Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Greyhound's First Run

As you can see by the inscription, today’s photo is from the first flight of C-2A ship #20. Like me, you might ask, what in the world is so special about the 20th aircraft? The first one, I can understand, but the 20th?

The C-2A Greyhound, or more commonly the COD (for Carrier Onboard Delivery), was originally derived from the E-2 Hawkeye in 1964 with the intent of replacing the older C-1 Trader piston-powered aircraft. Grumman’s engineers took the wings, engines and tail from the E-2 and built a new, wider fuselage capable of rear-loading cargo. Two YC-2A prototypes were built, with first flight taking place on November 18, 1964. These were followed by 17 production aircraft built between 1965 and 1968; twelve additional aircraft that had been envisioned were cancelled, so the lives of the C-1s were extended. In the 1980s, the original Greyhounds were pretty much coming to the end of their useful lives, despite going through a major retrofit.

Instead of developing a whole new replacement aircraft, the Navy asked Grumman in 1982 if they could re-establish the assembly line. The “new” version would have an extensively modified airframe that would enable it to carry heavier loads farther and faster. Normally, such a change in design would have resulted in the plane being called the “C-2B”, but for reasons only the DoD can understand, they instead called it the “Reprocured C-2A”, or C-2A(R). The first one of these was Ship #20, the maiden flight of which, in 1985, is the subject of our Grumman 8x10 photo.

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