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Bell-Boeing's MV-22 Osprey heads to Iraq
The MV-22 will have serve a seven month tour of duty in Iraq

Bell-Boeing's V-22 Osprey first took to the air nearly 20 years ago and the road to active duty has been a long one. When DailyTech last visited the tilt-rotor aircraft, the Air Force's CV-22 Osprey was criticized for its "poor aircraft availability" and "marginal operational availability" during desert testing at Kirkland Air Force Base.

"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," claimed the report which was released earlier this year.

"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," said Philip Coyle, senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information.

Despite the troubles, the U.S. Marines will be deploying seven of its similar MV-22 Ospreys to Iraq in September. The Marines are hoping that the Osprey’s speed will allow it to quickly transport troops and make it less of a target for insurgents than slower, traditional helicopters.

"It is our fervent feeling that this aircraft is the most capable, survivable aircraft that we carry our most important weapons system in, which is the Marine or rifleman," said Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, the deputy commandant for aviation for the Marines. "If you've ever gone rabbit hunting, you know that it's harder to shoot a rabbit that's running than the one that's sitting still."

The push for the Osprey to enter regular military service has been a long time coming. In 2007 alone, there have been six crashes involving U.S. helicopters in Iraq. The Osprey's enviable speed (top speed 316MPH), ability to take-off and land like a helicopter and an operating range that is three to five times that of traditional helicopters should make it a great workhorse during its seven month deployment.

The V-22 Osprey is destined to replace the Marines' CH-46 Sky King by 2018. When compared to the CH-46, the Osprey has a range that is three times farther and has six to seven times the survivability in the field.

The tilt-rotor aircraft has been in development for over 20 years at a cost of over $20 billion USD.



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Great aircraft...
By therealnickdanger on 4/16/2007 8:56:57 AM , Rating: 2
The Osprey is a great aircraft with exceptional abilities, but I just pray we don't read any headlines about 12 Marines dying in an Osprey crash due to mechanical failures or some other failure. I understand that wartime is the best time to test out new "toys", but hopefully not at the expense of any of our soldiers.

They should really be testing out their new T-101 cyborgs, I hear those are cool... :P




RE: Great aircraft...
By TSS on 4/16/2007 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 1
well, exceptional.... admitted it's not worse then a helicopter but if it refuses to fly it's not any better either. and you can pretty much count on that accident happening, after all those failures in jsut testing it's not going to operate without a glitch. and stingers still work as well against helo's as against this thing i'd recon.

still, if they can get it to work like it's supposed to it'll be a advantage. i'll forever be in confusion though about why they chose 2 huge rotors over 4 smaller ones. oh well.


RE: Great aircraft...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/16/2007 10:11:45 AM , Rating: 4
> "i'll forever be in confusion though about why they chose 2 huge rotors over 4 smaller ones"

Rotors with half the diameter would have had one quarter the area, and thus 4 half-sized rotors would have half the lift of 2 larger ones (or would need to rotate much faster). And if each rotor was larger than 1/2 the diameter, it would have required a significantly longer and heavier wing...not to mention twice the number of nacelles. And unlike a fixed-wing engine, if a nacelle fails, the plane can't limp along on the others, so more rotors doesn't increase redundancy, it actually reduces it.


RE: Great aircraft...
By SGTPan on 4/16/2007 5:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Grant it, stingers might be able to track and attack this thing like a traditional chopper, but how many of our birds have been brought down by stingers in Iraq? The ones we sold the Taliban in the 80's pose a real threat, but thus far, that threat hasn't actually been realized.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Ringold on 4/16/2007 6:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, a stinger fired at a chopper hits the body of the aircraft, damaging/destroying just about everything.

A stinger fired at an Ospry would ideally hit the engines, yes? And the engines are at the tips of wings. If it were in traditional flight and had an engine blown off it would make for an interesting next several minutes but wouldn't necessarily have to be fatal at all, and if the engine isn't entirely knocked off (throwing off the balance), then there's little reason why the Osprey just couldn't keep on flying along, with its passengers safely away from the blast in the body of the airplane.

Dont get me wrong, though, it'd be a rough experience, but just not one that wouldn't be survivable. Our pilots are some of the best in the world, and we've been landing chewed up nearly-destroyed aircraft ever since we first started putting them to military use. Assuming the balance from getting most of an engine blasted apart is compensated for in the design so not to be fatal (and I'd imagine they were at least that insightful), our pilots can do it.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Zoomer on 4/16/2007 11:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
They certainly have the incentive to do it when that happens.

They need better countermeasures against missiles.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 4:41:36 AM , Rating: 2
# he V-22’s lack of an autorotation capability, or even a demonstrated all engine inoperative safe landing capability, remains cause for concern. V-22 fails to meet the ORD threshold requirement for a survivable emergency landing with all engines inoperative from a large portion of its operating envelope.
# V-22 flight characteristics in VRS (vortex ring state) are problematic for roll control and the aircraft is susceptible to un-commanded rolling as a result of saturation in the roll channel of the flight control system when the aircraft is operated into VRS. This aircraft response to VRS phenomenon is drastically different than that of any conventional helicopter.
# The V-22 is prone to roll PIO (pilot-induced oscillation) in helicopter mode during high gain pilot tasks such as shipboard operations, precision hover in confined areas, or precision hover/landing in obscured visibility.
# The V-22’s high vibratory loads, coupled with a very flexible structural design and complex hydraulic system, is problematic for hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical systems and is likely to lead to high failure rates for these systems. Many such failures have safety implications.
# The V-22’s susceptibility to wake or tip vortices from other aircraft is problematic for roll control and can result in un-commanded rolling of the aircraft. At low altitude, this could lead to a loss of an aircraft.
# The V-22’s high downwash velocity field has the potential to produce significant detrimental effects on hovering operations in desert environments or over water.


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