The C-2 Greyhound is a derivative of the E-2 Hawkeye and replaced the piston-engined C-1 Trader in the Carrier On-board Delivery role. The C-2 shares wings, power plants and empennage with the E-2 Hawkeye, but has a widened fuselage with a rear loading ramp. The first of two prototypes flew in 1964 and production began the following year. The original C-2A aircraft were overhauled to extend their operational life in 1973. In 1984, a contract was awarded for 39 new C-2A aircraft to replace earlier the airframes. Dubbed the Reprocured C-2A due to the similarity to the original, the new aircraft include substantial improvements in airframe and avionic systems. All the older C-2As were phased out in 1987, and the last of the new models was delivered in 1990. During the period November 1985 to February 1987, VR-24, operating with seven Reprocured C-2As, demonstrated exceptional operational readiness while delivering two million pounds of cargo, two million pounds of mail and 14,000 passengers in support of the European and Mediterranean theatres. The C-2A also provided support to the carrier battle groups during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as during the recent operations in Kosovo.
The C-2A Greyhound provides critical logistics support to aircraft carriers. Its primary mission is Carrier On-Board delivery. Powered by two PT-6 turboprop engines, the C-2A can deliver a payload of up to 10,000 pounds. The cabin can readily accommodate cargo, passengers or both. It is also equipped to accept litter patients in medical evacuation missions. Priority cargo such as jet engines can be transported from shore to ship in a matter of hours. A cage system or transport stand provides cargo restraint for loads during carrier launch or landing. The large aft cargo ramp and door and a powered winch allow straight-in rear cargo loading and downloading for fast turnaround. The C-2A's open-ramp flight capability allows airdrop of supplies and personnel from a carrier-launched aircraft. This, plus its folding wings and an on-board auxiliary power unit for engine starting and ground power self-sufficiency in remote areas provide an operational versatility found in no other cargo aircraft.