Photo taken by U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila
The Navy is looking to retire its fleet of Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhounds, which are reaching the end of their service lives. Replacing them would be new Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys. Outlined in a recent Draft Environment Assessment, the replacement would take place at West and East Coast Fleet Logistics Centers Naval Air Station North Island in California, and Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia.
According to the document, the Navy’s proposal includes:
- Replacing 27 legacy C-2A aircraft operated by existing fleet logistics support squadrons with 38 Navy V-22 aircraft operated by fleet logistics support multi-mission squadrons
- Establishing a Navy V-22 training squadron for pilots and aircrews
- Establishing a maintenance school for maintenance personnel
- Construct, renovate and maintain facilities to accommodate Navy V-22 squadron aircraft and personnel
- Making adjustments to personnel levels (increases or decreases) associated with the Navy V-22 training squadron and the maintenance school
- Conducting Navy V-22 flight training operations
If approved, these items would be implemented over a 10-year period, starting this year.
Along with the option to do nothing, the Navy proposed two alternative actions.
The first alternative has the Navy providing facilities and functions to replacement the C-2As at the North Island and Norfolk stations. The training squadron and maintenance school would be stood up at North Island. The aircraft transition would begin in 2020, which is when the first aircraft would be expected to arrive. The transition would be completed in the 2028 timeframe.
The difference in the second alternative is that the training squadrons and maintenance school would be established at Norfolk instead of North Island. And although the aircraft transition would be completed during the same 10-year time frame, the last C-2A would leave Norfolk by 2026, whereas the first alternative has the last one leaving North Island in 2024.
Both alternatives would increase total airfield operations at North Island: alternative one by 14% and alternative two by 7%. According to the Navy, neither increase would be significant. Alternative two would increase annual airfield operations at Norfolk by some 8.5%. The increase would not impact other airspace users.
The Navy also said that neither the first nor second alternatives would result in a perceivable change in noise. Air pollutant emissions from construction activities would be insignificant, and the Ospreys’ emissions would be above the altitude covered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mixing height for air pollutants.
Alternative one would bring an increase of 341 personnel to North Island and a decrease of 126 at Norfolk. Alternative two would increase personnel at North Island by 161 and increase the personnel at Norfolk by 54. Neither option would have significant socioeconomic impact.
The proposal is currently in the public review period. Public open house information meetings are planned in Norfolk Thursday and Coronado, California, Jan. 23.