Home » Wars » Afghan Update » MV-22 Logs 100,000 Flight Hours

MV-22 Logs 100,000 Flight Hours

by John Reed on February 18, 2011

Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos revealed Feb. 18 at a breakfast meeting with reporters in DC that the Osprey fleet had passed a significant milestone recently with its birds deployed to Afghanistan. One of the Corps’ MV-22s deployed there had just passed its 100,000th flight hour.

“If you’re an aviator, and I am, that’s a big deal,” Amos said. He also added that the MV-22 Osprey which has been the whipping boy for decades as a death trap and budget buster “is the safest airplane, or close to the safest airplane” in the Marine Corps inventory.

I was in Washington, DC, when we lost the one on December 13, 2000. So this airplane since then has flown three combat deployments in Afghanistan, three combat deployments in Iraq and three Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments, so the aircraft is flying well.

He went on to admit that the spare parts support for the plane was jacked…mainly because the smaller companies that make some of the widgets on the complex craft were on a slow production scale to match the 10 and 1 aircraft manufacturing rate. He said he’s asked Bell-Boeing to lean on those “mom and pop shops” to boost production and get more parts to the field.

The company is working to incentivize the production folks to up their production rate so we can get what we call a deeper supply bench. Right now we’re taking a lot of the parts we have on the bench and sending them to Afghanistan. We’ve got a squadron and a half in Afghanistan now, another half squadron aboard the Kearsarge. So that’s our priority. They’re building the supply bench. It just takes time.

– Christian

Share |

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

asdf February 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm

what's the MTBF or incident rate (per 100k hours) or whatever is it called?

Reply

Krag February 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm

You don't make any sense. The concept of a hot lz is driven by the capacity of the cargo carried, not by the carrying vehicle – the Osprey is still delivering foot-mobile infantry just like the slicks did, so it is still required to insert and pickup those infantry at the point of decision…so hot LZs are as likely with the osprey as with the slicks of Vietnam. Don't try to deflect with mention of Osprey-borne jeeps – those are even more ill suited for combat than the osprey itself.

Further, the range of possible LZs is far lower for the Osprey than any slick, -46, or blackhawk due do its larger footprint – meaning the possible LZs are easier to identify by the enemy and to defend than when facing an insertion by smaller utility/light transport helos – thus increasing the likelyhood of a hot LZ for the osprey.

Reply

Krag February 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm

You know how much C4 was required to clear an LZ for a single slick in vietnam – now think about how much more would be required to get an ospey into an improvised jungle LZ…

Insertion into a jungle environment was relatively easy from a slick or a -46 with multiple rapelling points per vehicle – not so with the Osprey as it can only tolerate a single rapeller/fast rope because of its unique center of gravity issues – so offloading the same number of troops will take four times as long from an Osprey.

The list goes on and on…yes its a revolutionary machine, but it has a large list of rather severe, and utterly unique, issues that limit its utility as a replacement for the CH46 in the USMC inventory.

Reply

phrogdriver February 21, 2011 at 1:48 am

The Osprey has THE SAME footprint as a -46.

I'll have to look up the exact class A mishap rate, but I remember seeing the stat last week. The V-22's mishap rate is LOWER than the USMC average. The mishap rate in the first 100,000 flight hours is less that the UH-1, AV-8B, and CH-53.

Reply

blight February 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I imagine this is helped by the prioritization of the Osprey, and the greater control and pressure that can be pushed on Bell. In the case of the Harrier it's owned by a foreign company and pressure to fix/remedy issues probably wouldn't be quite the same. That and UH-1, AV-8B and CH-53 aren't the newest platforms in the universe.

Are the mishap rates segregated by variant, eg comparing the newest UH-1Ys against the V22?

Reply

Krag February 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Negative. It has the same landing footprint as a -53, has the same internal space as a -46 but it is in a less useful fashion – more cabin height but less cabin width, meaning it is far more cramped than any -46 was and has NO "aisle" of any kind in which to transit the cabin once loaded – you literally have to crawl over Marines to move in a fully loaded cabin…far worse than a -46 internally.

Reply

phrogdriver February 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Double negative. Tip to tip sideways on a V-22 is 85'. Tip to top fore-and-aft for a -46 is about 88'. A V-22 is 57' fore-and-aft, while a -46 is 51' sideways. In other words, it's almost exactly a -46 turned sideways.

The cabin measurements are almost identical. The reason the aidle is cramped in a V-22 is that is carries more people–more frequently 18-24, vice 15 or less for the -46. Also in the -46, troops are allowed to stow gear under the seats. In the V-22 they're not, because the seats are designed to stroke and absorb g's in the event of a crash. This means that packs have to be held in front of the troops.

Reply

Krag February 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

You are persistent, but still incorrect. Note "landing footprint" – the landing footprint is similar to the -53, far larger than the -46, and limits the number of simultaneous ospreys that can land and offload at any given LZ. If you don't know the difference between landing footrpint and vehicle dimensions, you shouldn't be in this discussion. Two, you need to reread what I wrote regarding cabin size – the VOLUME is the same, the dimensions are different and the Osprey is narrower but taller inside – thus the cabin is more cramped because it is simpler narrower – the extra head room makes no difference, but the lost width makes a large difference. Hence the cabin is far more crowded and frankly unsafe. BTW, save your preening – I've flown in the -53, -46, and UH-1 as a Marine quite a bit.

Reply

Wild Bill February 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

You don't need C-4 or any other explosive to open a hole in the canopy for the Osprey. You just let it hover in one spot over the top of the trees for about 5 minutes and it just set the whole forest on fire……….hahaha

Reply

CosmosKitten February 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

Rejoice Americans!

MV-22 is a non evolutionary craft that the US has produced, and it is actually working.

Reply

guest February 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

The hate club never seems to go away? Go pick on Christina Agulera or something

Reply

Krag February 22, 2011 at 5:14 am

Its not "hate" just empirical facts. The original concept Osprey is not the Osprey the USMC is now getting in 2010/11. I supported the concept Osprey, but as every 'good' item was removed from the production versions, and the 'bad' item count stayed static, it stopped being a good deal. Some of the more notable original concept items not in final production model – armored cargo cabin, pressurized cabin, chin gun. Without pressurization, the Osprey can't fly any higher than conventional helicopters (because of the humans onboard), which means it top speed is far below the original quoted specs. That negated most of the major speed/range arguments that supported the tilt-rotor concept for a medium lifter. Removing armor and the chin gun left a more complicated piece of machinery than any conventional helo, but which has less protection than other serving medium lifters. It is more susceptible to catastrophic damage (because of its complexity) yet has no armor protection for the humans onboard, no forward mounted weapon for enemy suppression, and no ability to autorotate once damage is taken. This is just not good for an aircraft filling the assualt support role in an expeditionary fighting force.

Reply

Krag February 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm

The downwash is not much worse than a -53, its just larger than any other "medium" lifter out there…which is bad when it tries to take on roles that conventional mediums do now, but adds the downwash of a heavy.

Reply

Oblat February 23, 2011 at 6:13 am

The marines has a two phased plan for the Osprey.

In the first acquisition phase the aircraft will be kept safe from hot landing zones or even ordinary dust, fed a river of parts and wrapped in cotton wool each night. Once acquisition is complete they will then point out they have 130 aircraft that are not surviviable and request more money to rework them. This second phase will last 20 years and provide a lot of employment for retired marine officers.

Reply

Krag February 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

phrogdriver now you are blatantly lying, or seriously misinformed. The original spec had a pressurized cabin for flight above 10,000 feet without supplemental 02 for crew and pax – that was removed once it was realized the airframe couldn't accomodate the pressurization gear and changes without a huge hit on weight. Yet, the travel speed and ranges of operating well above 10k are STILL used as if it can happen, when it is not possible in the fleet as there is simply no 02 system for use by pax on the osprey.

Reply

Guest February 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Actually he is not lying or misinformed. Everything he said is pretty much the truth. I have worked on the V-22 program as a mechanic after I left the Corps as a CH-53 mech and can tell you it's just as survivable as any other helo in the Marine Corps fleet.

Reply

Krag February 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

All assault support helos have side and some rear mounted weapons – the Osprey hit the fleet with none and only now has one rear mounted 7.62mm MMG – the original design was for a chin mounted turret with enhanced EO targeting optic to account for the loss of side guns due to the engine nacelles.

The original spec called for a reinforced troop cabin with ballistic protection – that was removed for weight reasons, again, after the contract was awarded. No not against 14mm + API rounds, but against small arms fire which is the single biggest cause of damage to helicopters in combat. (Threat detection systems don't help against the number one source of damage, pity.)

Again, the list goes on and on….

Reply

phrogdriver February 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm

One, I'm not lying. Two, I fly the damn thing. I doubt any red-ribbon panel tin-foil hat type out there has any better gouge.

I'll see if I can find a capabilities doc from the stone age regarding the O2, but I'll still bet a beer that by the time KPPs were actually written, they only called for NBC overpressure.

Name a SINGLE troop carrying helo that can protect the cabin occupants against any rifle round. I know the -46, -53, and -60 can't.

It hit the VMM's with a 7.62 before it was deployed. It can mount a .50 cal in the back now, and an IDWS if required.

Reply

Krag February 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Not lying but simply horrible misinformed. I'll give you that. Here's a simple math challenge for you – run the numbers and see if the ever touted figures for speed and range fit with an unpressurized osprey flying at max 10k – here's a hint – they don't. Marine Air keeps lying (yep – lying, and I'm a Marine myself) by touting original numbers that included flying well above 10k because the osprey was originally supposed to be pressurized – the numbers don't look nearly as dazzling when it lost the high altitude profile, but Marine Air kept spitting out the original numbers anyway.

As to armor – the spec called for an armored pax cabin – the fleet versions have none. That is the issue – as I originally said, the number of "good" items on the Osprey kept getting whacked, while the "bad" count never went down – thus leaving us with a production model that is simply a poor fit for Marine assault support.

Reply

phrogdriver February 26, 2011 at 3:04 am

As are you. One, 13K is legal with pax. I've gotten well over 250 TAS even at that altitude, and with a Block B, that'll get you plenty far.

I really don't give 2 sh*ts what the specs from the '80s say. It's a great plane, and everyone who actually has wiggled the sticks on one has come away impressed. That's the truth, and I'm NOT misinformed.

Reply

CrewChief March 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

WTG phrogdriver…maybe Krag has slithered over to the Christina Aguilara fan site and pretended to be an expert there…

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: