Carrier onboard delivery

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USS George Washington (CVN-73) crew unload mail from two C-2A Greyhounds in 2011

Carrier onboard delivery (COD) is the use of aircraft to ferry personnel, mail, supplies, and high-priority cargo, such as replacement parts, from shore bases to an aircraft carrier at sea.[1] Several types of aircraft, including helicopters, have been used by navies in the COD role. The Grumman C-2 Greyhound has been the United States Navy's primary COD aircraft since the mid-1960s.


Early United States Navy (USN) recognition of need for a cargo plane capable of carrier landings resulted in airframe conversion of Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bombers to unarmed seven-passenger COD aircraft designated TBM-3R. Replacement of TBM-3Rs began in the late 1950s. Grumman built a cargo variant of its twin-piston-engined Grumman S-2 Tracker anti-submarine warfare bomber as the C-1A Trader. (Contrary to popular belief,[2] C-130 Hercules was not tested for COD.[3]) In the late 1960s Grumman began production of a cargo variant of its twin-turboprop E-2 Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning aircraft known as the C-2A Greyhound. Five Lockheed US-3A Viking aircraft were also used from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. The C-2 has remained the U.S. Navy's primary COD vehicle since that time.

Several U.S. Navy "Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons" provided COD services aboard carriers since the World War II, including VR-5, VR-21, VR-22, VR-23, VR-24, VRC-30, VRC-40, and VRC-50.[citation needed]

On 6 October 2012, a MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft from squadron VMM-165 landed and refueled on board the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). This operation was part of an evaluation of the feasibility of the MV-22 as a potential replacement for the current C-2 cargo transport aircraft.[4][5] Further cargo handling trials took place in 2013 on Harry S. Truman.[6]

In April 2014 Lockheed Martin announced that they would offer refurbished and remanufactured Lockheed S-3 Vikings as a replacement for the decades-old Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhound on-board carrier delivery aircraft. Dubbed the C-3, the aircraft would have a wider fuselage, but would retain the original wings, tail assembly, engines and crew compartment. With an unrefueled range of 2,400 nautical miles (4,400 km; 2,800 mi) carrying a 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) load, Lockheed stated that the C-3 would have twice the range of a new C-2, and triple the range of a V-22 Osprey. Unlike other competitors, the C-3 could meet the critical requirement to transport replacement Pratt & Whitney jet engines for the F-35. The requirement for 35 aircraft would be met from the 91 S-3s currently in storage.[7] In 2015, the Navy published a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for using 4 to 12 HV-22s as COD.[8][9] On 3 February 2016, the future COD version was designated as the CMV-22B.[10]

List of COD aircraft[edit]

A CMV-22 Osprey land on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz

Several aircraft types have been specifically designed or modified for COD missions:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United States Navy Fact File". United States Navy. United States Navy. April 4, 2013. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  2. ^ "Hercules Is The Biggest Plane In History To Do This". World War Wings. Archived from the original on 31 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  3. ^ Carroll, Ward (2022-02-03). Here's How a Fighter Pilot Landed a Cargo Plane on a Carrier (video). YouTube.
  4. ^ "MV-22 Osprey Flight Operations Tested Aboard USS Nimitz". Avionics Intelligence. PennWell Corporation. October 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-09.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Renee Candelario, USN (October 8, 2012). "MV-22 Osprey Flight Operations Tested Aboard USS Nimitz". NNS121008-13. USS Nimitz Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  6. ^ Butler, Amy (18 April 2013). "Osprey on the Truman, Fishing for COD". Aviation Week. The McGraw-Hill Companies. Archived from the original on 2013-05-20. Retrieved 18 April 2013. Video Archived 2016-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Lockheed Revives an Old Idea for New Carrier Cargo Plane
  8. ^ Whittle, Richard. "Navy Decides to Buy V-22 Ospreys for Carrier Delivery Archived 2017-12-01 at the Wayback Machine" Breaking Defense, 13 January 2015.
  9. ^ Navy and Marines Sign MOU for Bell-Boeing Osprey to be Next Carrier Delivery Aircraft Archived 2015-01-18 at the Wayback Machine -, 13 January 2015
  10. ^ "V-22 Navy variant receives official designation | NAVAIR - U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command - Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-21.

External links[edit]