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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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A long time coming
By Schadenfroh on 4/16/2007 9:08:25 AM , Rating: 3
Psshh, the US Air Force is late to the game. I have been flying sorties in Ospreys in EA's LHX Attack Chopper for a while now.

RE: A long time coming
By 91TTZ on 4/16/2007 12:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oh man, I had that game on my first computer, an 8088 with CGA graphics back in the day.

When I used to get shot down, I'd sit on the ground and attack all the trucks and aircraft that would come after me.

Also, I used to get a lock on those camels and shoot hellfire missiles at them.

RE: A long time coming
By Crassus on 4/16/2007 1:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, camels and tents. I played it on a 286 with VGA grafics. That game fits on one floppy disk! Thinking about it, was/is there a LHX chopper?

RE: A long time coming
By bespoke on 4/16/2007 3:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
The LHX program became the RAH-66 Comanche which was eventually canceled in February 2004.

It would have been an amazing bird, but with the end of the cold war, it's mission evaporated and the huge cost per unit was better put to use by buying existing helicopters.

RE: A long time coming
By LIGHTNIN on 4/16/2007 8:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
Man what a quality flight sim, do you remeber the dread of seeing a SA-2? I remeber hitting the chaff and flare key and firing more than a handfull of hellfires!

That said I am a big fan of the Osprey despite seeing the pilots reports.Didnt Boeing make a change the computer systems that when it detects a situation where the aircraft could enter a vortex ring state it automatically increases the engine power?

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