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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: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 9:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
1 important fact I left out. We simulate engine failure and practice autorotations from 500ft AGL (above ground level)

RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 on 4/18/2007 12:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
> "Autorotation IS safe..."

Then why do so many people die when attempting it in real life? A quick web search finds dozens of fatal and serious helo crashes in which the pilot tried, but was unable to pull off a successful autorotate.

> "We simulate engine failure and practice autorotations from 500ft"

As I'm sure you know, its easy to autorotate when you're prepared for it, have sufficient altitude and rotor energy, and no complicating factors. But in the real world, its a very risky procedure.

As for the 500 foot floor, the Osprey has a 1600 foot one instead. I'm not really seeing a huge difference here. By your logic that the LZ is far more dangerous than the trip to it, then surely the last 500 feet is most dangerous of all...and under that floor, neither an Osprey nor a helo is going to have much chance.

By Jafo79 on 4/18/2007 2:55:27 AM , Rating: 2
yes dozens over the past several years, do you realize on avg 109 people are killed in the USA everyday driving cars The answer is human error. Does that make the car that you drive unsafe?

Look at that picture, the v22 will be in helicopter mode for the entire duration of the flight now if something happens, system failure, fire in flight, enemy fire, you name it that thing has already demonstrated that it will not be able to autorotate from that configuration. a Ch47D or F model would certainly be able to auto under those conditions.

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