Naval Air Systems (NAVAIR) command has revealed that Northrop will perform a six-month study to analyse options for remanufacturing the C-2A fleet. Former standalone aircraft manufacturer Grumman first flew the C-2A in 1964. The original fleet was retired in the late 1980s and replaced with 36 new C-2As manufactured from the early 1980s to 1990. Eight years ago, the navy launched a service life extension programme for all 36 C-2As, which required the removal of the centre wing box. The C-2As are designed to survive 36,000 carrier landings and 15,000 flight hours. It is not clear how much additional service life the navy hopes to achieve by launching a remanufacturing programme. NAVAIR's announcement says the study will focus on remanufacturing the C-2A's fuselage. Northrop also must analyse remanufacturing ideas that provide "maximum use of common components and tooling with E-2D production", NAVAIR says. C-2A is a close derivative of the E-2A model that has evolved over 50 years into the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Both aircraft sport a distinctive tail with four vertical fins, a concession to the height restrictions of storage on board an aircraft carrier. Remanufacturing the C-2A could be a final blow to the hopes of the Bell Boeing joint venture. The navy once committed to buy 48 V-22 Ospreys to replace the carrier on-board delivery mission that is now performed by the C-2As. Northrop is at the beginning of ramping up the E-2D programme to reach full-rate production of eight aircraft a year. The E-2D is assembled at Northrop's factory in St Augustine, Florida.

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