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The V-22 Osprey comes up short in desert testing

The last time we covered tilt-rotor aircraft, Bell Helicopter's TR918 Eagle Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) received its FAA certification. The Eagle Eye weighed in at around one ton and featured a top speed of 250MPH.

Today, a report shows that a much larger scale tilt-rotor vehicle from Bell-Boeing is running into more trouble. The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey has had a storied past including two prominent crashes during development that have killed a total of 23 Marines. These days, the Osprey is still getting flak for "poor aircraft availability" and "marginal operational availability" during 41 test flights this past summer.

The aircraft was lambasted in a recent annual report put forth by the U.S. Defense Department. "Frequent part and system failures, limited supply support, and high false alarm rates in the built-in diagnostic systems caused frequent flight delays and an excessive maintenance workload," claims the report.

Four Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft were assessed between June 6, 2006 and July, 10 2006 at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. Many of the problems cited in the report stem from the aircraft's poor performance and serviceability in desert conditions. The Marine Corps version of the Osprey is likely to encounter similar performance and maintenance issues as the aircraft mainly differ in equipment packages offered.

The latest batch of issues is troubling to Philip Coyle, senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information. "This produces a maintenance and support burden that the Marines really can’t afford. All of the reliability problems that they continue to have here in the [United] States -- it’s going to drive them crazy overseas."

The V-22 Osprey has a maximum take-off weight of 47,500 pounds, a cruising speed of 246MPH and a top speed of 316MPH. The Air Force currently has plans to purchase 50 Ospreys while the Marine Corps has plans for 360 aircraft.

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RE: BlackHawk
By Lakku on 1/23/2007 12:04:59 AM , Rating: 2
And what would Marines need Blackhawks for if they were doing their designed job as an expeditionary force and not an occupying force? That is why they don't have them. Aside from that, a plane that could fly low n slow or even hover would been infinately more useful then a helicopter, mostly in the amount of troops and equipment it could deliver.

RE: BlackHawk
By Brovane on 1/23/2007 12:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
The Osprey is a replacement for the CH-46 helicopter which was introduced in the 1960's. So Marines need sometime of aircraft that is capable of vertical take off and landing to replace the CH-46. They could of started procurring the UH-60 Blackhawk back in the 80's. Instead they have old CH-46's that cost more and more every year to maintain and are falling apart. Basically the Blackhawk could of done the job of replacing the CH-46 for a whole lot less money that what it cost to develop the V-22 Osprey. While the V-22 Osprey has some great capability however how long will it take before all the bugs are finally ironed out of this aircraft. Sometimes having better equipment sooner is better than having the perfect equipment sometime in the future.


RE: BlackHawk
By The Boston Dangler on 1/23/2007 1:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
the chinook / sea knight is still in production. the marines will deploy them until at least 2014.

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