NAS NORTH ISLAND, Calif. --- Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has been extending the service life of the C-2A Greyhound transport through a variety of maintenance plans and modifications since 2001.
With a 10,000-pound payload capacity, the C-2A has served the Navy since 1965 by transporting high-priority cargo, mail and personnel from aircraft carriers to shore bases.
Now, the command’s mission to keep the airframe active is winding down: On August 17 the last C-2 to undergo planned maintenance interval three (PMI-3), the final interval in the maintenance cycle, landed at the command’s testline.
Induction of the aircraft took place the following day with a test flight to check its vital systems that include the engine, hydraulics, and radar.
Afterward, the plane was sent to Building 460 for the PMI-3 procedure.
The C-2 is serviced under an 83-month, three-cycle program.
The PMI-1 and 2 maintenance events each take about 30 days to complete, while PMI-3, the most comprehensive assessment of the aircraft, requires 270 days to complete.
Maintenance and repairs are completed in accordance with PMI-3 specifications, and costs just under $4 million. The process includes evaluation, disassembly, repair and painting of the aircraft.
“Other C-2s will induct for the much smaller PMI-1 and 2 events and most likely will also have in-service repairs (ISR). Field events for PMI-1 and 2 are scheduled out to Fiscal Year 2022,” noted Jorge Gutierrez-Lopez, FRCSW Props IPT program scheduler.
The depth of some of the maintenance and repairs performed during PMI-3 are not unlike those of the C-2 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) established by the Navy 19 years ago.
SLEP was a one-time procedure that extended the operating service life of the airframe by more than 4,000 catapults and trappings, and approximately 15,000 flight hours.
“During SLEP the wing center section (WCS), which the outer wing panels attach too, was removed from the fuselage. The fuselage would rest on bucks in the hangar and the WCS went in the back shop for repairs. The upper skin was also removed from the WCS for major repairs and reinforcement. Complete rewire inside the fuselage was also done at this time,” Gutierrez-Lopez said.
The procedure targeted the structural integrity of the airframe, and replaced the wing hinge fittings and installed stronger fasteners along the longerons to enhance support of the fuselage.
A significant rewire to the airframe occurred in 2009 with the installation of the Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System (CNS/ATM).
The CNS/ATM was an upgraded avionics and navigation system required for aircraft operating in international airspace, and changed the basic cockpit “steam” gauges and indicators to digital six-by-eight glass displays on the pilot and co-pilot instrument panels.
Gutierrez-Lopez said that from four to 25 artisans would work on the aircraft and its components throughout the PMI-3 procedure.
The aircraft is scheduled to return to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120 (VAW-120) in Norfolk after PMI-3 is complete.
To date, fewer than 35 C-2As remain in service. They are to be phased out this decade and replaced by the MV-22 Osprey.