On December 14, 2021, the CMV-22B Osprey reached initial operational capability with the Navy to perform the carrier onboard delivery mission. Unlike the C-2A Greyhound, which it is replacing, the Osprey is able to carry the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that powers the F-35 Lightning II. However, following the fatal crash of an Air Force Special Operations CV-22 in late November 2023, all but one Osprey squadron across the U.S. military have been grounded. To pick up the slack, the Navy is relying on the legacy Greyhound.
With F-35s rolling out to the Pacific Fleet, C-2s were transferred from Naval Air Station North Island, California, to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. There, the Greyhounds continued to support Atlantic Fleet carriers whose squadrons have not switched over to the F-35. With the CMV-22s grounded, C-2s are conducting COD missions in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically to support the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in the Philippine Sea.
Introduced in 1966, the Grumman C-2A Greyhound provides vital aerial logistics support to carrier strike groups. The twin-engine aircraft carries supplies, personnel, and mail between shore bases and carriers at sea. Although the C-2 is not as large as the CMV-22 it has a larger payload capacity. Moreover, the Greyhound's pressurized cabin allows it to fly higher than the Osprey and above weather that the newer aircraft cannot.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey first flew in 1989. It entered service with the Marine Corps in its MV-22B variant in 2007. Two years later, the Air Force fielded its version, the CV-22B. Navy CMV-22B variants began flying COD missions in 2021. The world's first production tiltrotor aircraft, the Osprey touts the ability to perform both vertical takeoffs and landings and short takeoffs and landings.
In addition to being able to carry the F-35's engine, the CMV-22's tiltrotor operation allows it to operate from ships like amphibious assault, dock landing, and transport dock ships. However, the hard clutch of the tiltrotor continues to be a source of mishaps for the Osprey, with 13 crashes resulting in fatalities since it became operational in 2007. Since the November 2023 crash, only Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM-162) continues to fly its Ospreys with special permission to support deployments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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