AP report that Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told reporters that the investigations into the crashes of three Army and one private helicopters since Jan. 20 are incomplete but "it does appear they were all the result of some kind of anti-Iraqi ground fire that did bring those helicopters down."
Those with a long memory will recall that Lord Patel wrote on May 6th 2006 " Osprey the Death Wish Machine - soon for combat ?"
The Philadelphia Enquirer had just reported
...a Pentagon panel today endorsed the V-22 Osprey and recommended moving toward full production of the aircraft.
The ruling by the Defense Acquisition Board could mean billions of dollars in contract work for the two companies involved in its production - Providence, R.I.-based Textron and Chicago-based Boeing Co. The company will build at least 458 of the V-22 aircraft for the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy.
The V22 Osprey Tilt/rotor /helicopter is a massive beast - 12,300 horse power , 4 times the power (and 3 times the weight) as the battle proven and familiar twin rotor Vietnam era Chinook CH-46, and guzzles 3 times the fuel. Most of this widow maker is made in plants in Texas and Pennsylvania but 43 states share in it's manufacture and factories share the work in 276 Congressional Districts.
At that time (May 2006) we were repeatedly informed that, the Marines will deploy V-22s in Iraq later in the year , after 25 years, the spending of US$18Bn and the loss of 30 lives in testing.
"The Osprey can deliver Marines to battle more safely, bring them reinforcements over greater distances in greater numbers, and evacuate wounded more quickly. That all equates to lives saved, as we continue to prosecute the global war on terrorism."
Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy, Jan. 2006 Boeing Website
Well, 9 months later and there is no news of their arrival in theatre - and it appears precious little prospect that this US$68 Mn a pop man lifter and shifter is about to darken the skies over Baghdead. Apparently production is underway for 50 for USAF, 48 modified versions for the US navy and the Marine Corps want 360 to replace their aged Chinook CH-46's and CH -53's ... but it cannot lift an up - armoured Humvee (HMMWV)
William Bender of The Delco Times and Dave Montgomery McClatchy Newspapers both report on the Centre For Defense Informatithat has gone unremarked in the major US news media.
It is now 18 years after the first flight (It was promised for use in Bosnia in 1995, Afghanistan in 2002, and Iraq in 2003, and Gaillard points out that - The V-22 does not work and faces operational, aerodynamic and survivability challenges that will prove insurmountable, and lethal in combat.
Gaillard focuses on three major issues:
1) Absence of defensive armament
2) Constraints of the difficult-to-repair composite skinned cargo compartment for the 24 combat-loaded Marines inside
3) The critical and fundamental aerodynamic dilemma the V-22 faces when it attempts to descend vertically into a landing zone against enemy fire. This combination of blade stall and vortex ring state(VRS) -- a rotor downwash condition was stated to be the major factor that contributed to the April 2000 crash that killed 19 Marines - so far in testing there have been 30 fatalities.
Gaillard points out that the first 2 points have not been addressed - unbelievably (because of weight penalties mainly , the craft cannot protect itself with even machine gun fire. The craft also has no personnel crew hoist and few and cramped windows limiting visual control and ability to scan for hazards.
Repair of composites , if possible, is not a battlfield task and requires special tools, chemicals , huge curing ovens etc., because the body is essentially a single monococque construction which cannot simply be replaced , welded, or reinforced or even perforated. There has been no testing for defence against Rocket propelled grenades (RPG's) the weapon of choice of the jihadi street
fighter in Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe even in Syria or Iran.
The essential aerodynamic problems he says have been papered over with software changes and warning systems that V-22 pilots will ignore at the peril of themselves and their human cargo - and also expose the craft at it's most critical part of the flight path - landing and lifting with humans and their cargo.
The restrictions this imposes limits maximum vertical descent speed to 800 feet per minute = 9.1 miles per hour and attempt in the heat of combat to fly / descend faster would instantly result in de-stabilisation, crash and death.
Finally it is reported this twin engined aircraft can operate with a single engine - although this manouevre has so far, not been tested. Also, the Flight Manual says in the case of dual engine failure that the pilot should convert to "autorotation" although a DOD report says clearly that the " V-22 cannot autorotate to a safe landing."
Gaillard concludes of this monumental cock-up and monument to political corruption, boondoggling, fraud, theft and total lack of concern about properly equipping the military with the tools they need for their job - "The V-22 should not be deployed in combat (if not, where ?) ; an alternative , most probably and in - production helicopter , should be selected to replace all V-22's."
He suggests .....
* Augusta Westland's US101 (EH-101), which has three engines, a single rotor and was recently selected as the US Presidential transport helicopter.
* Boeing's CH-47F Chinook, which has two engines, two rotors and carries up to 33 combat-equipped troops.
* Sikorsky's H-92 Superhawk, which has two engines, a single rotor and carries up to 22 combat-equipped troops.Osprey or Albatross ?