Vultures Row: A Good Day for USMC Avaition

A Good Day for USMC Avaition

V-22 Ospreys aboard USS Iwo Jima Posted by Picasa

The Boeing/Bell V-22 Osprey has finally been given the green light for full scale production.  The V-22 is a tilt rotor aircraft that can only take off and land like a helicopter but it’s engines and rotors tilt forward 90 degrees and the aircraft becomes a traditional airplane, albeit a one with very large propellers.

The V-22 is a much needed aircraft in the Marine Corps inventory.  From the mid eighties it was intended to replace the aging CH-46 helicopter in the medium lift role.  The CH-46 was first introduced to Naval Aviation in 1964 with the last new airframe delivered to the USMC in February 1971.  The 46’s have served the Marine Corps well, however age is taking its toll on the venerable aircraft.  

The V-22 program will provide the Marines with a faster longer range medium lift assault aircraft. It will provide jobs and help stimulate the economy in the areas where it is manufactured.  The approval of the V-22 has been long in coming due to the flight testing programs in which several fatal crashes grounded the test fleet.   The crashes were traced back to the transition from level to vertical flight and new protocols have been developed to prevent further incidents.

The initial models will be Grunt Haulers, other wise known as utility or cargo models. Other proposed versions include a Navy ASW model, A SPECOPS version, An AEW type, a longer range Coast Guard SAR version and a medivac model.  It is a unique aircraft that has a lot of potential and can be adapted for many uses.


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