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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: Problems
By masher2 on 1/23/2007 10:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
> "The Sidewinder first flew in 1953 and was in service less than three years later, with actual use five years after that. That's a far cry from 17 years of development..."

The Sidewinder began development in 1946, and first saw operational deployment in 1956. That's ten years. Its first combat use didn't come until 1958, which makes 12 years.

Is that a "far cry" from 17 years? I don't think so...especially when one considers an aircraft is considerably more complex than a missile.

RE: Problems
By Martin Blank on 1/23/2007 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to add in pre-first-flight development, time, you have to extend the Osprey's time back to 1981, which makes for 24 years of development time before first deployment. So yes, 24 years is a far cry from ten.

RE: Problems
By masher2 on 1/23/2007 12:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
Money wasn't allocated to the Osprey program until 1986. That makes the total 19 years....which proves that development and testing of manned aircraft is, unsurprisingly, more complex than that of unmanned missiles.

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