US Navy surges Greyhounds to cover CMV-22B capability gap

The fatal crash of a USAF CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor off the coast of Japan on November 29, 2023, led to an extended fleet-wide grounding, severely impacting US Navy carrier operations as the CMV-22B was increasingly being used for logistics and resupply duties in its new carrier onboard delivery (COD) role.

The C-2A Greyhound was initially planned to be withdrawn from use in 2027, but this date was brought forward to 2024, with the fleet expected to be fully transitioned to the CMV-22B by 2028. More recently, revised plans saw the US Navy move to retire its 15 remaining East Coast-based C-2As – which are operated by Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40) ‘Rawhides’ at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia – over the next two years.

A C-2A Greyhound attached to VRC-40 ‘Rawhides’ lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75), during flight deck certification operations on February 16, 2024.
A C-2A Greyhound attached to VRC-40 ‘Rawhides’ lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75), during flight deck certification operations on February 16, 2024. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Robledo

The Navy had intended to replace them – as well as the 12 recently retired West Coast-based Greyhounds – with a fleet of 38 CMV-22B Ospreys. The service stopped training new C-2A pilots and began to wind down spares and logistic support for the Greyhound as part of its retirement plan.

The West Coast-based C-2A squadron, VRC-30 ‘Providers’ – based at NAS North Island in California – flew its last Greyhound sortie on September 20, 2023, and the unit was deactivated on December 8, having transferred its Detachment 5 at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, to VRC-40 on September 30, that year.

While there has been no change to the planned 2026 sundown date for the C-2A, in the short term, the Navy’s sole remaining Greyhound squadron (VRC-40) has surged its operations to meet COD mission requirements for deployed aircraft carriers in the US Fifth and Seventh Fleets. CMV-22Bs aboard the West Coast-based Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), had to be replaced by C-2As from VRC-40.