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    Aging C-2 Greyhounds Rise to Challenge After V-22 Osprey Fleet Grounded

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    The demand for the venerable C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft has dramatically surged following a comprehensive grounding of the V-22 Osprey fleet due to a devastating mishap. This resurgence underscores the ongoing importance of older but reliable military aircraft in critical logistical roles.

    Grumman C-2 ‘Greyhound’” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    After a tragic accident off the coast of Yakushima, Japan, on November 29, 2023, which claimed the lives of eight service members, the Department of Defense initiated an immediate stand-down of the Osprey fleet.

    Grumman C-2 ‘Greyhound’ at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The grounding remained in effect until March 8, 2024, when the Naval Air Systems Command lifted the flight restrictions following a thorough investigation and implementation of stringent maintenance and procedural updates.

    Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey” by San Diego Shooter is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    During the grounding, the Navy’s reliance on the C-2 Greyhound, specifically the Norfolk-based Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40, known as the Rawhides, intensified. Cmdr. Andrew “Tweedle” Dumm highlighted the elevated demand, stating, “There’s more demand on us than ever. There is a clearly defined need for us to continue this role in carrier onboard delivery.”

    Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft escort Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey aircraft.” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The stand-down coincided with the Navy’s long-term efforts to phase out the C-2 Greyhound in favor of the Osprey. However, the unexpected grounding hastened the return to prominence of the Rawhides’ aging Greyhounds, which had been bracing for decommissioning by 2026. In a historical feat, four Norfolk-based detachments were promptly deployed to support carrier strike groups globally, with a fifth detachment scheduled later in the year.

    V-22 Osprey” by Tim Pohlhaus is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    This marked the first time in the Rawhides’ history that five detachments would be deployed within a year, a significant increase from the typical two to three annual deployments.

    The squadron, established in 1960, rapidly shifted gears from winding down operations to mobilizing detachments worldwide. Dumm conveyed the mission’s significance, “They understood the focus, and they are seeing how they fit in. It is one line removed from a direct impact. It is ‘when I bring this, I am helping protect freedom of navigation. I am helping to protect civilian traffic. I am helping to protect the world.'”

    The heightened operational tempo put additional pressure on sailors and aircraft maintainers, who had to expedite repair and maintenance cycles.

    Civilian contractors and sailors worked diligently on the aircraft, with two planes undergoing a 30-day planned maintenance interval and others receiving more rapid routine care.

    Sailors prepare to launch a C-2 Greyhound” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Chief Veronica Deck, an aviation maintenance administrator, and Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Nigbur, a mechanical aircrewman and crew chief, both commented on the increased workload and the pride in their ability to meet the challenge.

    Grumman C-2 Greyhound” by Jerome_K is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Nigbur stated, “There is pressure, but at the same time there is pride for us as a whole to say that, yes, we were called upon and we will do whatever it takes in a safe way to get these birds out the door so we can provide support and pick up for our brothers, the Osprey community.”

    Grumman C-2 Greyhound” by Jerome_K is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Despite the Osprey’s return to flight status, the ongoing need for the Greyhounds is clear. Enhanced maintenance requirements for the Ospreys ensure that the Rawhides will continue to be an indispensable lifeline to the Navy’s fleet.

    C-2 Greyhound” by Capwatts86 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    While the squadron’s future disestablishment date remains set, the path to that end is now shrouded with uncertainty, as Cmdr. Dumm acknowledged that the planned divestment of detachments is not proceeding as previously scheduled.

    USN C-2 Greyhound” by Capwatts86 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Rawhides’ squadron motto, “We deliver,” remains more relevant than ever, as it serves as both a promise and a testament to their commitment to overcoming logistical challenges and maintaining fleet readiness.

    USN C-2 Greyhound” by Capwatts86 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    “When something breaks on the carrier and there is not a replacement, there is not a spare. It just stays broken until someone brings it,” Dumm said. “We are that lifeline, and we will continue to rise to the challenge.”

    Relevant articles:
    Demand for Older Norfolk-Based Cargo Planes Surges After Navy Stand-Down of Osprey Fleet, aviationpros.com
    based cargo planes back in demand for Navy, The Virginian-Pilot
    Caitlyn Burchett, Daily Press
    NAVAIR Returns V-22 Osprey to Flight Status, Aviation Pros

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