Home » Aviation » Update: SECNAV Mabus Confirms V-22 Carrier Delivery Memo

Update: SECNAV Mabus Confirms V-22 Carrier Delivery Memo

An MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft USS George Washington (CVN-73). US Navy Photo

An MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft USS George Washington (CVN-73). US Navy Photo

The following post has been updated to include additional comments from Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA).

CRYSTAL CITY, VA. – The Secretary of the Navy confirmed the existence of an agreement between the Navy and Marine Corps to utilize the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor as the Navy’s replacement for the Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhound as the utility aircraft for the Navy’s carrier.

“I know that the memorandum has become public before the budget, but I simply have to wait until the budget drops on the V-22,” Mabus said during the Surface Navy Association 2015 symposium.
“One of thing I will say on the possible use of the V-22 is those are great examples of the Navy and Marine Corps team working together. It’s also a great example of using a proven manufacturing process, a proven asset to get [capability out] by using a proven system.”

Earlier this week, a report in Breaking Defense gave details of the Jan. 5 memorandum of understanding (MOU) — signed by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford and Mabus — will have the Navy buy four V-22s starting in Fiscal Year 2018 to 2020.

“The Navy is responsible for modifying these V-22s into an HV-22 configuration for the [carrier onboard delivery] (COD) mission,” reads the document.
“The parties agree that subsequent documents will provide details on the concept of operations and milestones. A memorandum of agreement will detail [reimbursable] Marine Corps support for the Navy’s HV-22 transition, which includes training and potential deployment of Marine MV-22 aircraft and personnel to support COD requirements.”

In response to the report, Navy officials told USNI News, “the Navy continues to consider acquisition strategies and options to recapitalize the carrier onboard delivery, or COD, capability by 2026.”

The final decision will be included in the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of the Navy budget submission, due to Congress in early February.

The current Greyhound fleet is more than 30 and the requirement is closer to 44, Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), told reporters on Thursday.

The Department of the Navy conducted an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the new COD looking at, “extending the service life of the current COD aircraft, building new aircraft or using the MV-22 in the role of the COD aircraft,” Stackley said.
“There were pros and cons with each.”

Though Stackley would not confirm the V-22 as the future COD, he did say its selection would mean a significant change in the concept of operations (CONOPS) for the aircraft.

“When you look at the MV-22 as the COD, it’s much more than a COD aircraft and then you have to take a look at that and ask yourself, ‘given all the capability of the MV-22, all that other capability that you get, all the different ways you can employ that aircraft just as the COD, what that would mean in terms of the air wing, the carrier, the other ships in the carrier battle group, you have to spend a lot of time look at that in terms of CONOPS and is that a good fit or not,” he said.
“[But] I didn’t say that’s what we’re doing.”

The Greyhound airframe has been in use by the service since the 1960s and is among the oldest aircraft in use by the Navy.

In addition to Bell-Boeing, Northrop had pitched an upgraded C2 platform while Lockheed Martin offered the unusual idea of rebuilding the service’s old S-3 Viking aircraft as a COD and a refueling tanker branded as a C-3.

With the likely selection of the V-22 for the COD role, the largest outstanding question is how the aircraft will transport the engine F-135 engine for the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

“The high power module in the F-135 is a beast,” Vice Adm. David Buss, commander Naval Air Forces, said in early 2014.

Stackley said the Navy was still working on the engine transportation problem with the MV-22.

“We’re using mockups to demonstrate whether or not we can or can’t {transport the engine]. We’re going through form, fit and function, mockups to see how it would integrate with an MV-22,” he said.

  • CharleyA

    That’s kind of an unclear “confirmation” – almost like “we’re going to try this out to see if works…”

    • Ctrot

      Let’s hope that is all it is and that they come to their senses.

  • ChiChiChiba

    Slower than a greyhound, but carries more. But $72,000,000 each to deliver mail? What’s wrong with the old C2 COD? No need for flight ops?

  • Richard Morrison

    The upcoming CH-53K will be more than able to carry the loads required in the future and there is nothing wrong with the current c-2 at worst, buy the upgraded model proposed by Northrop

    • James B.

      The current C-2s are falling apart, and the Navy would rather have a replacement in hand before they retire the C-2.

  • old guy

    GEE WHIZ Fellers. I hear that they are going to use ENTITLEMENT money, just like FOOD STAMPS and other WELFARE programs.

  • Rick Lewis

    Advantages to using the V-22 include:

    a) They can deliver not only to carriers, but also to any other ship with a helicopter pad.
    b) They can take off and land in almost any wind conditions.
    c) They do not require the use of the catapult and arrested landing systems.
    d) They can be used for search and rescue operations of downed air crews.

    • old guy

      You mean other helos can’t? You had better check operations about your “wind conditions” statement.
      Any A/C, especially helos can be used for search. Setting down in the water is another matter. It CAN’T do that.

      • Rick Lewis

        As to wind conditions, they can face into the wind and take off by
        tilting their rotors, not requiring the ship to turn into the wind.
        With the rotors tilted they take off with the fuselage horizontal in
        moderate wind conditions, unlike a helicopter.

        Of course the C-2 can’t settle in the water either. The search and rescue item was just a way of saying it’s useful for more than just resupply and wouldn’t just sit in the hanger deck until they’re near port again. With a roll-on/roll-off refueling system the V-22 could also be used as a tanker for fast jets.

        • old guy

          The reasons I oppose V-22 are simple:
          1. Availability; lowest of any USN A/C. That is why the Prez turned it down as his replacement.
          2. Cost. 70 MEG+ maintenance pkge, EACH.
          3. Short life expectancy.
          4 WAAAAAAY overly complex.
          Look fellas, this concept was junk from the get-go. Here are some of the reasons Generals Jones and Krulak and others tried in the early 90s to kill the program. (They voted no before they voted yes).
          A. Putting the engines at the end of the wing stubs is like carrying your luggage with your arms outstretched.
          B. Having tilt rotor vs. tilt wing causes rotor downwash to impinge on the wing stubs.
          C. Not mounting the engines on the fuselage means a loooooong cross shaft.
          D. Maintenance is a bear. Ask ’em.
          E. A compound version of any helo (like the C-53k) can match speed.

  • HMP

    This is a gigantic waste of money. The (k)c3 would have been a much better, proven technology-based, solution. But Boeing’s future employees at the Pentagon are buying their future jobs with our tax dollars. Ridiculous. By the way, a stretched S3 would have also worked great to mount a radar in the AEW role. Too simple for our acquisition geniuses to handle.

    • TronsAway

      Why would selecting a non-existent model of an out of service aircraft (stretched S-3 AEW variant) be a wiser choice than the continued incremental improvement of an existing, in production, multi-national E-2 program with over 50 years of successful operations, maintenance, logistics, and training pipeline? The latter seems like a far better acquisition strategy.

      By the way, the S-3 COD proposal exists only in the few pictures produced by LM’s graphic artists, and the concept, if pursued, would be a nearly entirely new aircraft with the resultant redesign, manufacturing, flight test, delivery delays – and price. Should LM choose to request a few mothballed S-3s to modify, test, and present for evaluation (including detailed contract and per unit acquisition cost) it might be viable.

      • old guy

        The reasons are simple:
        1. Availability; lowest of any USN A/C. That is why the Prez turned it down as his replacement.
        2. Cost.
        3. Short life expectancy.
        4 WAAAAAAY overly complex

    • James B.

      For everything the the S-3 COD idea has going for it, the V-22 COD only needs one to counter it: they are available now.

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  • DepDawg

    S-3 might make a good tanker, but no way a COD – the Hoover is far too small to fulfill COD duties.

    • Masau80

      Yet, there use to be a US-3 COD. If you saw Lockheed’s concept, they were going to re-manufacture the fuselage to be able to fully meet all the COD requirements – including internal carry of the F-135 module. OBE now as it looks like South Korea is going to buy most of the remaining S-3’s and use them as intended, for ASW.

      • Ed L

        Sad, The Navy could bring back the S-3 in a couple of variants. Cargo/Tanker and Anti Submarine and Surface variant.

  • Secundius

    Special Under Wing Mounted Storage Pods were Created for the S-3B Viking. Each capable of Carrying 7,500-liters “Wet” Volume Storage, or a Single Complete Pratt & Whitney F-135 Turbofan Engine…