On November 11th, Coronado will have the opportunity to celebrate, along with the U.S. Navy, the mark of 100 years of aviation services here at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI). According to Commander, Naval Installations Command public website: “This base is home to many different types of aircraft and operational naval forces. Unequaled in operational scope and complexity, Naval Base Coronado (NBC) provides a shore-based platform for helicopters, aircraft carriers, SEAL Teams and other ashore and afloat commands for access to a comprehensive quantity of ground, sea, air, and undersea operational and training space. NBC accommodates the requirements of 16 helicopter squadrons, two fixed wing squadrons, two aircraft carriers, four SEAL Teams, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command squadrons, and other air, surface and subsurface commands.” One specific type of aircraft is the COD or Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft (C-2A).
The C-2A “Greyhound” is a fleet of aging aircraft that the Navy has scheduled for retirement starting in 2018. The Greyhound stationed aboard NASNI and Naval Station Norfolk has provided logistic support to the US Navy for over 50 years. The Greyhound, due to its range and ability to land aboard aircraft carriers, is used to transport personnel to and from aircraft carriers and land. It’s also a vital link in the Navy’s supply chain providing parts and supplies to the Carrier Air Group. If you have been in Coronado long enough, you have seen the C-2As flying by the beach and landing at NASNI. The C-2A was commissioned in the 1960s, refurbished in 1973 and again in 2010. In 2016, it was announced that this aging fleet’s duty will be coming to an end. In an article for the U.S. Naval Institute, it states that the C-2A will be signing off and the V-22 Osprey is on deck and slated for procurement to begin in 2018.
This is a video of the V-22 taking off and landing in various locations. Its propellers can transition from a hovering position like a helicopter to a forward facing position like an airplane. This unique capability allows the aircraft to fly much farther and faster than a helicopter, but allows it the versatility to land without a runway.
After speaking with Ted Brown, the Environmental Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Forces Command and the V-22 project, he stated that the program is currently working on an Environmental Assessment Study that will be released prior to the public comment time period and community meeting. The transition from the C-2A to the V-22 airframe will begin in 2020 and will be complete by the end in 2028.
In January, the Department of the Navy will be releasing an official press release that will include information about the V-22, timeline for the transition, and what local residents can expect. Sandy DeMunnik, the Public Affairs Officer for Naval Air Station North Island, has stated that the the Navy plans to hold a public meeting for the City of Coronado at the Recreation center in January 2018.