 1,496 for the current C-2), but the osprey is much faster and has a larger weight capacity.

    • CharleyA

      The problem is that the current F135 shipping container will not fit within the cargo bay of the V-22 (nor into the C-2A either.) You would not want to sling load a F135 very far for various reasons - imagine having to cut loose a $15M engine…. Also, the MV-22 could not transport anywhere near 20,000 lbs, for anywhere close to 1,000nm. This buy is purely to keep the V-22 production line operating at an *economical* rate, and to garner enough units for another MYP. It is not an ideal solution for the COD requirement.

      • tgc22

        I wonder if it would be possible to shrink the shipping container if they are going in the direction of the mv-22? Especially as if the container does not fit in either plane it would probably make sense to design a container that can be used for both planes especially as I assume they will need these engines while the C-2 is still being used as a COD.

        Out of interest have they looked at airdropping large cargo nearby and retrieving it with MH53s or hell even seahawks can sling load 4 tons

        • Paul

          When we had to carry some items too large for shipping containers we build wooden skids to set the engine or other parts in. It does not fully encase the engine, but they can always use the container from the spare on board the ship if it will not be installed right away.

      • Bernard

        Those things will might to be parachute dropped from larger air force cargo planes. Then again, can’t a C130 do the job? I hear they can land on carriers now.

        • blight_

          Unsure if an engine can reliably be dropped via parachute and be expected to operate properly, not unless it was packaged like a Mars Rover and designed to be landed harshly.

          Then again, the Russias use pallets with retrorockets to land their BMD’s and such.

        • PK101

          C-130s were tested on carriers back in the 70s I think but due to their size they were deemed to me impractical for COD use. C-130 is a big plane and takes up a lot of deck space, even if it is just there for a short time. The video of one landing on a carrier though was pretty cool!

          • Atomic Walrus

            And the pilot who landed the C-130 on the USS Forrestal received a DFC for it. Just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean that you should…

          • blight_

            I imagine the C-130 took off and landed empty, which is miles apart from landing to deliver a payload or attempting to take off with a large payload.

          • Rhys F.

            The C27 would be a better plane than the C130, smaller diamensions, still carries the required load, slightly shorter takeoff/landing length needed and can use the JATO packs the C130 needed to get off the deck.

            And no Air force/Army fixed wing feud to fuss over.

          • blight_

            Probably still not enough to reliably use for COD. And they can’t be embarked aboard the carrier, something the Greyhound and Hawkeye can do.

    • The one armed man

      “The container for the engine is too large to be carried in the aircraft,” said Bell CEO John Garrison on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014. He said the engine would instead be mounted in the frame, allowing the cabin of the aircraft to act as the engine’s container. It would not include the lift fan of the F-35B.

      http://aviationweek.com/defense/bell-tests-v-22-j…

      • blight_

        Since the lift fan is a separate system it would probably not be a big ding to require two lifts to carry a F-135 and the LiftSystem for a -B.

        • The one armed man

          Only one trip needed

          A Boeing representative told Navy Recognition during Sea-Air-Space 2014 that the V-22 could transport a F-35B engine, with the lift fan element being sling loaded.

    • dave

      And it can land on a destroyer.

  • Matthew G. Saroff

    What a stupid idea.

    It means that the Navy has to add a new airframe to maintain (the C-2 and E-2s are cousins) with a lot less internal volume.

    The C-2 can carry 5 tons internally, the MV-22 does not have enough internal volume for most large loads, and if it is externally slung, the range drops to 50 miles (No, I am not missing a decimal thing).

    BTW, the V-22 is slower, and would have a greater dependence on tankers.

    Also, the unpressurized V-22 will have to fly a lot lower.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • tgc22

      Well actually the MV-22 can carry a 10,000 pound external sling load 135 km and flies faster. I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but lets be fair. However I agree that having two aircraft with a majority of same parts/same maintenance crews is certainly a bonus.

      • Matthew G. Saroff

        Top speed of the C-2 is 343 Kts, cruising speed is 251 kts.

        Top speed of the V-22 is 275 kts, cruising speed is 241kts.

        Source Wikipedia.

        The V-22 is slower. Not surprising, it’s basic physics. Bigger props give highter helical tip speed, and trans sonic effects occur at lower speeds.

        • tgc22

          Ah I messed up the speed conversions you’re right. Wouldn’t exactly say that’s basic physics though…

    • Tad

      Also, Wiki lists the C-2 range as 1,300nm and the V-22 range as 880nm.

  • 240project

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-navy-should-…

  • Waz

    This older article from War Is Boring makes some excellent points regarding the suitability of the V-22 in this resupply role.
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/marines-pushing-…

    Personally I dont like the idea of complicated, maintenance-heavy V-22s being used in this role. Who supplies the supplier when i breaks down, eh?

    • dave

      I talked to some buddies in Marine Air and they agreed, but then they made a great point. This technology is the future, so while the Mairne Corps knows that right now it is not the most cost efficient, they want to go through the various growing pains now, rather than later. Over time the technology will get cheaper, as will maintenance requirements and what not, the Corps (and other services) just want to start that clock now and reap the real benefits later.

  • Lance

    Fine if our carriers are all near shore but Ospreys lack range over the Cod and so it be better to keep both depending on how far out the fleet is.

  • Batou

    I thought refurnished S-3 Vikings had this game in the game but I noticed two people voting down that idea. I’ve read other articles online apart from: http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-navy-should-…
    And those “opinion pieces” stated the S-3 was great bang for buck considering we are talking about is Navy Fedex truck for the fleet.
    So why’s everyone some down on the Viking?

    • LPF

      Speaking of S3 I could never understand why the royal navy did not acquire some of the retired S3’s to act as a stop gap after we cancelled the Nimrod. I mean it would ‘ve have helped when the Russians tried to put a tail on to one of our ballistic subs when it went out on patrol.

      • Chris

        I got to fly on a Nimrod out of Carswell back in the 80’s, very comfortable aircraft.

    • blight_

      Dfens has previously commented on the S-3 “reboot” as really, really bad. I am sure he will be along shortly.

  • oblatt22

    Slower less capable and more expensive - what not to like about this Navy downgrade.

  • rat

    It’s akin to replacing a semi-tractor trailor with a Ford econoline van.

    Sure the V-22 can refuel in the air, but now you need a tanker and a V-22 for that mission profile whereas the greyhound did not.

    NAVAIR… what happened to you?

    • Eagle

      What happened to NAVAIR (and NAVSEA and others) is that the senior officials have become sensitized to the effect their government service decisions have upon their post-government-retirement job prospects.

  • JJMurray

    I’m just wondering what kind of footprint this thing is going to have on the deck if it has to stay onboard for any reason. That should make things interesting.
    As for capacity and what it can or cannot carry - they don’t care about piddly stuff like that when they’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars they’re getting ready to spend. If they did the F-35 would have been scaled back or cut years ago.

    • Tom

      Considering that the carrier air wings have lost their S-3 and A-6 squardrons in the past 30 years and the CVN’s aren’t getting any smaller, I can’t imagine it’s too difficult to find parking for a V-22 or two.

      • blight_

        Indeed, the consolidation of types and the lack of 1:1 replacement will probably mean more room aboard a carrier. Luckily Marine Ospreys can fold wings and such for internal storage and are navalized to mitigate corrosion, so we don’t have to spend a lot of money to develop a Navy variant.

  • joe

    Still in need for an ASW aircraft with legs. Still in need of an airframe to replace the E-2D. Really think carriers and every other ship, need blue and gold crews and forward basing in places like Singapore and Australia. Double the aircraft on every carrier and cut the fleet to 8 battle groups.

    And cut the brass and staff. How many flight hours does cutting an admiral buy?

  • Hector Q

    Overall, for the COD mission the V-22 is less capable and has a higher marginal unit cost than what we could expect from a C-2 Greyhound successor aircraft. The problem is that the military and its contractors have lost the ability to develop entirely new aircraft for a reasonable amount of money in a reasonable amount of time.

    In an ideal world (i.e., in a world where the development process isn’t totally broken), we’d develop a new Greyhound successor that would do the job cheaper and better than the V-22. There’s no reason why it couldn’t since it would be purpose-built and wouldn’t have to do all the stuff that the V-22 is designed for. But given our development difficulties, it’s not unreasonable to go with the V-22 for the COD mission, even though it’s less than an ideal solution.

    • localboy

      S-3 Viking seems a more viable option.

  • Just some guy

    Written by an ignorant layman: I really like reading the comments of professionals like most of you who post here and I was hoping you would allow the following question; Are there any high-speed, long-range aircraft, with an appropriate lift weight, in service now that could deliver sea-born supplies using parachutes and some kind of inflatable skid to any ship? I was thinking of inflatable skids (of some design) could be retrieved by the supplied ship, stored and re-used at a later date. I understand that NASA was investigating parachute-inflatable landers and was wondering if something like this could be used at sea to deliver supplies. I apologize for this slightly off-topic question but thought… who better to ask?

    • blight_

      GPS-guided supply pallets has been investigated for land use, but not for sea use. I imagine retrieval at really bad sea states complicates things.

      While we’re at it, designing floats so that C-2’s could be used as seaplanes would be a great way to land near a ship…but would require a winch to lift supplies aboard.

      • ohwilleke

        If you used floats, you could use an STOL cargo plane not designed with special features necessary for carrier use like the C-295, and get the cost down to about $30 million a unit (assuming a $2 per unit cost to design and retrofit the floats). You would also be able to send more loads as the same time since you wouldn’t be constrained by carrier deck space.

        • Atomic Walrus

          Landing seaplanes on the ocean has always been tricky. If you look at old pictures of OS2Us operating from battleships, you’ll frequently see the battleship doing a tight turn to try to create a calmed area for the seaplane to land. Even relatively calm seas are pretty nasty to land a float plane on, unlike freshwater lakes.

      • Bernard

        Why use a winch when the have CH-53E’s?

        • blight_

          Not every ship has one, and the finite number available will be strained if their sole job is picking up supply packages dropped into the water.

    • ohwilleke

      High speed, long range aircraft that have appropriate lift weight are assigned the long range bomber mission (e.g., the B1-B and the B-2 bombers), rather than the cargo mission, and are much more expensive per unit.

      One might think that the Navy’s large payload P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft had a long range, although it has a not so high speed (at 564 miles per hour it is still faster than the C-2A or MV-22, however). But, its range of 1,381 miles isn’t that much longer than the MV-22 and is a bit shorter than the C-2A. Still long enough for the mission in an air drop format, not long enough to eliminate the need for intermediate refueling either in the air or with an intermediate stop, when delivering supplies over very long distances.

    • fly4vino

      Sometimes you need to get some stuff off the carrier and the idea of dropping jet engines onto a crowded flight deck is the height of insanity .

      Few are thinking of the incredible maintenance costs of the V-22. You have the worst of a large helo, variable swing wing , short range and too many single point failures. The V-22 is not going to rush a group of docs out to a carrier mid ocean after a major casualty event or get those needing urgent medical care off the deck and on to a hospital in time to make a difference.

      The true analysis of why this is being pushed is the Boeing cash going into Obama’s pockets. Perhaps it is the payoff for downscaling their move of manufacturing to the south.

      I’m with the others. Bring back the S-3 with some speed mods

    • JimmyD

      Guy - I like it. Are you thinking of a C-130 doing a tail-hook extraction of cargo pallets?

      • blight_

        And LAPES onto a cargo deck for delivery?

  • blight_

    The C-2 probably could’ve been the basis of a multi-service small aircraft to perform a variety of missions. The Marines could profit greatly in future if Navy Seabees could build short runways and put a ground-mount EMALS in: this would give Marines ashore access to F-35C’s and C-2’s in areas where longer runways are not possible, or in areas where longer runways are still under construction or under repair.

    /shrug

    • ohwilleke

      It was the basis of the E-2 Hawkeye, a very different mission. But, a new design was preferred over a modification of the C-2 design when the S-3 was commissioned for an ASW mission.

      The big virtue of a multi-mission fixed wing STOL aircraft (e.g. serving as a smaller version of the C-130 for small intratheater Army and Marine loads in addition to the carrier supply role, with an electronic warfare and a carrier based ASW variant, and a successor to the AC-130 fixed wing gunship variant) is that if you made a couple hundred of them, you could probably get the cost down to about $34 million each (given the costs of the C-27J and C-295), half the cost of an MV-22, or perhaps a few million more for a carrier enhanced variant. Those are holes in the U.S. DOD air fleet worth fixing. But, development costs would grossly inflate the price of a new single mission carrier delivery plane design alone without the multi-mission aspect, and any new design would push back delivery of any new plane for this mission by many years.

    • http://twitter.com/GreensboroVet @GreensboroVet

      If you all are suggesting doing all of this. Why not just break the plans for the XC-142 Tiltwing Experimental Aircraft, dust it off, upgrade it using Osprey tech, and call it a day. Just a Cannon Cocker so what the # do I know.

  • Rob C.

    Isn’t the Osprey too big for the Aircraft Carriers? It has a lot folding to do squeeze in there.

    • blight_

      The Marine variant already has accommodations for folding wings and such. I don’t expect any major surprises.

    • ohwilleke

      An Osprey is 57 feet long and has an 85 foot wingspan and is 17’8 inches tall in fixed wing mode and 22’2″ tall in vertical flight mode (presumably you would rotate the engines to get it in a hanger once it landed on a carrier). The C-2A is 57 feet long and has an 81 foot wingspan and 16’11” feet tall. So, the Osprey has 4 more feet of wingspan and 9 inches more of height. Really pretty similar.

  • ohwilleke

    A good call in the end analysis, despite the (mostly wrong) intuition that it should be possible to design and build a C-2A replacement plain vanilla fixed wing STOL cargo plane for less than the $68 million each that a VTOL MV-22 costs.

    But, given that the total number of planes purchased would be small, requiring the cost of R&D, flight testing and manufacturing setup to be spread over a small number of units, the price advantage may not have been a big one. In all, 58 C-2As were built from 1965-1989, but only 36 C-2A(R)s, three per carrier, all built from 1985-1989 and upgraded from 2005-2010ish remain in service. This time, the Navy has only committed to buy 12 MV-22s this time around, one for each carrier), leaving even less room to spread out development costs.

    Also, the Common Support Aircraft effort o the 1990s to design such a replacement (which also would have replaced the S-3 Shadow, E-2 Hawkeye, ES-3 Shadow, and EA-6A Prowler) was abandoned by 2009, so redevelopment would have had to start over from scratch.

    Wikipedia quotes the Navy as stating that the unit cost for the C-2A was $39 million. But the last C-2A was purchased in 1989, so with 26 years of inflation added to that nominal 1989 price, the inflation adjusted unit cost of the existing C-2A(R) units was about $74 million each. The unit cost of the somewhat comparable sub-C-130 sized STOL cargo plane, the C-27J, is $53 million (as of 2012); it isn’t carrier optimized so any Navy version of it would require millions more per unit, but that high per unit cost is artificial and a result of cancelling a larger buy by the U.S. military after just 21 units (about 45% of the per unit cost is for roughly $450 million of R&D spread over just 21 planes instead of hundreds as initially expected). On the other hand, the also comparable off the shelf STOL cargo plane smaller than a C-130, which is the C-295 built by European manufacturer Airbus, has a unit cost of $28 million (and is still in production).

    The MV-22 brings additional capabilities to the carrier fleet beyond the C-2A as well. It has twice as much cargo capacity, increasing it from 10,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds. The MV-22 VTOL capabilities allows it to serve the Harrier carriers of our allies, and the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Assault ships, and probably other Navy ships as well, and not just full sized aircraft carriers. And, the MV-22 could be used to deploy troops or retrieve personnel from destinations on land without airstrips, which the C-2A is not designed to do. I also recall the MV-22s are now being fitted with limited air to ground firepower for those kinds of situations that a pure cargo plane would lack.

    These capabilities that a mere replacement of the C-2A would not, are worth a modest increase in cost. The fact that the MV-22 is already tested and available immediately (well in 2.5 years from being ordered, rather than a decade or two with a designed from scratch aircraft) without R&D and flight testing and manufacturing setup lag is also a plus.

    So, it is hard to complain that the $68 million price tag is unreasonably expensive.

    The main downside of the substitution is that the MV-22 has a shorter range (1,011 miles for the MV-22 v. 1491 for the C-2A), but the MV-22’s range is still probably entirely adequate for the job. The C-2A is faster as well, but when you are talking about 344 mph v. 312 mph, this difference too isn’t really material in this particular mission (18 minutes of additional travel time in a maximum length trip of about three hours, but with the possibility of cutting the total number of trips in half due to greater cargo capacity). The two planes have almost the same dimensions (they are the same length and the MV-22 has four more feet of wingspan), so it should be able to function in the carrier with little carrier-side modification of its hangers and maintenance facilities.

    • ohwilleke

      I correct myself to note that the cargo capacity of an MV-22 and C-2A are very similar at maximum range. The MV-22’s cargo capacity edge is only for much shorter hops (e.g. from a carrier to another ship in the carrier group).

    • ohwilleke

      I also correct myself to note S-3 VIKING (not Shadow), which was a lost train of thought producing a clerical error, and that the double the cargo argument isn’t completely true at full range, only for short hops.

    • Nick9876

      Yes, the MV-22 is much more versatile. The CVN could help for an amphibious assault with them. Maybe even the carrier could carry an extra 1000 soldiers inside the hangar. Their vehicles would be brought by the amphib ships.

      • blight_

        There are logistical limits to supplying an extra 1000 soldiers…and without requisite vehicles and supplies, what are those extra guys supposed to do?

        I suppose for an Operation Magic Carpet scenario (bringing troops home) it’s an interesting thought.

        • Nick9876

          They would reinforced the marines deployed from the amphibs. They would work with them, that would increase their strength. They would get their vehicles later coming from transport ships/MLPs/LCACs.

    • Atomic Walrus

      One thing about range - the MV-22 is equipped for in-flight refuelling, the C-2A isn’t. Meet up with a USAF tanker on the way to the carrier, and you’ve potentially got even greater range with a V-22 COD than the C-2A.

  • bubbakincaid

    Isn’t there an issue with the Osprey cooking the decks fro their exhaust? What would that mod cost on a carrier?

    • blight_

      Thermion coatings for decks should mitigate it…hopefully.

    • The one armed man

      They would only need to coat the area where it’s landing and taking off.

      • Curt

        It really only cooks the deck if you leave the engines running. A combination of not leaving the engines running and portable pads (think mini-JBDs) under the engines if you do need to run the engines for an extended time fixed the problem on the LHDs. Should work on a CVN too.

  • BlackOwl18E

    I think what’s going on is a lot of behind the scenes negotiating between the services. One service is saying, “I’ll buy that if you buy this” or something to that effect. The Navy will make do, but in terms of capability this is an overall step backward for the Navy.

  • William_C1

    I thought the refurbished S-3s would have been the best choice. Yet I don’t know how well the turbofans would compare to the turboprops of the competition. The latter are usually more efficient.

  • Daron Aukerman

    I read alot of comment on here about the Osprey’s wingspan and needing to fit into right spaces of an aircraft carrier. Do you ask bout realize that the Osprey is an Amphibious born aircraft. That it serves aboard shows for the Marine Corps? The Osprey will fold it’s rotor blades, rotate the engines, and the the entire wingspan is rotated to within the width of the airframe.

  • Tiger

    A V-22 makes since. In production airframe. Has needed range. Can supply both CVN’s, Amphibs, British, Japanese & other allied small carriers. Making a Catapult COD has little growth or sales future.

    • blight_

      Not a lot of navies have catapults anymore, limiting the size of this market to the USN, France and Brazil. And as a small airlifter, there are probably more cost-competitive options.

      Short of relying on an airframe that performs AEW/ASW other missions from land bases to increase the buys and reduce the per unit cost, catapult capability is an expensive one to buy. Unless the catapultable aircraft has decent STOL capability without the catapult…

  • Benjamin

    I imagine it will make medevac missions a lot quicker.

  • Tom

    A modern C-2 has been in production for years, called the E-2 with a radar dome atop.

    • Curt

      Except that any new C-2 would require a new fuselage, which means it is an entirely new aircraft with common components, kind of like the old C-2As. So you have an entirely new development, flight testing, and carrier qualifications. Less than an S-3 based aircraft, but still pretty expensive for 35 or so airframes.

      • blight_

        What Tom means to say is that the Navy is buying new E-2D’s, which means they are making the fuselages and such that could be spun off as new COD aircraft. It may help the E-2’s maintain economies of scale and keep the line open for both types of aircraft. However, only the US, France and Brazil maintain catapult carriers.

        • A Different Tom

          I don’t believe the E-2 and C-2 share the same fuselage.

        • Curt

          And he is wrong. Changing the fuselage makes it a new aircraft. Sure, you can use the E-2D wing, engines, avionics and controls, which shortens the development cycle, but it is still a new development because you need a new fuselage. Think of it as a Baluga or a Dreamlifter. It still requires an entirely new development, flight testing, and carrier qualification, all for a relative handful of aircraft. So, just like the above mentioned planes, it will be expensive. And yes, they did it before, but that doesn’t make it the best option now. Everything is a trade off and ignoring that basic fact is counterproductive.

          • blight_

            How different are the airframes? I believe the E-2 came first, but I’ve never seen the breakdown in how many parts are different, and what percentage of the aircraft is common.

            Keeping the C-2/E-2 combo increased the cost effectiveness of both platforms in the first place. In the old days the E-2 was the AEW and the COD was the Tracker. Eliminating the Tracker and imposing development cost of the C-2 led to long term savings by eliminating more distinct aircraft type and allowing for a pool of shareable parts, and perhaps also reducing the number of technicians and the like spread across different aircraft.

            Replacing the C-2 with the V-22 (a proven type in other applications) similarly adds to the Osprey program. It’ll mean the Hawkeye gets somewhat more expensive in the long run, and perhaps COD /shifts/ in nature, but there are other gains to be had with a VTOL-capable COD.

          • Curt

            Like I said, this is basically a Dreamlifter or Beluga (or Guppy for that matter). Wings, engines, avionics, cockpit, etc are common. Everything else, like the entire fuselage and maybe some of the control surfaces, are new. it makes sense when you need to move really big parts around the world. However, for less than 50 platforms, it may not make sense for a C-2A replacement, especially with a viable alternative already in production. A C-2B will need a program to design the new fuselage, build test vehicles, make carrier landings after testing on shore, have fatigue aircraft, etc. Cheaper than a clean sheet design, but still for only. 40 or so airframes.

  • msgingram

    That bird will not stand up to that duty without severe maint. Problems. The costs will rise, greatly

  • blight_

    Curious what this means for the E-2. The original plan for keeping the Greyhound hinged on maintaining some common parts with the upgraded E-2. Now that that is out of the picture, the E-2 may become next on the chopping block. It’s possible they may take cues from other nations (Russia, UK) that use helicopters for AEW and go that route, or attempt to make the V-22 the next AEW platform.

    • Tom

      Are they going to take a cue from Russia and the UK and build smaller carriers too? Eliminate the Growler since they don’t operate a similar aircraft? Neither has dedicated COD fixed-wing aircraft either, obviously those should be eliminated completely too if the US takes their cues from them.

      • blight_

        The Russians and the UK have gone over to small carriers, and because the UK let all institutions in re catapult aircraft atrophy they can never go back without considerable buy in. Their AEW and COD are helicopter based because they have no choice.

        Many modern choices are being made by combination of versatility and adversity. The E-2 will probably soldier on as a low-production boutique item because only the USN will fly them and because it will no longer share any parts with the soon-to-be-replaced Greyhound fleet. On the plus side, tossing some low-batch Greyhounds strengths the Osprey’s position…more numbers, better economies of scale, better training, more maintenance support.

        I am curious if they can make a AEW variant of the Osprey too, while we are consolidating airframes.

  • tkeitzer

    Some of the great selling points I see of using an HV-22 vice the C-2: 1. common parts with the Marine and Air Force versions, whereas only the Navy flies the C-2 and there are less of less of them; 2. It can air refuel, but the C-2 cannot. 3. It can hoist its cargo directly to any ship, vice a C-2 (COD), which can only fly to an aircraft carrier. 4. The HV-22 is a smaller footprint than the C-2, so will take less deck space than the C-2, therefore you can have 3 instead of only 2 onboard. 5. It doesn’t require a trap or cat shot therefore making t/o and landing much less intrusive to cyclic or flex carrier ops. 68 mill is much more than a new COD, but superior capabilities make it worth it

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Several of these posts make a good case for a bigger buy than one per carrier.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Wups, I hit Submit Comment a little too fast.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if ultimately we have to semi-customize some V-22 COD airframes to permit hauling uncased engines, and if the customizing somewhat reduces the ability of the airframe to handle quite the same load as unmodified airframes. That’s OK, because as America - class ships appear, they’re going to need enhanced COD too. If the F35’s foreign customers stay with it (there aren’t actually all that many customers who have signed enforceable contracts) there will be opportunity to sell them COD V-22s to maintain their own fleet of aircraft on their carriers as well. Who knows? If DRDO doesn’t insist on building their own, India’s carriers might benefit from this aircraft too.

  • John Greer

    If you think that this is the role these aircraft are being purchased for, then all I can say is duh.

  • John Daly

    Volume/capacity to transport available “cube” is the critical mission requirement not payload weight. Most cargoes will cube out long before they gross out. Programs for logistical support aircraft continue to be of secondary importance in naval aviation until the operational situation reaches the crisis level. The days to the carrier battle sailing over the horizon and operating independently of shore-based logistical support have been cone for a long time. Cut the supply chain between the carrier and the shore, and combat air operation will suffer dramatically. WHEN WILL WE LEARN THE LESSONS OF HISTORY? During the early 1980s, when the US Navy deployed carriers to the Persian Gulf, the entire COD (Diego Garcia to the carrier and back again.) capability rested on a single US-3A airframe, which had been developed independently by Lockheed as a feasibility demonstration project. If you want to have nightmares, fit a CV-22 into that operational scenario!

    • blight_

      There’s a limit to shore-based support. In future it’ll probably be logistic ships underway and moving supplies from ship to ship. In WW2 we moved huge quantities of supplies to ports, or built ports in lagoons when we needed repair and resupply facilities closer to the fight. It’s an engineering capability that we will probably need again someday, though in WW2 our logistical facilities were not in serious danger from attack (in contrast to Europe, where rear echelons were endangered in the fall of ’44).

  • Zspoiler

    The Osprey was built to be stationed on board carriers.And maybe a stretched version for the Navy.

    • blight_

      What’s wrong with using the Marine one for the Navy?

  • gordonxaxmxr

    In early eighties Lockheed won a bid for an S3 with a new “cargo fuselage ” version. Gruman opposed it because of the C-2 program. Navy caved. The S3 Cargo had far more range and payload capacity. Could the S-3 Cargo be resusitated?

  • Toady

    Seems more like a ch-46 LHA/LPD COD replacement then a C-2 replacement. Also it would be a good compliment to the C-2 to extend C-2 service life and to move smaller mission critical components.

    I looked to find where the C-2 replacement assumption came from and couldn’t find it. It is an assumption of the original news article. I did find that the navy is building a facility for 12 MV-22 in Hawaii, the same number as this contract calls for.

    Because the Navy is fitting it out, don’t expect more then very minimal modifications, e.g. no structural mods. No structural mods means its not suitable as a C-2 COD replacement.

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