Osprey - The MV-22 Widowmaker to finally, finally, finally see active service in Iraq real soon now...well maybe September
Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway announced at the Pentagon this morning that the MV-22 Osprey aircraft (360 are ordered) will make its combat debut in Iraq this September, when Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, with 10 Ospreys and 171 personnel, deploys to Al Asad Air Base.The MV-22, can travel up to 900 miles before refueling, is set to phase out the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter introduced in the 1960s.
The Osprey provides much greater range and flexibility than other helicopter platforms and is capable of in-flight refueling from Marine KC-130 Hercules aircraft. It also has no means of defense..i.e. no armaments at all. [Awkward Fact: Most helicopters are shot-down in combat landing zones. ]
"This deployment directly supports our Corps' number one priority, the Marines and sailors in contact at the tip of the spear," Conway said. "This is a great day for our Corps and for my aviation folks in particular." It won't be however if special ops want to rappel down ropes on a hillside that the aircraft cannot land on, as the downwash beats them to death on the rocks.
One of the better things Dick Cheney has ever done was, when Secretary of Defense, he tried to kill it. In 1992, he said “You’ve [Congress] directed me to buy the V-22, a program I don’t need.…My problem with the program’s always been primarily one of affordability.” Lots more about this monument to the porkery here.
PS R.Merle Washington Post Feb 10th 2007 Page DO1 The Marine Corps said yesterday it was temporarily grounding its fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt rotors after discovering a glitch in a computer chip that could cause the aircraft to lose control....Testing showed that in below-freezing temperatures, the computers could lose their redundancy features -- a safety net if one of the computers is damaged by enemy fire, according to the Marine Corps. That could cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft. [Awkward Fact : This plane has been in production for over 25 years, and costs more than $113 million each.]