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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: 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.


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