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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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By rgsaunders on 1/23/2007 4:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/v-22%20... this report gives a relatively well balanced presentation. The issue of flexible SORs (Statement of Requirements) for aquisition of new equipment is not uncommon in military circles, although it must be said that on occasion these changes are driven directly by regional politics and not neccessarily by the military itself. As someone who spent many years in a staff environment before retiring after 37 years of service, these things are unfortunately part of the procurement process.


By unknown1243 on 1/23/2007 5:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
I looked at the Defense Department and DOD annual reports that were online. The author was quoting(!) a recent report - I want to know what that report was.

When I see the actual Defense Department Annual Report I will no longer think the author may have either fabricated the quote or worse - presented information from a secondary source as a primary source.


By unknown1243 on 1/23/2007 6:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
Defense Department’s operational testing directorate annual report. Not the whole department of defense.


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