Home » Air » Osprey’s Next Jobs: Tanker or AWACS?

Osprey’s Next Jobs: Tanker or AWACS?

by philewing on July 9, 2012

FARNBOROUGH, England — The V-22 Osprey’s program manager and his counterparts with Bell and Boeing have some high-tech aspirations for the future of their iconic — and controversial — tiltrotor.

Marine Col. Greg Masiello told reporters at the air show here Monday that the Osprey has only scratched the surface of the kinds of missions it could eventually take. Today, the big birds mostly ferry troops and equipment on the battlefield, but as more Ospreys enter service with more militaries, they could attempt any number of new missions.

Masiello said program officials are looking into giving an Osprey the capability to serve as a mid-air refueling tanker, a sort of miniature KC-130, which could trail a drogue and refuel another aircraft equipped with a U.S. Navy-style probe. That could include another Osprey, the way Navy carrier jets refuel each other, or almost any other aircraft with a refueling probe.

Masiello also said there’s no limit to the kinds of command and control, intelligence sensing and reconnaissance equipment an Osprey could carry. Defense contractors have had success building “sleds” of equipment that can just roll onto Coast Guard C-130 or HC-144A airplanes, and a future Osprey could copy that model.

This led a reporter to ask Masiello if it were possible than an Osprey could someday replace the Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye carrier-borne early-warning aircraft. Anything’s possible, Masiello responded, and although he was clear that today there is no formal Navy or Defense Department interest in such a concept, y’never know.

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{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ July 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

How much internal carry space does a V-22 have for a fuel tank and the appropriate equipment? Not much, I thought?


Charley A. July 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

And how many pounds of transferable fuel can they lift?


blight_ July 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Boeing's web page swears that the Osprey can carry 20,000 pounds internally.

Volume might be more interesting than weight, I think…


DGR July 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Airforce Data sheet says 10,000 pounds…….

But even 20,000 worth of fuel is barely enough to make it worth it. 20,000 pounds is barely enough to give you a single good fill. So ya, you could use one to give you another 150-200 mile combat range for another pair of birds, but that is a very expensive option. At that point I think your better off using a real tanker that could drag a full squadron along. Even 20,000 pounds isnt a lot of weight to play around with, and im willing to bet a full 20k (if possible) wouldnt be possible with vertical takeoff anyways……..

But then again, she wasnt designed to replace the heavy lifters.


ghostwhowalksnz July 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Plus a lot of its own fuel. Compare like with like, most navy jets dont carry that much as tankers

Jeff July 10, 2012 at 6:12 am

Well I could see it being used for refueling helicopters, other Ospreys, and landing and being used to supply remote outposts with fuel. The idea of refueling jets are just silly.

tiger July 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

A lot more than say the buddy tanks on a F/A-18 or S-3.


blight_ July 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Perhaps we need to invest in conformal tanks, like the Israelis have on their F-16's. Though those have their own caveats.


cconway February 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

o24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded), or
o20,000 lb (9,070 kg) of internal cargo, or up to 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of external cargo (dual hook)
o1× Growler light internally transportable ground vehicle
Plenty of room. There is already a conceptual design of roll-on-roll-off kit with tanks and a hose feeding out the bottom.

The AEW version is a bit more difficult. However, the UK, India, Italy all have a need for this capability for their carriers/amphibious ships. Should be an opportunity there.


Lance July 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Hope not with the V-22s accident record I dont wont it for any other job.


ghostwhowalksnz July 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

It has a better accident 'rate' than other helicopters


ltfunk2 July 10, 2012 at 3:03 am

other helicopters do more than milk runs.


Jeff July 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

This is why the Navy and AirForce measure accident rate per the number of operational hours and not just the absolute number of accidents.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Lance don't go there.


OLEGRUNT July 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm



jamesb July 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

sounds like a a/c LOOKING for MORE MISSONS……


Chris July 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

What about a carrier based spooky


guess July 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Even better an Amphib based spooky. love the idea of giving an MEU its own dedicated gunship. Would come in handy pirate hunting. The possibilities…


Tonytitan July 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Just imagine what a Spooky or Specter-configured Osprey could do to the "dreaded" Iranian terrorist boat swarm.


Guest July 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Crash on them?


blight_ July 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Send out some Cobras to meet their Cobras…!

EW3 July 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Exactly right. Amphib based spooky.

The whole idea of USMC air is to provide CAS. Spooky is the best at that.


Tad July 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

The first mission should be to survive the air show without crashing.


Earl July 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Crashing like the Mig-29? Or the Airbus? Hmm…


Max July 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

And which air show was that? Learn some facts before you spout nonsense about my aircraft.


Black Owl July 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I like the idea of another refueling aircraft on our carrier decks. I like Chris' idea of a carrier-based spooky. I don't like the idea of an AWACS. Why do we need it to be an AWACS when our current AWACS do the job much better? The E-2 Hawkeye is a purpose built AWACS and unless the V-22 can remain on station longer and have a lower accident rate I put my trust in the E-2 Hawkeye.


Charley A. July 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

The Marines want an AEW asset for their navy (LHAs,) because, you know, Big Navy and their CVGBs will abandon the amphibious landings when there are other ships to fight.

The Brits, Italians, Spainards, and even the Aussies could potentially use them on their helicopter cum F-35B carriers . Not saying that it is a good idea, but a carrier without AEW is dead meat in a real war.


Benjamin July 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

One benefit ofhaving a V-22 based AWACS is that you can operate more of them at any given time. An aircraft carrier only carries a limited number of E-2's. If one of the Amphibs was carrying an additional AWACS it would increase the amount of coverage.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

The Idea being The Royal Navy can buy it !!!! Come on Owl. There is a market for such a plane for all those non Catapult users. Spain, Uk, India, Etc…… Plus our Amphib units would have eyes.


BlackOwl18E July 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm

That didn't even cross my mind. I guess it would make a good export product. The Marines might be better off having a Harrier III or F-35B (if it ever gets fixed) using its AESA radar to act as a mini-AWACS. The AESA would do that well and it would allow them to keep more STOVL fighters on the deck to do the same operations. I'm still a little wary of the Osprey's accident rate.


Curt Conway June 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

The AESA radar is an awesome gadget particularly when driven by a capable computational system with displays. However, with radars 'power out' and the number of transmitting elements limit (or facilitate) capability. The AESA equipped fighters are all much more capable, but limited in range and direction of cover. No US fighter has a radar in the tail.

So, more power via greater generation capability, greater number of transmitting elements, and multiple faces (3 covering 120 degrees each) enable greater coverage.

Pressurization enables the platform to get higher providing greater range over the curved earth. In this Supersonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM) battle space detection at the greatest range gives more time for engagement. With some of these cruise missiles you get ONE SHOT . . . then you’re dead. It would be so nice to see it coming and get some airborne assets to take a shot at it first.


Dan July 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm

What they need to do is make it so the Hawkeyes equipment works more than 10% of the time and doesnt take so long to do task like pull engines. or hears a better idea… how about getting us some parts so we can fix the dam thing….


@f136man November 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

'The Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) and Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) have not such asset. So carrier borne assets (E-2C/D) or land based assets (E-3 AWACS must be available to proide Over Watch. Short of those assets being avaialble the amphibious fleet is basically blind over the horizon (OTH). If the new USS America (LHA-6) takes on light carrier dutties with a loadout of F-35Bs (15-20 or so) the KV-22 and EV-22 will be required to provide basic services for the Light Carrier Battle Group (CVLBG). The F-35s will inherrently have an EW function built into its combat system, but most of the ISR capability will be unmanned.


cconway February 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

The AEW version will be needed (coupled with KCV-22 Tanker) to support F-35B operations deployed with the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) performing expeditionary operations outside the influence of a Carrier Strike Group, and/or supporting land bases. With the defense center of gravity moving to the Pacific, and the Chinese picking a fight with everybody from Viet Nam to Japan, the Marines are going to be busy over the next decade. The Chinese have a very capable blue water navy that is growing rapidly well over force levels to just protect their coast, which has not one contesting their territorial waters. However, they are occupying islands, and have naval vessels patrolling waters just a few hundred miles off the coast of Viet Nam and the Philippines, in spite of our protest and condemnation of our allies in the region. If anything, the F-35B and the KCV-22 will not come fast enough. The current administration is ignoring this militarily. The next administration with have to hit this head-on with ‘real force’ due to the sheer inertia of these escalating events. With North Korea upping the ante on the nuclear side of the equation, the Japanese will have to play closer to home.


Guest July 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

What would the buffeting be like behind a v22 during refueling?


Dfens July 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

It would be flying so slow, the tanking hose would be limply hanging almost straight down. Seems appropriate somehow.


Sgt C July 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Then how do we refuel helicopters, hmm? There's a thing called a Low Speed Drogue. About 4 feet across. Good for 105-130 Kts. Used for the refueling helo's. Too slow for the V-22, which would use the normal drogue


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 1:34 am

Yes, I know about low speed drogues, but still are you going to tank an F-18 off a V-22? It's too friggen slow. So what does the Navy have that needs a tanker more than the F-18? Pretty much nothing. This would just be a development job to give some more free money to Boeing.


Sgt C July 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Honestly, I don't think it would be used to tank F-18's. They use a Superbug with 5 wet at the boat. This would be to get 53's or other V-22's somewhere. Like a TRAP mission.
Although I'm arguing with you about it, I think it would be of limited utility. And just too expensive for what you would get. NAVAIR doesn't make anything cheap!

cconway February 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

A US Navy experiment is testing that as we write this.


RunningBear July 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

The 58 C-2 Greyhound are getting long in the tooth (1989) and the commonality with the E-2D is slipping away. The C-2 vs. V-22; range without refueling 1300/ 880 nm,
20.5/ 20 (15 external) Klb, 26/ 24 passengers, 82/ 0 knots (stall), 58/ 110 ct. (Jan 2012). Obviously the MV-22 will be the COD for the LHA/ LHD Gator Navy. Pros and Cons for both (USN), but feasible. ;)


cconway February 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm

There is a real opportunity for the V-22 to capture the COD mission. Money is tight and the US Navy is slated to receive V-22s (according to the original plan, which the USN has not acted on to date) in the original contract. It is time for the US Navy to bring on a very capable asset that can land on all the amphibs, the carrier and most replenishment ships, in the form of a V-22 COD. The tanker and AEW&C version should be funded, developed and fielded in time to support our USS America (LHA-6) Amphibious Assault Ships, and perhaps a Light Carrier (LHA-6 with 20 F-35Bs). I can easily foresee a day that the USS Makin Island and a USS America Class Light Carrier so equipped, could respond to this “Island Hopping Menace” we are seeing develop in the Pacific. Cheaper that a full Carrier Strike Group.


Guest July 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Sounds like they want to go down the road of " mini carrier" with the amphibs. I thought that there are joint assets that were supposed to cover down on missions like that for AEW and refuel, among other things.


@f136man November 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

The Marines learned the lesson about relying on others for basic support at Guadalcanal. The MGTF is a fully integrated combat unit bringing every thing to the table Except AEW&C. If Light Carriers do come into the mix the tanker and AEW&C version will be necessary for when a CVBG is not available, which is probably going to be likely.


Dfens July 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I vote for a tanker variant. Can you say, KABOOM! Hell, if you're going to die anyway, it might as well be with a big ball of fire.


ghostwhowalksnz July 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Doesnt need to land on a mountainside like combat versions. More like a taxi cab


FormerDirtDart July 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Once you start putting all of the AWAC V-22s, Tanker V-22s, and Spooky V-22s on an LHA, where do you fit the V-22 V-22s?


Stormcharger July 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Well, unlike a Carrier Battle Group, an amphibious task task force typically has several ships with the deck space to house the various variants needed for whatever mission they might be tasked with. it would also provide flexibility as all the eggs would not then be in the same basket. In addition, the Tanker variant could likely end up just a regular transport loaded with the collapsible fuel bladders that the Marines already use, giving it the ability to switch back and forth as needed. Something to consider at least.


cconway February 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

You don't. The Tanker and AEW&C V-22s go on a Light Carrier like the USS America (LHA-6) with 20 F-35Bs, and two MH-60Rs on board. Although they could easily support contigency operations with an amphibious group.


Ben Hazi July 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Its about time they use the Osprey for other missions rather than only troop transport. May be with it will gain more acceptance and its uniqueness will be seen.


TLAM Strike July 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Still waiting for an SV-22 ASW Osprey to replaced the S-2 Viking.


TLAM Strike July 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I meant S-3 Viking.


ghostwhowalksnz July 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

helicopters can do this part of the job sufficiently well.


EW3 July 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

The one thing that the Viking had was low audio signature.
I like hunting subs with helos, did a lot of it in the north atlantic, but the sub if not below a thermal can hear the helo (or V22)
Suspect the next generation of subhunters might be something as simple as a predator like vehicle.


blight_ July 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm

A MAD mounted on a high loiter UAV tethered to a DDG or CVN as a local control station? Hmm…

Dfens July 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

Could they hear P-3's as well? Hmm, this perhaps gives me some new ammo for something I was proposing to do to a sub hunter variant of a turboprop.

Johnny Ranger July 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

It's the range/speed factors of our helos, not the actual ASW capabilities, that worry me. A CSG is a pretty important and expensive asset to allow enemy subs to get anywhere even remotely near, especially an SSGN. An "SV-22" – even if it just had existing LAMPS gear "cut and pasted" into it – would provide commonality, a short development timeline, manufacturing scalability/affordabilty, and (most importantly in my opinion) STAND OFF ASW CAPABILITY!


blight_ July 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

"…would provide commonality, a short development timeline, manufacturing scalability/affordabilty…"

Good lord, where have we heard that one? Damn you, Lockmart.

tiger July 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Beg to differ. There is a role for fixed wing ASW. The S-3 also had longer legs to launch harpoons.


Snafuperman July 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

And don't forget that S-3 got on station faster. Important if you're extending the ASW bubble out farther.

Jed Figg July 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

Its the S-3B Viking to be exact


Anlushac11 July 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Use modular mission kits that slide in and out of the V-22's cargo bay. KV-22 would carry as much fuel as the current Buddy pack systems. They would most likely be used to refuel aircraft trying to recover and low on fuel. Place some on return route to refuel as needed and do SAR if a bird goes down in area.

RAF has looked at possibly of adapting its AEW package used in Westland Sea King ASaC7's for V-22's. USMC has good working rapport with Brits.

V-22 is IMHO a natural for COD duties.

Study idea of conformal fuel tanks to boost fuel load for tanker.


Josh July 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Agreed, perfect platform for AEW on the new Queen Elizabeth carriers. Don't know enough about tanking, but sounds like it'd be better than buddy to buddy (if that's even possible with F35B's).


Dfens July 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

What do you do with the radome, mount it on top of the vertical stabs? That's freaking hilarious.


Johnny Ranger July 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

They could configure it the way the Russians do with their Ka-31 (fold-up belly radar array), although I tend to agree with Guest and FormerDirtDart…most ESGs deploy with only one real flat top, so once you start loading up with specialized variants, it's hard to see how there would be room left for a critical mass of regular V-22s and CH-53s to actually land Marines. Which, as was my understanding, is kinda the whole point of an ESG…;-)


Dfens July 10, 2012 at 11:05 am

Sure, since the crappy thing is already gold plated, what's one more gold plated accessory?

tiger July 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Go flat panels like on the Jastars.


Sgt C July 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm


That's how the Brits did it with the Merlin. Not that I am saying that it could fit there on the V-22, but something like that is possible.


ghostwhowalksnz July 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Exactly . It can do both vertrep and deck landing. No need for an extra specialised type


robin July 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm

A V-22 only has half the range and less payload than the C-2, and costs twice as much. A perfect fit for our new military.


bevel450 July 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

Aw that's ok. Most people here don't care about cost or performance anyway. We're more about a free airshow, loud music and blather from the Marine Corps on how unique they are.

Quite silly, all of it.


Dfens July 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

Yeah, why the hell don't they make a tanker version of the C-2? With the higher horsepower T56 engines and 8 bladed props (same as the AWACS version, the E-2D has), they'd be able to tank anything the Navy flies. Heck, the same was true of the C-130J when they put the V-22 engines on it. They were able to fly 20 kts faster which made it easy for an F-18 to tank off one. Can you imagine an F-18 hanging on its engines trying to tank behind a V-22? That would stupid beyond belief.

It's funny how Lockheed abandoned their call for a Common Support Aircraft (CSA) program after all their analysis came up with the answer that the C-2 was better for the job than anything they could come up with. Never did so much money buy so many lies on such pretty charts, though.


Sgt C July 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm

You'd be surprised about how much the C-2 tanker thing comes up at NAVAIR. Every couple of years, it seems. Problem is, every couple of years the C-2's are a couple of years older and broker.
There's just not enough of them and the Navy keeps them pretty busy.

I have worked with Lockheed with the KC-130J, Harvest Hawk, supported JSF… They are the worst bunch of liars and thieves imaginable. The only reason no one is in jail is that they have REALLY good lawyers.


Dfens July 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Sad, but true. And I only say, "sad" because I know a lot of good people who work there, but good people getting promoted there happens almost never.

You should have seen the CSA charts. One proposed configuration was an S-3 derivative with a 6-8 ft plug behind the wing, the engines mounted high on the empannage (like on a biz jet), and a radome mounted on top of the vertical. Apparently someone who knew something about airplanes saw that one and asked 1) does it seem reasonable that an airplane with an aft cg problem already could accommodate a plug, aft mounted engines, and a radome on the tail and still fly; and 2) what kind of engines like to suck dirty air off a wing?


MasterC July 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

If anyone reads the new inside information about V-22 problems at G2mil.com that'll kill this discussion.


ltfunk2 July 10, 2012 at 3:04 am

The future mission of the V-22 is static display.


William C. July 10, 2012 at 6:21 am

I'm sure somebody like you once said "the future of the helicopter is a static display" back in the 1940s.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Hate club member?


Steven July 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

Cool, lets take an accident prone flying platform and make even more versions of it while eliminating systems that don't have trouble staying in the air.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm



Dfens July 11, 2012 at 1:35 am

The defense schills have spoken. You dare not disagree.


Snafuperman July 11, 2012 at 11:50 am

Uh, please see F-14 and F-16 early history before making comments like that.


Pappa51 July 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I have to aggree with Steven. Seems like going in the wrong direction to me too. Such a shame so much time, and money, and lives; for such little return.


iamwillcummings July 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

im soooo gonna get some hate mail now….


@f136man November 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

No . . . you are right on target. The F-35B/V-22 Team is going to revolutionize Naval Aviation, in my humble estimation. It as least will necessarily revolutionaize Marine aviation, and show the world that there is no place where for our enemies to hide that we cannot find them and get them. That is if our politicians actually decide to use force, and not hamstring us with combersome ROE.


bob July 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

V-22 osprey is a "TOTAL" piece of "JUNK". Its a danger to our valuable Marines and a total waste to our taxpayers. Over $3,000 per hour to operate 1 engine. Come On!


Sgt C July 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Guess you don't do aviation much. $3,000/hr is a bargain in the flying world. Mature planes like the legacy F-18 cost over $10,000/hr to operate. Just the way it is nowadays.


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

It's got 2 engines.


Sgt C July 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I know. And it costs more the 6K/hr to run it. I think it's still more than 10. Still not outrageously expensive.


iamwillcummings July 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm

ok, i know im gonna be cannonized for saying this, but i like the osprey. think of the speed variant, think of the variable attachments looming in the near future…yes, it has like, the worst ever track record. does that mean the past 20 years of work should be flushed away? hell no. this thing can and will do things that we have not seen before. just give it a chance! …wish i could try one!!
think of it like a horse thats blown its knee in every other race…just means a bigger payout whenever it wins!


Anthony July 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I think it's a perfect verticle envelopment platform. Throw some side hatches and mount some mini guns or Mark 19's and you have a bad ass gunship. Picture the osprey in a 5000 foot hover firing laser guided hellfire missile being lit up by a spotter that just fast roped in. It's a one stop shop. More with less


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 1:37 am

Yeah, do all that and it will make a great museum piece, 'cause it will never get off the ground.


blight_ July 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I think one would have better luck building ACH-47's again; especially since the CH-47's are still chugging.


blight_ July 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm

An might be to put a blister pod way to the rear of the V-22, which would allow it to fire foward and to the sides provided a means to synchronize ROF with propellors is devised. Then a means to safe the weapon from shooting into the engines when in hover mode.

If the V-22 was a parasol wing with higher clearance between fuselage and wings, would that help with regards to clearance for weapons? It would also expose the transmission system of the Osprey to weapons fire, and presumably lead to a drag penalty that disadvantages the aircraft.

Perhaps in the long run, something like the LiftSystem might be repurposed for the gunship of the future. Dorsal engine, shaft-driven ventral fan, ducts outboard for stability? (or just go NOTAR). In any case, we're commited to tilt-rotor


phrogdriver July 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

Any legitimate criticisms of the V-22? Everyone goes to the same tired well of "deathtrap" or whatever that aren't borne out by facts. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay. Get over it.

An Osprey could save baby Jesus, and people would immediately say,"It's a good thing he's getting resurrected anyway!"

BTW, G2mil is about as accurate and up to date as a horoscope from 1972.


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

Is there anyone who doesn't think the V-22 is a death trap that's not being paid to have that opinion?


William C. July 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I'm getting paid for this? Why didn't anybody tell me that? Who do I call at Bell or Boeing to pick up my internet comment Osprey supporter check?


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

So you don't get a check from an aerospace company now, William?


William C. July 12, 2012 at 1:34 am

Not one of the big three. I don't even know if we make any components for the Osprey.

cconway February 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm



fborgxx July 11, 2012 at 12:47 am

The Osprey has become better over time but for the money they have spent and just the fact that this aircraft cannot defend itself to me is a giant waste of money. It has a rear facing gun and unable to approach an LZ with a squad of Marines/Army and keep them protected. That to me just makes no sense. It reminds me of the Phantom that didn’t have a cannon to use in a dog fight. It had a gun that was eventually placed on the belly but it was a poor substitute for proper design and engineering. It still is an extremely deadly aircraft with its air to air and air to ground missiles but close in dog fighting gave the advantage to its enemy. When you look at a helicopter that was designed up for function of mission the first two that come to mind are the CH 53 AND 46. The UH-1, COBRA also are birds that did their job so well its sad to see them replaced. However, this Osprey is just not a well designed vehicle. The BLACKHAWK and APACHE are built mission specific just like the A-10 but this thing should be put out to pasture and replaced with a proper aircraft that can insert troops, defend them, supply them with range and speed. The Osprey has speed and range. It cannot quickly transition or evade and its heat signature is terrible. It can’t defend itself or troops that to me makes it a real lemon.


tiger July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Like a Ch53 or 46 is going to do better? That is not how things are done.


ONTIME July 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

What you say makes sense to me, this bird is just misused…


ondafritz July 11, 2012 at 9:56 am

Making a new reef off of the Florida coastline with the V-22 airframes makes sense to me. Grummand could also donate all of the extra EA-6B fuselages they have in storage and the B-2 would also make a good reef material


C-Low July 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

A AWACS and refueler style V-22 tagged onto a America class with a load out of F-35B's would be a very formidable pocket carrier for "small war/conflict management" scenarios.

I also don't understand why no one has proposed a V-22 with a mag stick and maybe a dipper for ASW off all the above ships. The range of the V-22 running low (its designed for low) using the mag stick would be a deadly Littoral sub hunter. It would need some mods but it would operate like a mini P-3 mobile off ours and our allies landing ships, pocket carriers, hell even with load cut destroyers as a Lilly pad range extension. Our ASW helicopters need more range especially if we find ourselves in a major conflict were say our P-3/P-8's in theater are down waiting for air field repairs after the daily constant BM shelling.


Boldar July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Set it up just like the AF C-130. Place desired package and crew in, serve mission, then go home. V22 Tilt Rotor capable ASW platform, surface assault platform for Tomahawks ALCM, air tropp deployment / assault vehicle, platform capability is limitless.


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

It's just like the much larger C-130 in cost, but none of the other numbers are even close.


Tom Campbell July 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm

How about a date with the scrap yard for this piece of Dangerous JUNK!!!


Eagle July 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm

If the osprey ended up on a carrier deck as a double palm tree (unable to fold) it would most likely lock the deck and could not be put below on the hangar deck…..a huge operational problem. If it was made a COD, I would not bet on folding, so keep it turning, empty the cargo and launch it.


Gunnyjack July 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

The 1960s era CH-46As & Ds often time had difficulty foleding their blades when onboard a ship. The Marines figured out the workaround and you would often time see and aviation electrician up on the rotorhead 'cheatin' the blades in or out. The full barrier filter of that time was the result of Marines & Vertol Reps figuring out what could be done to stop the engines from being destroyed by the sand at Marble Mountain and the red clay soil in the hills of Viet Nam. Marine aviation maintenance personnel have been tackling and defeating the 'gremlin' for 100 years now and they will keep doing it for another 100 years.


Johnny Ranger July 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm

In a combat scenario, they could just push it off the deck a la Bin Laden. Remember the footage of the South Vietnamese Hueys going into the drink after the fall of Saigon?


Sandhills007 July 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

phrogdriver must be heavily invested in the Osprey – but as defense budgets get slimmed, many pet projects may have to get axed. At one time the AF wanted to axe the A-10, I seriously doubt the Osprey have the same loyalty and top cover to keep it's funding. The Marines may have to suck it up – doubt the AF wants to keep it if it means cutting new tankers – and it already has a perception issue with the F-22. The Osprey is a hybrid that ain't as good as a helo and ain't as good as fixed wing for many of the missions it wants to find a niche in. Too much money to keep it = and when harder budget choices have to be made, cutting the Osprey will be an easy one.


Roy July 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

COST!, COST!, COST! Whats the trade off? Is it practical to add refueling capability to the V-22 in this budget "Crunch" time? Don't add more maintence cost to keep the V-22 Cost per flying hour. What is the cost per flying hour now. Maintence cost is always forgotten when additional equipment is added to an airframe (From an ex HH-55 Jolly Green pilot and Squadron Commander.


CDRKentTOFret July 12, 2012 at 1:26 am

Re: the accident rate of the V-22.
Its NASA predecessor was designed as a helicopter capable of wing-borne flight. NASA pilots reported it quite easy to control in all flight regimes. Unfortunately, the original V-22 PM, a Harrier pilot suffering acute recto-cranial impaction, wanted the flight controls to behave like the Harrier's so (paraphrasing his words), "V-22 pilots wouldn't suffer the stigma of flying anything like a helicopter."

Guess what? The Harrier [a fixed-wing aircraft capable of limited helicopter-like hovering flight] had been particularly prone to crashes in the transition from wing-borne to hovering flight. Sound a lot like the V-22? Of course. Human factors engineers (& uniformed Aerospace Engineering Psychologists) of my acquaintance (mostly at NASA-Ames) were appalled that the PM wasn't relieved (he was soon promoted to Brigadier!). All predicted that that the V-22 would have a high accident rate, mostly involving approach to hover. Which is what has happened.

In my view, a large proportion of V-22 crashes (and deaths and loss of millions of dollars) can and should be blamed on that PM's inexcusable arrogance and unprofessional disdain for helicopter pilots.

To a lesser degree, the Navy's persistent failures to incorporate sound human factors engineering in systems design (especially in cockpits) is also to blame. It's a recipe for failure to design the cockpit solely around the mission, incorporating all the latest and greatest bells and whistles and slick looking displays, expecting the pilot (operator) to adapt to the results. Instead, the cockpit (system) should be designed around the pilot's (operator's) PERFORMANACE of the mission, subject to all the stresses of the environment (comms, maintaining situational awareness, being shot at, making decisions, etc.). The Army found this out the hard way with the AH-64: only 10% or so of Army pilots could perform the full mission, and even those 10% struggled. The Longbow mod, an intensive human factors redesign, adapted the cockpit around pilot performance of the mission, and resulted in a feasible system. In the baseline V-22 case, a flight control system redesign around a mission of not crashing in the approach to a hover would be a great start.

Re: use of the V-22 in an AEW/AWACS/EW role – I'd think that those two huge 3-bladed rotating radar reflectors would present a problem.

Re: adapting the V-2 for a gunship role: fuselage-mounted forward firing weapons would work, as would flex mounts with suitable stops to prevent firing into the rotors/wings/empennage. It'd be pretty ugly.

Re: self-defense – same problem as with AEW/AWACS/EW. The rotors would seriously compromise any threat sensors. [I recall VF and VA types enthusiastically describing how great a radar and IR target my SH-3 was: a V-22 is probably similar.]


Dfens July 13, 2012 at 7:35 am

There are fundamental design problems too. For one thing, there are 2 stable cg locations, one for hover and one for forward flight. This creates a situation where as the engines translate between the two, there is not enough control authority to keep the nose up. The "solution" to this problem is to transition through that zone at a high enough altitude so the plane doesn't crash before the transition is complete. Which is nice.

Then there is the asymmetric vortex ring state that has already killed a bunch of pilots. When the twin tornadoes hit the ground and coalesce, the aft flowing plume can be sucked back into one rotor or the other causing that rotor to lose all lift and generally killing everyone on board.


blight_ July 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm
Guest July 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

@cdrkent: Longbow cockpit changes had more to do with weight savings than MANPRINT. Longbow crew station workload remains an issue to this day. Now back to our regularly scheduled V22 bash.


Greg July 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm

COIN version


ONTIME July 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

How about setting it up for the Death from Above aircraft, using a Osprey for a mundane AWAC is infeasible, this bird despite it's probs could be the best combat ferrying machine in the inventory and still be fitted for covering ground fire…


Bing.Com September 21, 2014 at 12:34 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about air. Regards


DGR July 10, 2012 at 8:27 am

But it offers nothing that a MC-130 cant. These things are almost as expensive as a full blown KC-46. While im all about spending the money if its worth it, a Osprey tanker that cant even offer double the range for a pair of fellow ospreys doesnt make sense to me. Meanwhile a MC-130J Commando II will cost you 67mil, and offers much greater versitility and payload capacity. Not to mention you could buy a half dozen 130s for the cost of developing the tanker kits for the Osprey……. Im a big fan of the Osprey, but a tanker kit/version makes little sense to me.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm



Dfens July 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

On the other hand, they could outfit the C-2 with the E-2D's props and engines and tank everything for much less cost. Seems like a no-brainer, but then brains aren't a requirement when it comes to deciding what's good for the Navy.


Riceball July 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

It offers tanker capability to an amphib, that's the advantage over a KC-130. It also allows for tanker capability at expeditionary airfields that might not be able to handle something as large as a KC-130.


tiger July 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm

The MC-130 can't land on a deck. And where is the 130 going to fly from? Land bases & friends are not always close by.


Dfens July 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Too slow.


Sgt C July 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm

The C-2 does have the same props and engines as the E-2D. All of the C-2/E-2C/E-2D have the NP200 prop and good ol' T56 with an improved electronic valve housing and pump housing. The E-2's engines have two generators is the biggest difference.


Dfens July 11, 2012 at 1:30 am

I didn't realize that. We had some E-2D's based nearby that had the new props, but I haven't seen a C-2 in probably a decade.


Johnny Ranger July 11, 2012 at 10:18 am

Touche ;-)


Dfens July 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

Exactly! More corporate welfare for a big defense contractor.


Dfens July 12, 2012 at 8:58 am

Well, aren't you useful…


Max July 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Wikipedia lists E-2's loiter at 6 hours. We can do about 5 without auxiliary tanks.


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