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The Osprey Goes to War



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 1st 07, 09:33 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Mike[_7_]
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Posts: 111
Default The Osprey Goes to War

USNI Proceedings Magazine
Issue: October 2007 Vol. 133/10/1,256

The Osprey Goes to War
By Richard Whittle

After a tumultuous quarter-century in development, the Marines' V-22
tiltrotor aircraft is ready to fly combat missions in Iraq.

The Marines start learning in October whether the cost of fielding
their top aviation priority-24 years, $22 billion, 30 lives, and
unrelenting criticism-was worth it. The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft
is going into battle.

As this issue of Proceedings went to press in late September, the
first operational squadron of Ospreys-Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron
263 out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina-was due
at al Asad air base for a scheduled seven-month deployment. VMM-263
was to start flying combat missions in October.

The first operational use of the Osprey could help settle a debate
that has raged for years about the safety, survivability, reliability,
utility, and value of the helicopter-airplane hybrid. Grounded for 17
months after two fatal crashes in 2000, the Osprey has been re-
engineered and retested over the past seven years, but critics still
insist the V-22 is too fragile and vulnerable for Iraq.

A report issued this year by the Center for Defense Information, a
Washington think tank often critical of the Defense Department, said
the V-22 was "poised to reveal fundamental design flaws that may cost
even more lives."

Marines who fly and maintain the Osprey, Marine Corps leaders, and
officials in the V-22 program couldn't disagree more. The MV-22B
version that VMM-263 will fly in Iraq still has numerous maintenance
"gripes," as mechanics call them, but hasn't experienced the hydraulic
line chafing and other problems of earlier models. It's a different
aircraft, they say.

Ready to Go

"It is not a science experiment, it's a fielded aircraft," VMM-263's
commander, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Rock, told reporters at a V-22
media day at the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base last spring. "The
people who fly the plane, we have families. We wouldn't be flying
something that we thought was going to kill us."

Ospreys flown by the Marines and Naval Air Systems Command's test
squadron, VMX-22, have logged more than 26,000 flight hours without a
serious mishap since the V-22 returned to flight in May 2002, NAVAIR
program spokesman James Darcy said.

During a 36-day deployment-for-training to Marine Corps Air Station
Yuma, Arizona, VMM-263 flew 631 hours and made all 72 scheduled
sorties during Desert Talon combat exercises.

Major General Kenneth Glueck, commander of 2d Marine Air Wing, said
during an impromptu interview as he visited VMM-263 at New River in
August that he expects the V-22 to "add great combat capability to the
Marine air-ground task force that we have in place over there today.
It's truly a transformational capability."

Built by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, and Boeing
Co.'s helicopter division in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, the Osprey
tilts two huge wingtip rotors upward to take off and land like a
helicopter and swivels them forward to fly like a fixed-wing aircraft.
That gives it about twice the speed and up to four times the range of
the 1960s-era CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters the Marines are buying 360
Ospreys to replace.

Hot LZs

"Definitely it'll be less vulnerable when you start talking about en
route portions of the flight," Glueck said. "They take off from the
zone and they fly to high altitudes, where they're outside the weapons
engagement envelopes."

The Osprey cruises at about 230 knots, roughly 265 mph, and the CH-46
at 110 knots, or just over 125 mph.

Critics have contended that the Osprey must come into landing zones
slowly and will be especially vulnerable in hot LZs. Pilots and others
say that's a misimpression.

"I don't think it's going to be any more vulnerable than the 46 or the
53," Glueck said. A CH-46 can "usually come into a zone a little bit
quicker than the 53s. The V-22 is kind of in between the two."

The V-22 will have fighter or helicopter gunship escorts when going
into zones where there's a known threat, Glueck said, and the Marines
have mounted a 7.62-caliber M240G machine gun on the rear ramp. The
Osprey also has chaff dispensers, infrared suppressors, and electronic
defenses.

The Marine version of the Osprey, the MV-22, currently costs $69.3
million to $110 million per aircraft, depending on whether all program
costs are averaged into the price, NAVAIR spokesman Darcy said. The
Air Force is buying 50 CV-22 Ospreys packed with special operations
gear that raises the "flyaway" cost to $86 million.

Death in the Desert

V-22 supporters point out that the Osprey actually suffered fewer
crashes in development than did many other aircraft when they were
experimental. But much of the controversy over the V-22 stems from an
operational test in April 2000 at Marana, Arizona, in which one of the
earliest versions of the Osprey crashed while carrying a crew of four
and 15 Marine infantrymen in the back. All were killed.

An investigation blamed the crash on "vortex ring state," a phenomenon
in which a rotor that descends too quickly into its own downwash can
stop producing lift. The V-22 that crashed at Marana descended as much
as three times faster than the flight manual limit of 800 feet per
minute at speeds of less than 40 knots, the investigation found.

All Ospreys were grounded for 17 months after another crash in
December 2000 at New River in which an hydraulic leak and a software
glitch in the flight-control computer combined to bring down a V-22
flying in airplane mode, killing the crew of four.

A blue-ribbon commission appointed by the Pentagon in 2001 concluded
there was no evidence to support contentions that tiltrotor technology
was fatally flawed, as some critics had charged.

Bell-Boeing later re-engineered the layout of electrical and hydraulic
lines whose close proximity was found to be the cause of hydraulic
leaks. Company test pilots also made numerous flights trying to put
the V-22 into vortex ring state at high altitude. They found that,
with sufficient warning and altitude, an Osprey pilot could escape
vortex ring state simply by tilting the rotors forward and flying out
of the downwash.

Following those tests, NAVAIR added a warning tone and warning light
to the V-22 to alert pilots when an Osprey is bordering on vortex ring
state.

The V-22's troubled past has left many Marines wary of riding in the
aircraft, but VMM-263 and the Corps' other Osprey squadrons have been
giving familiarization rides to various Marine and Army units. After
two such flights in July for 2d Battalion/24th Marines, a Reserve unit
in Chicago, VMM-263 received a letter from the battalion commander
saying, "VMM-263 has turned 2/24 from Osprey doubters to Osprey
supporters."

Cheney Tried to Cancel

Critics who say the tiltrotor is too costly have long contended that
the Marines should have given up on the V-22 and instead bought
cheaper helicopters for the medium-assault mission. The Osprey
originally was supposed to go into service in 1991, eight years after
it was begun, and cost about $20 billion for a program expected to
produce 1,086 aircraft for all four armed services. The projected cost
for the 410 Ospreys now in service or being built is more than $54
billion, including the money spent on development. When he was Defense
Secretary in 1989, Vice President Dick Cheney tried to cancel the
Osprey, giving up only after a four-year political battle with the
Marines and V-22 backers in Congress.

The alternative most often proposed has been a combination of UH-60
Black Hawks to carry up to 11 Marines at a time and CH-53 Sea Stallion
heavy-lift choppers to haul cargo, both built by Sikorsky Aircraft
Corp. The Marines have steadfastly insisted they need the speed and
payload of the Osprey, whose cabin is sized to carry 24 fully combat-
loaded Marines or 12 litters for casualties.

The Marines' and NAVAIR's greater concern during final preparations
for the Iraq deployment was a list of maintenance problems, including
malfunctions of the Osprey's de-icing gear, high failure rates of "air
cycle machines" that cool the cockpit and avionics, cracks in panels
that cover the infrared suppressors, fuel system leaks, and more minor
problems. Those issues were highlighted in a June message from 2d
Marine Air Wing's aviation logistics department to the Osprey fleet
discussing steps needed to cope with the maintenance deficiencies.

NAVAIR and the Marines said measures to resolve all the issues in the
memo had been dealt with or fixes were under way by mid-summer, and a
Bell-Boeing team of technicians worked feverishly at New River before
VMM-263 left to install modifications to the squadron's Ospreys.

Bell-Boeing also was sending 14 technicians to Iraq with VMM-263 and
engine-maker Rolls Royce was dispatching two more to help the
squadron's mechanics and technicians. The companies and NAVAIR also
have taken pains to provide extra stockpiles of spare parts to support
VMM-263 in Iraq, and the Marines have given the squadron first claim
on parts and personnel, in some cases taking them from the two other
operational V-22 squadrons.

The de-icing issue was a major factor in a decision to send the
squadron's aircraft and crews to the eastern Mediterranean aboard the
USS Wasp (LHD-1) amphibious assault ship and have them fly into Iraq
from there rather than "self-deploy" by flying all the way with aerial
refueling.

The rejected plan to self-deploy would have sent the squadron of ten
Ospreys and six to eight KC-130 tankers across the north Atlantic with
five stops along the way. Even in summer, aircraft flying that route
can suffer icing after they fly through clouds.

One of two Ospreys that flew a similar route to the July 2006
Farnborough International Airshow in England made a precautionary
landing in Iceland after ice caused compressor stalls in one of its
engines.

Avoiding Wear and Tear

The Marines have often advertised the Osprey's ability to self-deploy,
and VMM-263 practiced for it with two transcontinental deployments for
training during its workup for Iraq. But maintenance officers and NCOs
were pleased with the decision to go by ship, saying it would reduce
wear and tear on the aircraft and ease their workload on arrival at al
Asad.

The de-icing problems shouldn't affect operations in Iraq, pilots
said, but will result in all Ospreys being listed as partial mission
capable rather than full mission capable, affecting the aircraft's
readiness ratings.

NAVAIR V-22 program manager Colonel Matthew Mulhern said floating
rather than flying the V-22s to Iraq also made sense because of the
heavy demand for aerial tankers.

In Iraq, the MV-22Bs of VMM-263, a former CH-46 squadron that
transitioned to the tiltrotor in March 2006, are to transport troops
and cargo, evacuate casualties, and serve on standby for tactical
recovery of aircraft and personnel missions. VMM-263 will replace
HMH-362 out of Hawaii, a squadron of CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters,
an aging medium-lift version of the CH-53, whose later models are
heavy-lift aircraft.

The first test the Marines have chosen for the V-22 could hardly be
tougher. The broiling heat and swirling sand of Iraq have wreaked
havoc on military helicopters of all kinds, damaging rotor blades,
wearing out engines, and creating record backlogs at maintenance
depots back home.

"It's going to be hard work maintaining this airplane," program
manager Mulhern said. "It's hard work maintaining any airplane over
there."

The pilots and maintenance personnel of VMM-263, who spent 18 months
preparing and training for their Iraq deployment, are leaving New
River confident in their ability to perform their mission and only
somewhat distracted by the uncommon press and official attention paid
to the first deployment of the V-22.

Lieutenant Colonel Rock and a number of others in his squadron, whose
pilots include four lieutenant colonels and eight U.S. Naval Academy
graduates, are among the most experienced Osprey pilots in the Fleet.
A third or more of VMM-263's two dozen pilots and many of its roughly
160 enlisted personnel have previously deployed to Iraq.

Though Rock has flown the V-22 since before the program's darkest days
in 2000, he emphasized to members of his squadron that their job was
not to prove the V-22's value but to support Marines on the ground,
the same as if the unit were still flying CH-46s.

"The thing that I aspire to most with this airplane is that you not
say, 'That's a V-22 squadron,'" Rock said in an interview months
before VMM-263 departed. "We're medium-lift transport. (The Osprey)
happens to be our weapons system."

Mr. Whittle, longtime Pentagon correspondent of the Dallas Morning
News, is writing a book about the V-22 Osprey for Simon & Schuster.

Ads
  #2  
Old October 2nd 07, 02:11 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Kerryn Offord
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 21
Default The Osprey Goes to War

Mike wrote:
USNI Proceedings Magazine
Issue: October 2007 Vol. 133/10/1,256

The Osprey Goes to War
By Richard Whittle

SNIP
"I don't think it's going to be any more vulnerable than the 46 or the
53," Glueck said. A CH-46 can "usually come into a zone a little bit
quicker than the 53s. The V-22 is kind of in between the two."


***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


The V-22 will have fighter or helicopter gunship escorts when going
into zones where there's a known threat, Glueck said, and the Marines
have mounted a 7.62-caliber M240G machine gun on the rear ramp. The
Osprey also has chaff dispensers, infrared suppressors, and electronic
defenses.

SNIP

If it has a cobra escort.. Well.. It loses it's altitude/ speed
advantage over alternative modern helicopters..

Can the V-22 fly "like a plane" with the ramp down? At what penalty?

I know the CH47 has a MG on the rear ramp, but that's a wider, bigger
ramp.. How much of an obstruction is it for troops trying to get out in
a hot LZ?
  #3  
Old October 2nd 07, 02:16 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Walt[_3_]
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Posts: 20
Default The Osprey Goes to War


If the V-22 can get out of the envelope of the ground weapons threat,
the escorting Cobras cannot.

So all of its fancy capabilities are moot.

Walt

  #4  
Old October 2nd 07, 03:13 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
BlackBeard
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 79
Default The Osprey Goes to War

On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


SNIP

If it has a cobra escort.. Well.. It loses it's altitude/ speed
advantage over alternative modern helicopters..


Rendevous scenario. The Cobras launch from a forward base and meet at
the LZ with the Osprey which has travelled from a base further away.

BB


  #5  
Old October 2nd 07, 04:25 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Vince
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 134
Default The Osprey Goes to War

BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


Why not compare it to a conestoga wagon? that way it will look even
better!!Considering the incredible cost of the Osprey comparing it to an
antique helicopter that cost a fraction of the Osprey simply shows how
desperate its proponents really are.

Vince

  #6  
Old October 2nd 07, 04:26 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Vince
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 134
Default The Osprey Goes to War

BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


SNIP

If it has a cobra escort.. Well.. It loses it's altitude/ speed
advantage over alternative modern helicopters..


Rendevous scenario. The Cobras launch from a forward base and meet at
the LZ with the Osprey which has travelled from a base further away.


Ships
Its the Marines
They are launched from ships
The same ships
Vince
  #7  
Old October 2nd 07, 06:41 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Kerryn Offord
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 21
Default The Osprey Goes to War

BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


SNIP

At least the CH-46 gets to auto-rotate if hit...

And comparing the "brand new" V-22 with the CH-46 which is how old? (And
last up-graded?) says a lot for just how good the V-22 must be...

How does it compare with a modern military helicopter? Heck, how does it
compare in survivability with even a Blackhawk?
  #8  
Old October 2nd 07, 06:57 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
BlackBeard
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 79
Default The Osprey Goes to War

On Oct 1, 8:25 pm, Vince wrote:
BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


Why not compare it to a conestoga wagon? that way it will look even
better!!Considering the incredible cost of the Osprey comparing it to an
antique helicopter that cost a fraction of the Osprey simply shows how
desperate its proponents really are.

Vince


Because that would be hyperbole and doesn't belong in a discussion.
Kerryn replied to a paragraph that directly compared the
susceptability of the V-22 to the CH-46 and the -53. Then he directly
asked about the survivability. I responded to his question, nothing
else.
What was that comment you made in the past about showing your
students the fault in getting emotional in an argument/discussion?

BB

I guess everybody has some mountain to climb.
It's just fate whether you live in Kansas or Tibet...


  #9  
Old October 2nd 07, 07:06 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
BlackBeard
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 79
Default The Osprey Goes to War

On Oct 1, 10:41 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46



And comparing the "brand new" V-22 with the CH-46 which is how old? (And
last up-graded?) says a lot for just how good the V-22 must be...


It was in response to your question about survivability, which
directly followed a paragraph comparing the susceptability comparison
between the -22,-46,-53.

How does it compare with a modern military helicopter? Heck, how does it
compare in survivability with even a Blackhawk?


Can't speak for the Blackhawk (Army) but we did perform tests on the
upgrades for the Seahawk, Cobra, Sea Stallion, and UH-1Y and Z.
Similar systems and component technology that are original equipment
in the V-22, have been retro-fitted into the upgrades for those
(previously listed) platforms.

BB

I guess everybody has some mountain to climb.
It's just fate whether you live in Kansas or Tibet...

  #10  
Old October 2nd 07, 07:48 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.military.naval,sci.military.naval
Roger Conroy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7
Default The Osprey Goes to War


BlackBeard wrote:
On Oct 1, 6:11 pm, Kerryn Offord wrote:
***
Maybe no more vulnerable to being shot at.. but the effect of being hit?


Although there are no perfect survivability systems out there, the
systems on the Osprey are 1) more numerous and 2) more advanced, than
the survivability systems on the CH-46


SNIP

If it has a cobra escort.. Well.. It loses it's altitude/ speed
advantage over alternative modern helicopters..


Rendevous scenario. The Cobras launch from a forward base and meet at
the LZ with the Osprey which has travelled from a base further away.

BB


Is the Cobra really the only possible escort?
I'm thinking that the AV-8 could do a pretty decent job during the
high speed transit phase.

Roger

 




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