Here’s another piece of cool V-22 Osprey news to emerge from the Navy League’s Sea, Air, Space conference; HMX-1, the Marine Corps chopper squadron that operates the fleet of Marine One presidential transport helos is set to receive the first of what will be a fleet of 14 MV-22s, starting in 2013 .
This was revealed by Marine Col. Greg Masiello, NAVAIR’s V-22 program manager during a press briefing at the conference yesterday.
The Ospreys will likely be replacing the unit’s VH-53 Sea Stallions (shown below) which are sometimes used to transport the president’s gear and perform other utility duties for the squadron. The aging VH-53s are being pulled out of presidential support duty to return to normal cargo hauling missions until the Corps’ thinning fleet of Sea Stallions is retired in the coming years, said Col. Roger Pridgen, NAVAIR’s H-53 program manager earlier this week.
UPDATE: While Pridgen said H-53Ds during his briefing, HMX-1, as of late, flew VH-53Es, which are being sent back to the fleet.
Keep in mind that Boeing is pitching the V-22 as a potential replacement for HMX-1’s current fleet of VH-3 and VH-60 presidential transports under the revised VXX program. Hmmm, could this open the door for such a deal?
Oh yeah, Col. Masiello also noted that the very first MV-22 squadron to be based outside the United States will stand up in Okinawa in October of 2012.