Naval Air: Some Vintage COD For Charles de Gaulle


June 20, 2011: The French Navy has leased two U.S. Navy C-2A COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) aircraft. This is a temporary solution to their need to deliver air cargo to their nuclear carrier (Charles de Gaulle) while the ship is heavily engaged supporting air operations over Libya. France has long used the similar E-2 radar aircraft, from which the C-2 was developed. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is looking for a new COD aircraft. It is now using 30 aging C-2s. The C-2 can carry 4.5 tons of cargo (or 26 passengers), per sortie, to or from a carrier. Cruise speed is 460 kilometers an hour, and range is over 800 kilometers. The current C-2s are over two decades sold, and are being refurbished so they can go for another decade. But after that, no one knows.

The navy is considering using the V-22 tilt rotor aircraft for COD missions, but has not made a decision yet. If the U.S. Navy adopts the V-22 for COD missions, this might lead to Britain and France also adopting the V-22 for these missions. Both V-22 and C-2 weigh the same (about 25 tons). The U.S. Marine Corps MV-22s can carry 24 troops 700 kilometers (vertical take-off on a ship, level flight, landing, and return) at 400 kilometers an hour. As a COD aircraft, the V-22 is similar as the C-2. That means a slightly slower (445 kilometers an hour) cruise speed, and the V-22 is more expensive to maintain, but can land on carrier more easily (as a helicopter) and can carry loads of up to 4.5 tons slung underneath. This enables the COD to deliver outsize objects (replacement components or structures for the ship, or aircraft parts that would not fit inside a C-2 (or V-22.)



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