V-22 Osprey Deploys

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 7 months ago

We have known for about half a year that the Marine Corps intended to deploy the tilt-wing aircraft Osprey.  Without any fanfare in the main stream media (who has covered the V-22 accidents with vigor), the first Osprey are on their way to the Anbar Province.

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — The first MV-22 Ospreys to make a combat deployment are on an amphibious assault ship heading for Iraq, according to a Marine Corps headquarters spokesman.

Ten Ospreys and roughly 200 leathernecks and sailors with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flew out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and landed aboard the Wasp on Monday, Maj. Eric Dent said.

He did not know where the Norfolk, Va.-based ship was when the Ospreys boarded. The ship was diverted from an international exercise in Panama on Sept. 5 to the Nicaraguan coast to assist with disaster-relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Felix.

VMM-263 is heading for Al Asad Air Base for a seven-month deployment; the Ospreys will provide tactical assault support for Marines and soldiers.

The Corps decided to deploy the tilt-rotors via ship, in part to allow the aircraft to do shipboard integration operations. Corps officials would not say where the Ospreys will leave the ship and move into Iraq.

“Due to operational security, we can’t discuss the specifics,? Dent said.

The squadron has been preparing for its combat deployment debut for the past several months, doing everything from taking grunts on their first Osprey flights to performing integration training with other aircraft.

Ospreys will become the Corps’ new troop transport aircraft, flying faster and farther between refuelings than the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters they’re replacing. There are three operational MV-22 squadrons — VMM-263, VMM-162 and VMM-266 —all based at New River.

The Corps has more than 50 MV-22s, with 14 more scheduled for delivery next year.

Detractors will say that a case had been and still could be made to jettison the entire program due to cost overruns, accidents, aircraft complexity and loss of life in training accidents.  This case is irrelevant, since the V-22 is on its way to the battle space and more have been ordered.  The bad news to the detractors is that it is actually being deployed.  The good news for both its supporters and detractors is that it is being deployed.  There will be no better test than deployment in Iraq supporting Marines in Anbar.  The proof is in the pudding.

v22.jpg

  • http://www.fumento.com fumento

    I still worry about its vulnerability while it’s in transition state. We may not found out for a long time, considering how rarely any of our helos are shot down much less the handful of V-22s that will be there for now.

  • Brian H

    Safety is “up in the air”, but multiplied operational capacity is the payoff. E.g., time is not only money, it’s life — and the V-22 is twice as fast. And carries twice as much. Go for it!


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This article is filed under the category(s) Marine Corps and was published September 20th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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