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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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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.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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