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de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

DHC-4 Caribou
The C-7 Caribou
Role STOL Transport
Manufacturer de Havilland Canada
First flight 30 July 1958
Introduced 1961
Primary users United States Army
Royal Australian Air Force
Number built 307

The de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (known in the U.S. military as CV-2 and C-7 Caribou) was a Canadian-designed and produced specialized cargo aircraft with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. The Caribou was first flown in 1958 and although mainly retired from military operations, is still in use in small numbers as a rugged "bush" aircraft.

Design and development

A C-7 Caribou in the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis, Virginia
A C-7 Caribou in the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis, Virginia

de Havilland Canada's third STOL design was a big step up in size compared to its earlier DHC Beaver and DHC Otter, and was the first DHC design powered by two engines. The Caribou, however, was similar in concept in that it was designed as a rugged STOL utility. The Caribou was primarily a military tactical transport that in commercial service found itself a small niche in cargo hauling. The United States Army ordered 173 in 1959 and took delivery in 1961 under the designation AC-1, which was changed to CV-2 Caribou in 1962.

The majority of Caribou production was destined for military operators, but the type's ruggedness and excellent STOL capabilities requiring only 1200 feet (365 metres) runways in length, also appealed to a select group of commercial users. US certification was awarded on 23 December 1960. Ansett-MAL, which operated a single example in the New Guinea highlands, and AMOCO Ecuador were early customers, as was Air America, (a CIA front in South East Asia during the Vietnam War era for covert operations). Other civil Caribou aircraft entered commercial service after being retired from their military users.

Today only a handful are in civil use.

Operational service

A C-7 Caribou in its Vietnam service colours at Dover AFB Air Mobility Command Museum in July 2007.
A C-7 Caribou in its Vietnam service colours at Dover AFB Air Mobility Command Museum in July 2007.

In response to a US Army requirement for a tactical airlifter to supply the battlefront with troops and supplies and evacuate casualties on the return journey, de Havilland Canada designed the DHC-4. With assistance from Canada's Department of Defence Production, DHC built a prototype demonstrator that flew for the first time on 30 July 1958.

Impressed with the DHC4's STOL capabilities and potential, the US Army ordered five for evaluation as YAC-1s and went on to become the largest Caribou operator. The AC-1 designation was changed in 1962 to CV-2, and then C-7 when the US Army's CV-2s were transferred to the US Air Force in 1967. US and Australian Caribous saw extensive service during the Vietnam conflict.

The U.S. Army purchased 159 of the aircraft and they served their purpose well as a tactical transport during the Vietnam War, where larger cargo aircraft such as the C-123 Provider and the C-130 Hercules could not land on the shorter landing strips. The aircraft could carry 32 troops or two Jeeps or similar light vehicles. The rear loading ramp could also be used for parachute dropping (also, see Air America).

Under the Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966, the Army traded the Caribou to the United States Air Force in exchange for an end to restrictions on Army helicopter operations. In addition, some US Caribou were captured by North Vietnamese forces and remained in service with that country through to the late 1970s.

Most of the C-7s have since been phased out of the US military. Other notable military operators included Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Malaysia and Spain.

In current service, the Royal Australian Air Force still operates 13 Caribous, which are due to be retired at the end of 2009, while Brazil's Caribous are slowly being replaced by more modern EADS CASA C-295 turboprop cargo airplanes.


DHC-4 Caribou
STOL tactical transport, utility transport aircraft.
Royal Canadian Air Force designation for the DHC-4 Caribou.
This designation was given to five DHC-4 Caribous, sold to the United States Army for evaluation.
United States Army designation for the DHC-4 Caribou. Later redesignated CV-2A in 1962.
United States Army AC-1 redesignated in 1962.
This designation was given to a second batch of DHC-4 Caribous, which were sold to the US Army.
This designation was given to all 134 US Army CV-2A/B Caribous, which were transferred to the US Air Force.
DHC-4A Caribou
Similar to the DHC-4, but this version had an increased takeoff weight.
DHC-4T Turbo Caribou
A conversion of the baseline DHC-4 Caribou powered by the PWC PT6A-67T turboprop engines designed, test flown and certified by the Pen Turbo Aviation company.

RMAF Caribou on display at the Malaysian Army Museum, Port Dickson.
RMAF Caribou on display at the Malaysian Army Museum, Port Dickson.


Military operators

 Abu Dhabi
 Costa Rica
  • One aircraft used by the Seccion Aérea de la Guardia Civil
  • Two refurbished aircraft were delivered to the Liberian Army's, Air Reconnaissance Unit in 1989. The aircraft were destroyed during the civil war.
 South Vietnam
  • Swedish Air Force operated one DHC-4 Caribou designated Tp 55 between 1962 and 1965 for evaluation purposes in F7 Wing.
 United States

Civil operators

 Papua New Guinea
 United States

Preserved examples

United States

de Havilland AC-1 60-3767
Exhibited at Travis AFB Museum, California
de Havilland AC-1A 62-4188
On display at New England Air Museum, Bradley Airport, Connecticut
de Havilland CV-2B Caribou 63-9756
Exhibited at Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins AFB, Georgia
de Havilland C-7A Caribou 63-9760
Exhibited at the Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, Delaware.
de Havilland C-7A Caribou 62-4193
Exhibited at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio


DHC-4 Caribou A4-140
To be gifted to the Australian War Memorial in late 2009.
DHC-4 Caribou A4-152
To be gifted to the Royal Australian Air Force Museum in early 2010.

Specifications (C-7B)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Capacity:
    • 32 troops or
    • 26 fully equipped paratroops
  • Payload: 8,000 lb (3,628 kg)
  • Length: 72.58 ft (22.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 95.58 ft (29.13 m)
  • Height: 31.66 ft (9.65 m)
  • Wing area: 912 ft² (84.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 18,260 lb (8,283 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 31,000 lb (14,198 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt and Whitney R-2000-7M2 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder, 1,450 hp (1,081 kW) each


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


External links

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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