The Caribou series proved to be such an effective battlefield transport aircraft that more than a few were pressed into service as captured C-7's in the hands of the North Vietnamese. The type continues to serve in limited numbers and was seen in action as recent as 2000 with Australian forces in East Timor. By 1973, the Caribou series would see over 300 examples produced.
The Caribou was a twin-engine design undertaken by de Havilland Canada as a private project with hopes of enticing the military forces of both Canada and the United States of America. The initial design was designated as the DHC-4 and was engineered with short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities in mind and was a naturally rugged design to boot, making most enticing to the United States Army, which went on to order five evaluation models as the YAC-1. From there, the Caribou emerged as a production model in the AC-1 series which would later become the CV-2. By the time the United States Air Force took over control of the Caribou aircraft in early 1967, the designation was changed once again to the more identifiable C-7 series.
At its core, the Caribou was powered by two Pratt & Whitney brand engines generating 1,450shp (DHC-4). Engines were mounted on a high-wing / straight-wing monoplane assembly allowing for optimal ground clearance around the fuselage and especially the three-bladed propeller systems. A large cargo hold door was mounted to the rear part of the main fuselage with the single-rudder tail assembly extending past and over the loading area door. Hold capabilities were very generous and could allow for the transport of 32 troops, 22 medevac litters, 2 vehicles or up to 4 tons of cargo in the form of equipment, supplies or artillery systems.
In the end, the United States became the largest operator of the Caribou system in operation with both the United States Army and the United States Air Force. Australia also operated (and in some cases continues to do so) the type along with Canada, Spain, Columbia and India among others. The system proved quite capable in the rugged Vietnamese battlefront and was a highly prized vehicle for having the ability to land on short airstrips to deliver supplies / manpower and retrieve the wounded.
YAC-1 - US Army Evaluation Model Designation of which 5 examples were ordered.
AC-1A - Initial Production Model Designation later changed to CV-2B, then to C-7A.
CV-2B - US Army Series Designation
C-7A - US Air Force Series Designation
DHC-4A - Australian Base Model Series Designation.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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