Navy Prepares for Carrier Onboard Delivery Transition

Artist rendering courtesy of Boeing.

 

Later this year, the Navy will begin a 10-year process of replacing the C-2A Greyhound with the CMV-22B Osprey as its carrier onboard delivery (COD) platform, according to a draft environmental assessment released Jan. 3 by U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

The Navy’s plan calls for replacing the remaining 34 C-2A Greyhounds with 44 CMV-22B Ospreys beginning in 2020. The Navy-variant Osprey is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in fiscal 2021. The transition will get underway this year with facility renovations and some personnel actions at the Navy’s existing East and West Coast Fleet Logistics Centers—Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Virginia, and Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, San Diego.

The CMV-22B is expected to reach full operational capability in 2024 and have completely replaced the C-2A by 2026. The Navy anticipates the full fleet of CMV-22Bs will be delivered by 2028.

A new, Navy-specific variant of the tiltrotor V-22 Osprey, the CMV-22B is being designed as a modified version of the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22B, tailored to the mission of delivering cargo and passengers to aircraft carriers and, potentially, other ships at sea. To that end, the CMV-22B will boast extended range and a beyond-visual-range high-frequency radio for contacting ships beyond the horizon. It will also include a public address system for communicating with passengers.

Because the CMV-22B will operate out of the same locations as the C-2A, the transition is expected to have only minor impacts on the environment and local community, according to the draft environmental assessment.

In addition to the aircraft transition, the two existing COD squadrons—Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 based at NAS North Island and VRC-40 at NS Norfolk—will be replaced with Fleet Logistics Support Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 at North Island and VRM-40 in Norfolk.

The Navy also plans to establish a V-22 fleet replacement squadron (FRS) and maintenance school, and is weighing whether to do so at Chambers Field at NS Norfolk or Halsey Field at NAS North Island. The current COD training squadron, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, is located in Norfolk.

If the FRS—a training squadron—is located at Norfolk, it would increase the base’s total COD aircraft from 17 to 20, and from 10 to 18 at North Island, while personnel at the two bases would increase by 54 and 161, respectively. The last C-2A would leave North Island by 2024, and Norfolk by 2026.

If the FRS is stationed at North Island, its COD aircraft would increase to 23 and it would add 341 personnel, while Norfolk would lose two COD aircraft and 126 personnel.

Until the training squadron is stood up, existing fleet logistics support squadrons will begin their transition to the CMV-22B by training with the MV-22B training squadron—Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204—and maintenance school at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

The Navy held public meetings on the draft environment assessment in January in Norfolk and Coronado, California.

Jeff Newman is a staff writer for Naval Aviation News.