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McDonnell Douglas C-9
Military transport aircraft series based on the DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas C-9 is a military version of the McDonnell DouglasDC-9 airliner. It was produced as the C-9A Nightingale for the United States Air Force, and the C-9B Skytrain II for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The final flight of the C-9A Nightingale was in September 2005, and the C-9C was retired in September 2011. The U.S. Navy retired its last C-9B in July 2014. The two remaining C-9s in Marine service were retired in April 2017.
Design and development
In 1966, the U.S. Air Force identified a need for an aeromedical transport aircraft and ordered C-9A Nightingale aircraft the following year. Deliveries began in 1968. The U.S. Air Force received 21 C-9A aircraft from 1968 to 1969. The C-9As were used for medical evacuation, passenger transportation, and special missions from 1968 to 2005. The C-9A were named for English social reformer Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing.
After selecting a modified DC-9 for passenger and cargo transport, the U.S. Navy ordered its first five C-9Bs, bureau numbers 159030 thru 159034 in April 1972. However, since the Air Force in the early 1970s, under the Military Airlift Command, was responsible for moving military personnel from place to place this order was canceled.
The Navy documented to Congress that their people were being given last seating on Air Force flights. Congress authorized the Navy to fly its own passenger/cargo jets shortly thereafter. The Navy ordered eight aircraft, bureau numbers 159113 thru 159120. The first four went to VR-30 at NAS Alameda in California for west coast logistical support while the second four went to VR-1 at Norfolk in Virginia for east coast support. An additional six aircraft, bureau numbers 160046 through 160051 were delivered to the Navy and the Marine Corp in 1976 with the first two aircraft being delivered to the Marine Corp at MCAS Cherry Point, the second two delivered to VR-1 at NAS Norfolk and the last two delivered to VR-30 at NAS Alameda. An additional ten more new and ten used DC-9s were purchased and converted to C-9B for the Navy. The last C-9B to fly for the Navy was retired on 28 June 2014.
The C-9B aircraft have provided cargo and passenger transportation as well as forward deployed air logistics support for the Navy and Marine Corps. (The original "Skytrain" was the World War II era C-47 developed from the civilian DC-3.) A C-9B was also chosen by NASA for reduced gravity research, replacing the aging KC-135Vomit Comet.
Many of the Navy's C-9Bs had a higher maximum gross take-off weight of 110,000 lb (50,000 kg). Auxiliary fuel tanks were installed in the lower cargo hold to augment the aircraft's range to nearly 2,600 nautical miles (4,800 km) for overseas missions, along with the addition of tail mounted infrared scramblers to counter heat seeking missile threats in hostile environments.
The C-9B squadron (VR) were located throughout the continental U.S., with detachments operated in Europe, and Asia.
C-9A Nightingale - 21 aeromedical evacuation aircraft based on the DC-9-32CF for U.S. Air Force delivered during 1968-69. One was converted for executive transport and stationed at Chievres, Belgium; a second aircraft was converted for VIP transport by the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base.
C-9B Skytrain II - 24 convertible passenger/transport versions of the DC-9-32CF for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps delivered from 1973 to 1976. Five more C-9s were converted from passenger configured DC-9s.
VC-9C - 3 executive transport aircraft for the U.S. Air Force; these were delivered in 1976 and served until 2011.
^"Archived copy"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-02-26. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Drummer, Janene L. and Wilcoxson, Kathryn A. "Chronological History of the C-9A Nightingale." March 2001. Retrieved July 9, 2015.