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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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Marketing Hype
By lifeblood on 4/16/2007 3:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
The Osprey may be faster than a CH-46 IN LEVEL FLIGHT, but not when coming in and out of the LZ. The Osprey is a lot slower as it has to transition from regular flight mode (rotors forward) to landing mode (rotors up). Both Viet Nam and Iraq have shown most helicopters are shot down in or near the LZ. This is exactly where the Osprey is slowest and most vulnerable as any mistakes by the pilot or mechanical failure of the aircraft would have a catastophic effect (too low and too slow for corrective action).

As a former grunt I say give me a frog (CH-46) any day over the Osprey.




RE: Marketing Hype
By rippleyaliens on 4/16/2007 3:22:34 PM , Rating: 3
Well as a Former Marine Grunt as well, i say give me the OSPREY ASAP.. You of all people, know how delicate the ch46 is.. With the saying that if it aint leaking, then something is wrong.. The ch46, IE the chinok, ANOTHER helicopter, that the world ALWAYS said, couldnt fly.. IE the helicopter with 2 main roters, with no small tail roter.. The Osprey is definetly a needed asset. The ablity to move 300 + miles within 90 minutes is just plain unheard of now.. IE 50 miles in less than 15min.. completely awesome.

Every known helo- in the United States Arsenol, has came under fire.. Helicopters are aircraft, by sheer physics, shouldnt really be able to fly, let alone, do all the things that they do..
BUT as of today, the military depends more so on Helo-s then airplane. Osprey's turn in the fire.. Yes we will loose some. As with blackhawks, apaches, UH-1's, Cobra's, and ch46's. WITH THE LAST 3 HELO's listed, over 30 years old..

out with old, in with new..
PS, to the original helo pilot who posted.. Cause you arent flying the osprey, doesnt mean that it isnt needed.. They said same thing about the CH53 (IE TOO BIG, why needed),, now it is main helo, in the US Marines, based on the size, and speed, not to mention the power. Give the thing a chance.. its not like the USA has something on the horizon anyway...

No war can be Won.. Once you understand that, then the objective is easy.. SURVIVE


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 8:35:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. Not only does it have to approach LZs slower (I read it was about 9 MPH) it also can't do evasive manouvering like the choppers can. It has to do pretty straight and level approaches. Basically it's a sitting duck approaching and leaving LZs (well floating duck really).


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 8:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
> "Basically it's a sitting duck approaching and leaving LZs..."

But a normal helo is a 'sitting duck' on the long flight all the way to and from that LZ. Even if the Osprey is more vulnerable during takeoff and landing itself, its much less so during a long overflight of enemy territory, no? It's much greater airflight speed means its much harder to hit, and stays in that territory far less time.


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 12:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
Like lifeblood said, the most dangerous phase is during insertion/extraction to/from an LZ. Besides I'd rather be a "sitting duck" travelling at ~150MPH than hanging out around a hot LZ at 9MPH. If you fly over an enemy heavy AAA position it doesn't really matter that much if you're going 150MPH or 246MPH (Osprey cruise speed). You'll most likely be shot down either way.

I also don't see any circumstances of "long overflights of enemy territory" in current war zones. There are long overflights of occupied territory where you might encounter a few rebels with light weapons, very rarely AAA or SA missiles. The few cases of helicopters (even pretty heavily armoured Apaches) having been shot down was by insurgents driving around with some big AAA guns on a pickup truck. Stuff that would also take down an Osprey.

So in short. If you encounter something en route that's powerful enough to shoot down a relatively fast moving target, then it doesn't really matter if you're going 150 mph or 250 mph. On the other hand if you have lots of people continuesly hosing you with machine guns and firing RPGs at you at the LZ then it's very important to be able to load/unload quickly, do evasive manouvering and be out again quickly. Fast in - Fast out is essential.


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 1:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "If you encounter something en route that's powerful enough to shoot down a relatively fast moving target, then it doesn't really matter if you're going 150 mph or 250 mph"

Come now, you're straining to make a point. For nonguided weapons such as "AA guns and light weapons", the speed of the target drastically affects your accuracy. It's at least a linear function of speed (if not more) due to human reaction time alone. Given that, any single attack on an Osprey while cruising has only a 60% chance, compared to say a CH-46E. Probably less, but lets assume that.

But remember the Osprey also gets to its destination faster too, and thus only spends 60% of the time in the air. Even ignoring the fact of less warning and less time for the enemy to prepare, thats a second 0.6 factor. Together it means 0.35 = roughly 1/3 the opportunity to score a hit against an Osprey...excluding the LZ itself, of course. And let's not forget that, for search and rescue missions, this means getting injured personnel back to a medical base in 60% of the time as well.

Finally, I'm still not seeing why you believe an Osprey is going to be be in the LZ so much longer than a normal helo. Its rate of climb is 2,045 ft/min...identical to a CH-46E. Sure it has to reconfigure to forward flight at some point...but in a hot LZ, it can defer that until its several thousand feet up, and thus out of the most dangerous period anyway.


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 2:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm still not seeing why you believe an Osprey is going to be be in the LZ so much longer than a normal helo. Its rate of climb is 2,045 ft/min...identical to a CH-46E. Sure it has to reconfigure to forward flight at some point...but in a hot LZ, it can defer that until its several thousand feet up, and thus out of the most dangerous period anyway.


Because it's very sensitive to getting it's propellers caught in it's own turbulence (and then rolling over), especially when coming in for landing. So the pilots have rules on making slow descents, forbidding quick manouvers and it has to land at speeds less than 9mph and in a fairly straight line. A 2005 Pentagon evaluation said the V-22 was suited only for low- and medium-threat environments, and is not “operationally effective” in high-threat environments because of these restrictions. This isn't really about the transition phase but more about it's less than optimal handling in vertical configuration.


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 4:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "So the pilots have rules on making slow descents..."

Fair enough. But it can still exit an LZ at least as fast as a CH-46, and it will get to and from that LZ much faster, spending less time in enemy territory.

That's a very big benefit, in exchange for an extra minute or so on the descent phase of landing.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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