The Ospreys will not be white tops like the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60 White Hawks, which get their nickname from the white paint job up top. These are the helicopters that carry the President of the United States. Instead, the Ospreys were painted green as they will carry presidential support staff and the media.
The Marines started flight operations with the Osprey on April 26, however the tilt-rotor aircraft will not start carrying reporters and presidential support staff until later in 2013, according to the Marine announcement.
Questions remain how the Ospreys will work together with the Sea King and White Hawks. The Osprey is significantly faster than either the Sea King or the White Hawk. The tilt-rotor Osprey flies at 280 knots, according to a Marine fact sheet. The Sea King has a maximum speed of about 166 knots and the White Hawk has a maximum speed of 159 knots, according to Navy statistics.
If anything, the support staff will be able to arrive much earlier than the president depending on where they are flying.
Of course, the Osprey has faced a checkered crash history. However, Marine officials now refer to it as their safest aircraft after it’s faced a rigorous operations tempo for the past four years in Afghanistan. The Osprey has been able to prove the Osprey’s worth delivering Marines and supplies over the long distances between forward operating bases in Afghanistan.