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  • Grumman C-1A / TF-1 Trader Carrier-based Transport Aircraft

    The Grumman C-1 Trader served aboard USN carriers from the 1950s through the 1980s with notable action in the Vietnam War.

     Updated: 4/5/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The C-1 Trader was a carrier-based transport (Carrier-Onboard-Delivery - COD) aircraft utilized by the United States Navy from the 1950s into the 1980s. While less than 100 examples were ultimately produced, her airframe was part of further useful and dedicated roles for the USN during her tenure. The C-1, itself, was developed into two distinct roles all her own (the TF-1/C-1A transport and the TF-1Q/EC-1A ECM platform) and shared the same airframe design with the similar Grumman "Tracker" and "Tracer" products.

    Trader Origins

    Origins of the Trader stemmed from a United States Navy requirement for a modern anti-submarine carrier-based warplane. In 1950, Grumman delivered on the response with their Model G89 product, a rather compact, twin-engine, propeller-driven design. The United States Navy assigned the prototype designation of XS2F-1 to the Grumman model and first flight was achieved on December 4th, 1952. Developmental models carried the designation of YS2F-1 up until 1962. Two prototypes were produced and these were followed by fifteen developmental airframes. However, while this program went on to produce the Anti-Submarine Warfare-minded "S2F-1 Tracker", the "TF-1 Trader" was born from the S2F Tracker (as was the "WF-2 Tracer"). Deliveries commenced in 1954. In comparison, the Trader saw production totals peak at only 87 examples while the Tracker went on to be produced in some 1,284 total examples.

    The TF-1 Becomes the C-1, Births the TF-1Q and Evolves the WF-2

    The TF-1 featured a cabin area that could be setup to ferry up to up to nine adult passengers or up to 3,500lbs of goods. She was branched off into an Electronic CounterMeasures variant in the converted "TF-1Q", of which only four existed (as part of the 87 production total). The Trader program was further developed to include a modified Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platform originally known as the "TF-1W" and this project became the radome-mounting "WF-2 Tracer" (itself ultimately to become the "E-1 Tracer" after the 1962 redesignation). 1962 saw a restructuring in the way the United States Military designated their aircraft, resulting in an all-new designation for the Trader series. She gave up her original TF-1 designation to become the "C-1A". Similarly, the TF-1Q became the "EC-1A" that same year. Other aircraft in the USAF, USN, USMC and US Army inventories followed suit.

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    Grumman C-1A / TF-1 Trader Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1952
    Type: Carrier-based Transport Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Grumman - USA
    Production Total: 87

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 42.32 feet (12.9 meters)
    Width: 69.55 feet (21.20 meters)
    Height: 16.08 feet (4.90 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 18,748 lb (8,504 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 29,150 lb (13,222 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Wright R-1820-82WA Cyclone 9-cylinder radial piston engines developing 1,525 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 287 mph (462 kph; 249 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,300 miles (2,092 km)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XS2F-1 - Original USN Designation

    TF-1 - Original Designation for initial production examples based on S2F Tracker model; redesignated to C-1A beginning in 1962; 87 examples produced.

    TF-1Q - Four Electronic Countermeasures Conversion Models of TF-1 production examples; redesignated to EC-1A beginning in 1962.

    C-1A - Redesignation of TF-1 production models beginning in 1962.

    EC-1A - Redesignation of TF-1Q Electronic Countermeasures production models beginning in 1962.

    TF-1W - Airborne Early Warning derivative becoming the WF-2 (E-1) Tracer.