V-22 Goes To War

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V-22 Goes To War

June 28, 2007: The U.S. Marine Corps officially accepted, for service, the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft on June 1st. The first unit of ten V-22s will arrive in Iraq this September. That's if there are no more problems. The V22 is a complex piece of work, and this has resulted in a lot of development delays. At the moment, the U.S. Department of Defense has approved the purchase of 171 V-22 aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps, and 31 for U.S. Air Force units operating with SOCOM (Special Operations Command). The plan involves buying up to 35 V-22s a year, from 2008 to 2013.

The Marine V-22s can carry 24 troops 360 kilometers (vertical take-off on a ship, level flight, landing, and return) at 700 kilometers an hour. The V-22 is replacing the CH-46E helicopter, which can carry 12 troops 135 kilometers at a speed of 350 kilometers an hour. The V-22 can carry a 10,000-pound external sling load 135 kilometers, while the CH-46E can carry 3,000 pounds only 90 kilometers.

The U.S. Air Force component of SOCOM will use the V-22 to replace the current MH-53J special operations helicopters. Unlike the U.S. Marine Corps version, the SOCOM MV-22 will have lots more expensive electronics on board. This will help the MV-22 when traveling into hostile territory. The MV-22 also carries a terrain avoidance radar, an additional 900 gallons of fuel and more gadgets in general. The 25 ton MV-22 is a major improvement on the MH-53J, with three times the range, and a higher cruising speed (at 410 kilometers an hour, twice that of the helicopter). The MV-22 can travel about nearly a thousand kilometers, in any weather, and land or pick up 18 fully equipped commandoes. The SOCOM MV-22 won't ready for combat for another two years.

On the downside, the V-22 is several years behind schedule. It's a very complex aircraft, and has encountered more development problems than expected. It's the first application of the tilt-rotor technology to do active service. The air force is already working on improvements (to make the V22 more reliable and easier to maintain), that won't be installed for another five years. The V-22 will give the marines and SOCOM a lot more capability, but, as it often the case, it will be a lot more expensive. The initial production models of the MV-22 will cost close to $100 million each. SOCOM insists on a high degree of reliability for its aircraft. Commando operations cannot tolerate too many mistakes without getting fatally derailed
AFSOC V-22 Set for Major Tests Next Month

The program director for the Air Force spec ops version of the V-22 said Tuesday the tiltrotor aircraft should begin initial operational test and evaluation flights by late October or early November.
Col. Tarik Abboushi said at a breakfast meeting with reporters he's drawing upon prior testing by the Marine Corps to get their MV-22 operational to help inform his test regime, but added he's concentrating on working through the integration of key subsystems, including terrain-following radar, defensive countermeasures and navigation systems.
Abboushi also said AFSOC has issued a requirement for an "all-quadrant gun." Currently the CV-22 uses a ramp-mounted weapon system for defensive fire. Abboushi said it was unclear whether the all-quadrant gun would require design changes, but he said he's pretty sure major changes will probably not be needed.
The CV-22 is expected to breeze through IOT&E for a go-ahead by Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center to enter into initial operational capability with AFSOC in early 2009, Abboushi said.

BAE Systems to Provide All-Quadrant Interim Defensive Weapon System For CV-22 Osprey

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BAE Systems will develop an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system for the CV-22 Osprey aircraft. The contract awarded by the U.S. Special Operations Command, calls for rapid development, installation, testing, and qualification of a weapon capability that provides defensive fire protection to all quadrants of the aircraft.
The belly-mounted system is remotely operated and capable of delivering accurate, sustained fire throughout the CV-22’s flight envelope. The contract is valued at $491,000, with a potential value of $16.3 million, including options.
"At BAE Systems, we pride ourselves on the work we do to protect those who protect us," said Clark Freise, vice president of defense avionics for BAE Systems in Johnson City, New York. "This system will provide vital protection to this aircraft, its operators, and the Special Operations personnel that it will carry.”
The weapon system is based on BAE Systems’ Remote Guardian System, a company-funded effort to develop a common airborne defensive capability. BAE Systems has been investing in the RGS for more than two years and unveiled the system in October 2007 at the Modern Day Marine military exposition in Quantico, Virginia.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company, delivering a full range of products and services for air, land, and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions, and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded $27 billion in 2006*.
*On a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings Inc for the whole of 2006


M134 baby :evil:
very nice. It's only a matter of time before someone gets the idead to convert it into a gun ship lol