The C-2A Greyhound is a derivative of the E-2 Hawkeye and replaced the piston-engine powered C-1 Trader in the Carrier On-board Delivery role. The C-2A shares wings, 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 the earlier airframes. Dubbed the "Reprocured C-2A" due to the similarity to the original aircraft, the new C-2A includes substantial airframe and avionic systems improvements. All the older C-2As were phased out in 1987, and the last of the new models was delivered in 1990.
The C-2A Greyhound provides critical logistics support to Carrier Strike Groups. Its primary mission is the transport of high-priority cargo, mail and passengers between carriers and shore bases. Powered by twin Allison T56-A-425 turboprop engines and Hamilton-Standard constant speed propellers, the C-2A can deliver a combined payload of 10,000 pounds over a distance in excess of 1,000 nm. The interior arrangement of the cabin can readily accommodate cargo, passengers and litter patients. Priority cargo such as jet engines can be transported from shore to ship in a matter of hours. A cargo cage system or transport stand provides restraint for loads during launches and landings. The large aft cargo ramp/door and a powered winch allow straight-in rear cargo loading and unloading for fast turnaround. The C-2A's in-flight ramp open capability allows airdrop of supplies and personnel. Its on-board Auxiliary Power Unit provides engine-starting capability and ground power self-sufficiency in remote areas provides an operational versatility found in no other cargo aircraft.