The C-41A is a military version of CASA C.212-200 Aviocar in service with US Special Operations Forces. SOCOM belatedly allocated the C-41A designation in 2002. Even with its small size and rarity to the Army, the CASA C-212 Aviocar airplane has proven itself to be a diverse and capable aircraft.
Carrying 75 percent workload for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's Flight Detachment, the CASA is used to move Soldiers in and out of training exercises, as well as put paratroopers and supplies out under their canopies. The unit's CASAs belong to the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, FL. As of 2004 detachment had two on station here, two at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ., and an additional airplane waiting to be delivered to the unit. When the plane originally came out, they were given to both (the US Air Force Special Operations Command) and USASOC to be used for training.
Due to real-world operations, the CASA is now being used during training to conduct infiltrations and ex-filtrations of troops, supply drops and airborne operations in realistic scenarios. The aircraft is popular in other parts of the world because of its capabilities and simplicity. It doesn't have a real complex system. It has fixed landing gear and it's not real expensive, so a lot of Third World or smaller countries on a limited budget operate it.
Because the $6.5 million aircraft is used by other armies, special operations Soldiers are able to train at home in a plane they might have to use while deployed to another country. Special Forces (Soldiers) have a requirement to operate out of non-standard aircraft, because in whatever theater they are assigned to, it is possible that they are going to see all types of airframes coming to support them. To be constantly jumping out of C-130s does them no good. It really fits into their mission to be able to train in the CASA here with USASOC.
The small airplane allows the detachment to conduct both non-tactical and tactical parachute jumps as well as airdrop missions in just a fraction of the time it would take a unit flying in a C-130. The way missions are set up, they can take a unit out in a smaller block of time and get the whole unit jumped.
Another appealing attribute of the CASA is its ability to land on a variety of surfaces. The biggest thing is that it's capable of landing on short, unimproved fields. A C-130 can do that as well, but it needs a significant amount more of landing zone than a CASA would need. Although a C-130 is capable of landing on Fort Bragg's Sicily Drop Zone, it is not capable of landing and taking off in the short amount of distance provided by St. Mere Eglise's landing strip, like the CASA.
But, along with the aircraft's unique landing capabilities, comes weight limitations. Routinely, the maximum weight is about 4,000 pounds. That is a good cargo weight, whether it be the jumpers or supply bundles. The average amount of paratroopers that can jump from the aircraft is equal to a Special Forces Operational Detachment A team, consisting of 12 men, in addition to a jumpmaster and a safety aboard the aircraft, but the overall determining factor is the weight of the fuel, personnel and their equipment combined.
Although the CASA is a civilian aircraft, the military has made modifications in order for the aircraft to meet the Army's mission. As the detachment alters its CASAs to make them more suitable for conducting military operations, they are also improving them with the latest flying technology. With the airplane's unique capabilities, Hopkins said it not only makes for a good jump, but also allows jumpmasters to conduct their operations in the aircraft with more efficiency.
Because of the unique capabilities the CASA provides to the detachment and the command, in both tactical and non-tactical training operations, the special operations Soldiers who use it continue to be prepared for combat missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Primary function: Special operations training.
Speed: 198 mph.
Wingspan 62 ft. 3 in.,
length 49 ft. 7 in.,
height 20 ft. 7 in.
Range: 1,000 miles.
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