Today’s a big day in the history books of US Naval Aviation, with the predecessor of today’s F/A-18 Hornet flying for the first time on this date in 1978. Still in production today as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler, the Hornets now form the backbone of the US Navy’s tactical strike fighter fleet.
The Hornet rightfully gets plenty of love, but there’s another airframe out there that brings a lot to the Carrier Air Group – quite literally, in fact. Grumman’s C-2A Greyhound might not be the sleekest, fastest, or most lethal aircraft in the Navy’s inventory, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a vital asset to the Navy’s carrier fleet.
Dubbed the COD for Carrier Onboard Delivery, it’s the only aircraft designed exclusively to provide logistical support to the Navy’s carriers by air. In support of that mission, it can carry 10,000 pounds of cargo for over 1000 miles. The design borrows parts from their E-2 Hawkeye (like that readily distinguishable tail with 4 vertical stabs!), with the first C-2A Greyhound taking flight on November 18, 1964.
The operational Greyhounds are split between two Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons, VRC-30 “Providers” and VRC-40 “Rawhides.” Operating as two-ship detachments from land bases within the Carrier Strike Group’s AOR, the CODs usually haul around 5000 passengers and approximately 1 million pounds of cargo to and from the carrier during a six month deployment.
Every airframe has a life limit, and the updated C-2 fleet is in need of replacement before the end of the 2020s. Though Northrop Grumman has pitched an even more modernized C-2, earlier this year the US Navy announced its selection of the V-22 Osprey for the COD replacement aircraft, marking the end of a long era of Grumman’s reign of COD designs.
Over fifty years on and despite getting long in the tooth, these venerable airplanes are still going strong and this video shows them doing exactly what they were designed to do: deliver.
In COD we trust!
(featured photo by Jonathan Derden)