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Will the Army Ever Buy the V-22 Osprey?

by Brendan McGarry on October 18, 2013

Osprey3On a rainy day in Paris earlier this year, the Marine Corps officer who oversees the V-22 Osprey program talked about the aircraft’s rising international demand.

More than a few countries are lining up to buy the tilt-rotor aircraft, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like a plane, Col. Greg Masiello said during a June 17 press conference with reporters at the Paris Air Show. He didn’t specify which, though the Defense Department has already said Israel will be the first.

International sales of the V-22, made by a joint venture between Textron Inc.‘s Bell Helicopter unit and Boeing Co., may eventually reach more than 100 aircraft, Masiello said. That’s on top of the U.S. military’s planned purchase of 458 Ospreys, including 360 for the Marine Corps, 50 for the Air Force and 48 for the Navy, he said.

The Army, however, still doesn’t plan to buy any.

The largest military service actually began development of the vertical-lift program that led to the V-22 in the early 1980s. It officially dropped out several years later to build a new stealthy helicopter called Comanche. When that program was cancelled after an investment of several billion dollars, it bought conventional utility, cargo and attack helicopters such as the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache.

While the Army has a checkered history in developing new choppers after the Vietnam War, the existing fleet of rotorcraft helped the service survive the past decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Richard Whittle, author of the book, “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey.”

“They’ve needed every Black Hawk and CH-47 and OH-58 they could get their hands on,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a very intensive decade for Army rotorcraft. So their money has gone further than it would have, frankly, if they were buying V-22s.”

As the wars wound down, the service began rethinking its aviation strategy. It now plans to ramp up spending on a new vertical-lift development program.

The Army over the next five years plans to spend $463 million on advanced aviation technology, mostly for a program called the Joint Multi-Role, or JMR, Aircraft Demonstrator, to initially design next-generation replacements for the medium-sized transport and attack helicopters, according to Pentagon budget documents. Spending would rise from $81 million in fiscal 2014, which began Oct. 1, to $102 million in fiscal 2018, the documents show.

Textron’s Bell, AVX Aircraft Co. and a joint venture of Boeing Co. and United Technologies Corp.‘s Sikorsky Aircraft, have already submitted designs. The Army wants a flying prototype by 2017.

But it’s not clear whether the service is fully committed to the effort.

“Next-gen research programs have the same function in the Army bureaucracy as creating commissions on Capitol Hill — it’s their way of kicking ideas down the road,” said Loren Thompson, chief executive officer of Source Associates, a for-profit defense consultancy, who has written favorably of the V-22 program.

So why doesn’t the Army just buy the Osprey, which is already in production?

With 214 of the aircraft operating in the U.S. fleet, the V-22 flies faster and farther than conventional helicopters.

The Osprey has a top speed of more than 300 miles per hour – comparable to that of a turbo-prop plane – and a range of more than 1,000 miles. By comparison, the medium-left helicopter it’s replacing, the Corps’ CH-46 Sea Knight, has a top speed of 166 miles per hour and a range of 633 miles.

During the past decade, the U.S. military flew the V-22 extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To highlight the rotorcraft’s effectiveness in combat, Masiello told a story about a mission in Afghanistan in 2010. More than 30 coalition troops were trapped after their CH-47 Chinook crashed from enemy fire, he said. Two Ospreys from Kandahar were dispatched to rescue the personnel, flying hundreds of miles in bad weather as high as 15,000 feet over mountaintops, he said.

“You could not do that with any other aircraft,” he said.

A pair of V-22s was used similarly in Libya in 2011 to rescue an Air Force fighter pilot whose F-15E crashed near Benghazi during a coalition mission to oust Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Critics have questioned the aircraft’s safety record. Three dozen people have died in seven Osprey accidents, mostly during development testing, according to published reports. When an Air Force V-22 went down during a mission in Afghanistan in 2011, four of the 20 passengers were killed. Service members at one time called it, “The Widow-Maker.”

Yet cost, not safety, is likely the biggest issue for the Army. The Osprey costs about $70 million apiece, more than triple that of a Black Hawk. Even if the V-22 boasts cheaper costs per passenger, its price tag is simply too high for the service, which is downsizing due in part to budget cuts.

The Osprey also isn’t necessarily designed for Army-specific missions. For example, its cargo cabin isn’t wide enough to carry a Humvee or the service’s future light-duty truck known as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV.

“The V-22 is just the first production tilt-rotor,” Whittle, the author, said in a telephone interview. “Essentially, it’s 1980s technology.

“I don’t think the Army will end up buying the V-22,” he added. “It’s expensive. It’s complicated. It has disadvantages for their mission. But I think it’s very likely that the Army will buy a tilt-rotor of some kind.”

United Technologies’ Sikorsky has already begun building a light tactical helicopter with coaxial rotors and a pusher-prop called S-97 Raider for the service’s Armed Aerial Scout program to replace the OH-58 Kiowa. The effort may be the Army’s only new aviation acquisition to receive continued funding.

Textron’s Bell is developing the V-280 Valor for the medium Joint Multi-Role demonstrator aircraft.

And Karem Aircraft Inc., founded by Abraham Karem, who designed the early MQ-1 Predator drone and A-160 Hummingbird unmanned helicopter, is developing a larger, “optimum speed” tilt-rotor capable of carrying an M2 Bradley or Stryker armored infantry vehicle.

The tilt-rotor concept is still the most “elegant solution” to the basic aerodynamic problem of combining two kinds of thrust – vertical and horizontal – to avoid the need for a runway, Whittle said. “The V-22 is an ugly duckling that turned into a swan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get something better now because technology advances so rapidly.”

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{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

Clint Notestine October 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

You know how much they love working together/using the same equipment.

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fuzznose October 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

it's no different than the Air Force having the F-15 Eagle and the Navy having the F-14 Tomcat. Different mission requirements. The F-14 was designed for interceptor, while the F-15 was more of a mission support fighter. The F-15 wasn't designed to land on a carrier, and most Air Force pilots couldn't have done so, even if it were, without extensive training. Trying to land on a postage stamp that's in constant motion in the middle of the ocean at night is one of the most stressful things a pilot can do.

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blight_ October 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Different needs, different equipment. Sea Knight and Sea Stallion/Super Stallion vs Blackhawk and Chinook (though the Navy does use the UH-60 in the form of the Seahawk).

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Musson October 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

The problem is that the Army could only fly the Osprey when the wing was rotated upwards. As soon as the wing is straighted for level flight – an Air Force pilot has to take over the controls!

/s

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mi1400 October 22, 2013 at 6:45 am

Isnt it a little dishonest review… !?!
CH-53K The K is slightly larger than V-22, but carry 5x payload, has greater range. Although V-22 has 30% more cruise speed, all Marines favor ending V-22 to buy more 53Ks. The helicopter will also be configured with Directional Infrared Countermeasures, or DIRCM, a high-tech laser-jammer designed to throw incoming missiles off course. to lift 27,000 pounds, to 110 nautical miles, stay 30 min on station and return to ship under high hot conditions. today the best “Echo” class can do is 9,000 pounds. Reports in late 2009 stated that Israel favored the Sikorsky CH-53K. In 2011, Israel expressed a new interest in the V-22 to support special operations and in search & rescue operations.

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David Smith October 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

The Army has never found a more tactfully and logistically sound tool like the Chinook. I crewed the C Model in 1972-73 and the old girl is still flying today. That kind of service has never been heard of since the C47 (DC3). I still love to go on base and just look at the old girl. Brings back memories. But if this new tilt rotor will haul a Tank, at respectable speeds, then maybe the CH47's time will come to an end.

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alwaystad October 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm
blight_ October 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm

1956: XH-40 (Huey ancestor)
1957: Vertol 107
1958: YHC-1C (became Sea Knight)
? HC-1B (Chinook)
1960: UH-1 contract awarded. Prototype flew in '56.
1962: YHC-1C->Sea Knight
1961/2: Chinook

Both helicopters were pushed along at around the same time. By the late '50s, the piston-powered helicopters were showing diminishing returns. Both were the first generation of turbine-powered helicopters. The Vertol was initially too small, but the right size for the Marines. Scaled up, the Sea Knight became the Chinook. Presumably this delayed the Chinook's rollout, but both were envisioned at around the same time, but still really made it out to the end-user at around the same time.

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Jeff October 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I don’t think the Army wants the V-22. The biggest issue would be the need and lack of escort that can keep up. The interest by the Army in this technology isn’t speed or range it’s the potential for greater lift capacity. Karem has drawn the same conclusion. Speed and range are efficiency boosts but the potential for bring in armor more easily expands capability.

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Lance Manion October 20, 2013 at 12:43 am

I think the Army doesn't want to show interest otherwise the USAF will take it over, show a little interest. AND THEN CANCEL it because it's not a shit fighter or bomber that will be irreverent in 2018.

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Charles James Haas October 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

The need for an escort is fixed by arming the V-22 to fill the escort need. This would actually be fairly straight forward, but not entirely cheap.

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Jeff October 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I don’t think the Army wants the V-22. The biggest issue would be the need and lack of escort that can keep up. The interest by the Army in this technology isn’t speed or range it’s the potential for greater lift capacity. Karem has drawn the same conclusion. Speed and range are efficiency boosts but the potential for bring in armor more easily expands capability.

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tiger October 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Armor by air has never been a practical way to travel. You need a ship or rail to move large numbers.

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Acerbic_Critic October 21, 2013 at 2:14 am

Just because something has never been done doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried. The speed of war has changed dramatically and our transport capacity needs to change with it.

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blight_ October 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm

The only people who take aerial armor seriously are the Russians. They used airmobile armored vehicles to win the Ogaden; unfortunately those units were sent into Chechenya in the '90s and didn't do so well.

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Joe Boyum October 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Israel will 'buy' the V-22? Israel does not 'buy' military equipment the US taxpayer GIVES the stuff to them in order to subsidize the defense industry.

The H-60 airframe works fine. The UH-60M works. Tested technology and not silver bullets win wars.

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sadas October 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Israel does buy their military equipment as well; $3 billion is peanuts when it comes to providing for a first world military.

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Joe Boyum October 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

Three billion also builds a few roads, hospitals, schools etc.

I for one would rather not subsidize foreigners regardless of what desert religion you practice.

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Joe October 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

And yet, the U.S. has no problem paying $8 Billion a year for the defense of Germany; which includes a large contingent U.S. personnel. Yet the Germans never get mentioned, only Israel.

Bias much?

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Rest Pal October 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

the US does NOT actually pay for the "defense" of Germany, or Japan, or Italy …

and the US certainly isn't interested in defending those countries.

they are nothing more than a profit center for the military industrial complex, and sacrificial lambs in a large scale war.

IknowIT October 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

We have bases there. So, let's break down what we spend in Germany. If its the same BS as Israel, we shouldn't do that either. No bias, just facts

IknowIT October 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

PS- Israel is mentioned in the story, and Germany is not- so a relevant comment. Talking is about you beloved Israel is not verboten, unless you are enforcing the thought police today

IKnowIT October 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

How does your logic make ANY sense? They should buy there own stuff.. So what if ONLY three billion does not buy THAT much.. Wow, what does it have to be to make sense to you 500B? a Trillion?

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Joe Boyum October 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm

not a dollar for foreigners. Inside and/or outside our country.

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Charles James Haas October 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm

You obviously don't understand that we get a lot from Israel in return. They share intelligence and a lot of other things that is well worth the money.

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Papi1960R October 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

One of the reasons Israel is a the front of the line on major US systems is that the Israeli Defense generally straightens out the bugs in our ointment. F-16, F-15, F-18's radar, AARAM. just the tip of the iceberg.

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Chris October 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Get the A-10 instead….

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JCross October 19, 2013 at 4:04 am

From the Army's perspective, what exactly is gained by buying the V-22 in the short term? It's simply to expensive and large to replace the UH-60 fleets. And while faster, and sporting superior range, it offers substantially reduced payload compared to the CH-47; while still costing twice as much and being a larger, heavier vehicle. It'd also be short term, as both of those are to be replaced by the JMR derivatives. It should also be noted that JMR has a very good chance of not being tiltrotor either, so right now there doesn't appear to be any actual reason for the Army to invest in the Osprey.

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tiger October 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

They are already working on UH-60 replacements.

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George Babbitt October 19, 2013 at 10:33 am

Congrats Israel, enjoy that hardware that you can be the first to buy from us with our money.

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FriedFish October 21, 2013 at 8:55 am

Better Israel than the Pakistanis…

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Dtyn October 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

The army tends to be dysfunctional in this area. Witness Comanche . 15 years of changing design spending 3b and to come away with nothing but complaints about the v22 not fitting the mission. Now that is arrogance on all parts and a failure in leadership. And the comments here are right off the official army handbook. I think they could serve us better by decreasing the army budget by half . They end up being policeman in country anyway.

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Carl October 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

Yup, these Army "policeman" pulled 12-15 month deployments in OIF & OEF when all the other services were doing 6-7 month tours. And geee, let's look at the number of MoH recipients….arn't most of them Soldiers?

The U.S. Army has carried the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on their backs and without these "policeman," as you call them, we would have been up that proverbial creek without a paddle.

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majr0d October 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

"The army tends to be dysfunctional in this area." I thought you were joking until I saw the rest of your ignorant post.

You do realize that all but one helicopter in operation today in US service started out as an Army program? The Army's "dysfunction" includes the Huey, Cobra, Cayuse/Little Bird, Kiowa, Chinook, Apache and Blackhawk. WHO has a better record?

BTW, the V22 is turning out to be a great bird. It's development in many ways was a poster child of dysfunction which is why it has so many haters today despite it's pretty sound service. You shouldn't throw stones when you're in a glass house.

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blight_ October 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Plus the prototypes, including the rightly-terminated Cheyenne. (Amusingly, the Comanche fell right into the Cheyenne's trap…talk about not learning from mistakes)

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Joe Boyum October 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Always wondered why the marines could not use the H-60 when the army, navy, air force, coast guard and even the marines themselves (the VH-60) use it?

The MH-60K in the DAP configuration is a very effective gunship. And the AH-64 has been operated from ships in the past.

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PHP October 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Just the Maintence and up keep make no sense in todays environment for the Army. Not cost effective. We always prepare for the Last War…

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jamesb October 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Is this piece an ad for the MV-22?

The a/c does NOT fit the Army's needs…
Simple….

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Perry October 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

It don't fit the Marines needs either, just ask anyone on a MEU. They are broke down half the time and only fly in great weather.

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jamesb October 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Oh, and it cost 's to darn much ….

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Guest October 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Yes, of course, the Israelis get the Osprey thanks to US Taxpayers, while the US Army
does without. Our US Congress is the Best Congress that $$$ can Buy but that's another Story.

In the mean time, if a another War breaks out in the Middle East, the US Military will be expected to do the fighting while the Israelis watch on TV.

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Joe October 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

And yet, the U.S. has no problem paying $8 Billion a year for the defense of Germany; which includes a large contingent U.S. personnel. Yet the Germans never get mentioned, only Israel.

Bias much?

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SJE October 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Thats bogus.

We spent billions on the bases, but they are not there for the protection of Germany. They are effectively US bases for any actions in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. When our troops are injured in Iraq, they are flown to Germany. We do have bases in the Middle East, but they are vulnerable to politics and terrorism. Better to keep the good bases in Germany.

The same could be said around the world. The USA has huge submarine communication and tracking facilities on the NW Cape of Western Australia. They are there because thats a good spot to monitor the entire Indian Ocean, and the Australians are good allies that are happy to host. Its not there for the defense of Australia, and most of the security is Australian.

Likewise, Okinawa is not about protecting a small island that has negligable economic value to Japan, but a base for action in East Asia, and sending a message to China, NK, and Russia.
.

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Joe October 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

You can use the same logic for Israel then; which is used to store a large amount of U.S. equipment for action in the middle east, is home to a U.S. radar base that covers most of the middle east and is a rapid response force for the U.S. when the U.S. doesn't have assets to deploy, such as when Syria invaded Jordan and the U.S. asked Israel to intervene. Israel is also used as a port of call for U.S. Navy ships.

Which brings me back to the original point; why this biased singling out of Israel?

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Gundor H trump October 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm

PolicyWonk October 20, 2013 at 10:08 am

Which brings me back to the original point; why this biased singling out of Israel?
===============================================
Look at the *original* posting. The article says that Israel is *buying* V-22's. I was merely pointing out that the US taxpayers are the ones who are *really* buying them as a GIFT. Notably, they are a gift to country that has been busted a number of times in the recent past for being behind a number of "false flag" incidents intended to provoke a military reaction between Iran and the United States (probably because the POTUS and US JCS want nothing to do with starting another war in the middle east just because Netanyahu wants us to).

OTOH – when Germany *buys* something, for example – they PAY for it with their own money. Germany, unlike Israel, are not burdens on the US taxpayers.

SJE October 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I am not singling out Israel, merely pointing out that there is significant US interest in keeping a base in Germany that has little or nothing to do with protecting Germany

Joe Boyum October 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm

No bias. Just a different standard for israel than any other country. Why do we still not know everything about the USS Liberty?

Why the lobbying to get Pollard released?

Why did israel use the intelligence provided by pollard as a bargaining chip with the soviets?

Why did israel sell the Lavi jet to the chinese? And patriot radar technology?

et al.

We want to talk bias we can talk bias. You have no ground to stand on my friend.

Acerbic_Critic October 21, 2013 at 2:21 am

@ SJE Anyone commenting negatively to what you said is acting out of ignorance and their own hypocrisy and bias. You clearly and concisely explained the purpose(s) for those bases. Countless lives have been saved by our ability to airlift wounded to superior facilities in Germany. Floating hospitals, spiffy as they are, can only handle so many wounded, and sadly we never seem to run out of broken bodies these days. Former USA MEDDAC

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Joe October 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm

And how many have been saved due to Iraq not having Nuclear weapons thanks to Operation Opera?

SJE October 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Thanks. I can handle the criticism, but the stupidity is worrying.

Jacob October 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

So, are tiltrotors looking likely to replace helicopters in the distant future? Or are they simply going to be used for niche roles like search and rescue where you have to get somewhere and get there fast?

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blight_ October 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Hard to say. Once tiltrotors get a foot in the door, more design work may eventually attenuate the weaknesses of the design.

Look at the first helicopters, and compare them to the vehicles we have today.

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Tim October 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm

And one must hope those rescued are on a concrete pad so the V-22 can safely land. Does anyone know they built concrete pads in the NTA on Okinawa for the V-22s so they wouldn't set the area ablaze or sink in the mud.

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JCross October 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Unsure, several tiltrotor designs are still on the drawing board. However, there has been a huge surge in compound helicopters, and JMR is going to be huge here. JMR is turning into a competition between tiltrotors and compounds, with 2 of each type in development.

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moondawg October 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Osprey is a fixed wing aircraft. The AF does not want the Army flying effective fixed wing aircraft. They get jealous. The Mohawk comes to mind.

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FormerDirtDart October 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

The Air Force never took the OV-1 Mohawk from the Army or Army National Guard. It was finally retired in 1996. 36 years in service seems pretty good.

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majr0d October 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Ok, the C27J, the CV2 Caribou are both examples of Army fixed wing aircraft the Air Force eventually took control of and promptly discarded keepingthem out of Army hands.

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FormerDirtDart October 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

And, the C-23 Sherpa is an example of a fixed wing aircraft that the Air Force transferred to the Army

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majr0d October 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

Yes the USAF gave the Army a whopping six Sherpas and then the Army procured over five times that number on its own for a total of 43 planes that are at about the end of their service life..

You really aren't going to try to make the case that the Air Force hasn't been obstructionist?

Do I REALLY need to remind you of the whole O1 Bird dog controversy of Vietnam? Arming the Bird Dog caused a whining session which was repeated over the Mohawk . The Army also had to supplement USAF FACs with Bird Dogs because the Air Force bought no where near enough to support the CAS mission. As well as why the Army gave up the Caribou? It would be a simple cut and paste from our discussion on DoD Buzz..

Hookpilot October 21, 2013 at 6:10 am

No, think Caribou C7 and A-10

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jamesb October 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Amen moondawg……

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John October 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

…Back on the subject of the V-22 Osprey, so this thing is already maintenance intensive two years into it what's it going to be like 5 or 10 years from now?
What's the mission capable rate going to be in 2023?

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Peter October 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Israel is your greatest ally in the region. Israel has treated it's Muslim neighbours far better than they treated it. Your other ally in the region is Saudi Arabia. Just compare they're human rights record, theyre "The US must do something" attitude and ask who should get support from the US. As I'm from the UK I constantly wonder that with all the defence hardware that we, and you, have sold to Saudi why do they never actaully do anything?

Ah, that's all badly worded but I do get a bit sick of some the anti-Israeli comments on here. You support your allies. Full stop. That's what you do.

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hibeam October 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Can you build a version without the vertical take off and landing feature? — The Army

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blight_ October 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Air Force: "Can't have this"

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majr0d October 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Would not surprise me if this became the new C27J fiasco as the Air Force meddles with the Army doing anything in the air.

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Acerbic_Critic October 24, 2013 at 4:37 am

They'd mess with the Marines and Navy too but they're afraid of what their "pretty" uniforms would look like after a tail hook landing on a floating speck in the ocean…if the Bingo Brigade could find it that is. –Signed The Truth

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Bob Danley October 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Having been a UH-1H crewchief in the Army (and a powerplant mech on the A-6 and E-2 in the Navy) I have wondered about the maintenance and cost of same on the V-22. There are a lot more moving parts on that aircraft than there are on a helicopter. Also the Army tends to see things differently than the other services. The mind set being that if the mission is short range and tactical you need a helicopter and the Army has plenty (the Army see's itself as the "helicopter experts" in the U.S. military), if the mission is long range you need a C-130 or C-17 and the Air Force has plenty.

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ajerusalem October 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Though it isn't ideal, you have to wonder if the Joint Multi Role program is really going to come through. Compared to the Army's track record of developing new rotorcraft, the V-22 is pretty proven. If we developed the V22 into a multi-role rotorcraft with some Hind-like capabilities (underbelly gun turret, side mounted cannon or rocket pods, harvest hawk like modular payloads) and spent the money we would spend on JMR on it and the S97, I have a hard time seeing how that would not be a very capable and relatively cost effective rotorcraft fleet for the forseeable future.

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majr0d October 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

"Compared to the Army's track record of developing new rotorcraft, the V-22 is pretty proven."

You do realize that all but one helicopter in operation today in US service started out as an Army program? The Army's "record" includes the Huey, Cobra, Cayuse/Little Bird, Kiowa, Chinook, Apache and Blackhawk. WHO has a better record?

The V22 is a great program. The V280 is fundamentally different and in many ways (size, ability to load/unload from both sides, simpler tilt "rotor" vs tilt "engine") promises improvements in tilt rotor technology. Don't be so sure that pouring money into an existing program is going to push the envelope as much as taking lessons learned and starting a new.

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ajerusalem October 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

sorry I should have stipulated. Yes it has a good overall track record. Recently, however, not so much. I guess I'd rather see new development dollars go toward developing a jump forward in vertical heavy lift. I hope the V280 pans out, but it better be a lot better to justify the new program costs over modifying the Osprey for the role and devoting those resources elsewhere.

I get that the V22 is probably too expensive per unit for the army's needs. But on the other end of a failed JMR program, those dollars going into ospreys wouldn't look bad.

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wtpworrier October 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I hope the Army never buy this thing, I don't think it's been properly….tested, and it's too dangerous.

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tiger October 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Sorry, but that is flat out BS. The Program dates from the mid 1970's & the vx-15.

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humantorch October 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Last I heard when they deployed these things to the wars they had heavy restrictions on the missions they could perform, so they were not combat tested to the fullest. Prototype testing is not the same as production testing. It has not been in production that long. Reports is it can't carry as much as originally intended. It was kept alive by corrupt politicians who had a stake in their production. How many bullet holes have they suffered? How hard or easy is it to repair the battle damage in relation to the carbon fiber skin and structures? How hard is it to fly in brownout conditions like pictured? Lots of questions I have not seen the answers to.

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blight_ October 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Tilt-engine and tiltrotor craft have been tested on and off since the '60s and '70s. The Osprey has been fiddled with since the late 80's and 90's. It's gone through pretty stupendous testing, and was probably pushed too fast through its paces to appease critics. But we paid in dollars and blood, and the final product is probably not that bad, though is mostly unarmed (like the first helicopters, mind you!)

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Alan October 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

The V-22 was an Army program, and the Army reconfirmed that tiltrotors don't work, as explained here: http://www.g2mil.com/tiltrotors.htm

Tiltrotors are a failed concept because they are only half as efficient as a helicopter and also half as efficient as an airplane. They do not have the payload or range of a similar-sized helicopter or an airplane

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William_C1 October 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Reads like a crazy guy wrote it. "Bell and Boeing discovered tilt-rotors are a bad idea in the 1980s", so they kept pursuing it? And Agusta-Westland has been working on their own tilt-rotor (AW609) for the civil market because its a bad idea? No mention of the successful XV-15 either.

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Tim October 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Bell and Boeing discovered that tiltrotors are a profitable idea, so they kept pursing it. Sponsoring corrupt officers like Amos, who they promoted to CMC.

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Tim October 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Who is flying the XV-15 or the Augsta- West tiltrotor today? No one.

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blight_ October 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Tiltrotor: XV-3, XV-15 -> V-22

Tilt-wing: VZ-2, X-18, XC-142, CL-84

Tiltjet: Bell 65

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Charles James Haas October 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Shhh, just don't tell any of the US Army guys that were transported by V-22s in Iraq. And the Marines seem to be just fine with them.

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Perry October 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm

No airline has expressed interest in the V-22, and Boeing didn't try to sell them after it failed an FAA safety review. Bell dumped its civilian tiltrotor program on the Italians. After two decades, they've been unable to sucker anyone to buy them. A few months ago, Hagel went to Israel and demanded they devote some of their US military aid credits to buy some V-22s, which they have resisted. It seems they bribed the sheiks in the UAE to buy some toys. But no serious military wants this junk. Just look up H-60 and H-47 and see dozens of foreign buyers. Having three Marine V-22s destroyed in accidents this year hasn't helped.

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tiger October 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

The loss record of the H-60 &47 out number the V-22 by far. Sales of the AW-609 are on hold till certification. Many cutting edge planes face issues.

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Tim October 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm

on hold for a decade, but only for VIP use, a lower standard. Won't even try to commercial cert. Tiltrotors have been in development for 50 years, yet you see none at you local airport.

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Acerbic_Critic October 24, 2013 at 5:01 am

You're going to compare pure loss numbers when there are so many more helos in use.. Have you even taken a stats class? (That's statistics. You may want to look into it.) Research is mixed at best, and that's being merciful and giving every benefit of the doubt to your V 22. Some of the issues of the early 00's have been addressed but not all. At least a helo has a chance to land in auto rotation if a rotor is hit though it admittedly takes some skill. I know that much from experience as a flight nurse…near death experience notwithstanding. I'm damned glad I wasn't in a V 22 that night. I may be former Army now, but I still want what's best for those who continue to serve.

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Charles James Haas October 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Like everything else, technology needs to be updated or it will become useless. The V=22 cocept will likely be improved over time to make it better as it goes along. The V-280 might be that answer. I would suggest that the Army get its feet wet and buy a brigade or two of the V-22s, and apply them to fill the missions that can't be done with other aircraft.

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S O October 21, 2013 at 1:47 am

Bullocks. Even as of today you can still move supplies with mules. Far from useless.
Logistics-related technologies don't become useless over time. They become at most less efficient than successor technologies.

There's not a strong case for the MV-22 being a more efficient means of transport than 1980's helicopters, though.

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Jenny October 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

Golly, just a few more years to perfect tiltrotors:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTV_XC-142

In 1959 the United States Army, Navy and Air Force began work on the development of a prototype V/STOL aircraft that could augment helicopters in transport-type missions. Specifically they were interested in designs with longer range and higher speeds than existing helicopters, in order to support operations over longer distances, or in the case of the United States Marine Corps, from further offshore. On 27 January 1961, a series of DOD actions resulted in an agreement where all of the military arms would work on such a project under the overall leadership of the Navy's Bureau of Naval Weapons (BuWeps), the Tri-Service Assault Transport Program.

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Tim October 21, 2013 at 12:16 am

continued:
During testing the aircraft's cross-linked drive shaft proved to be its Achilles heel. The shaft resulted in excessive vibration and noise, resulting in a high pilot workload. Additionally, it proved susceptible to problems due to wing flexing. Shaft problems, along with operator errors, resulted in a number of hard landings causing damage. One crash occurred as a result of a failure of the drive shaft to the tail rotor, causing three fatalities. One of the limitations found in the aircraft was an instability between wing angles of 35 and 80 degrees, encountered at extremely low altitudes. There were also high side forces which resulted from yaw and weak propeller blade pitch angle controls.

Think about it. Your rotors are at max power, but their downwash is pounding your wings. And your engine exhaust is pointed downward, setting grass fires, warping steel decks, melting asphalt, and burning ground crews.

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Guest October 21, 2013 at 9:47 am

…and one well placed bullet turns the whole thing into a piece of junk—a burning wreck which no one aboard would survive. Recall that we lost over 5,000 Hueys in Vietnam.

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C. Powell October 21, 2013 at 7:07 am

Lord I hope the Army doesn't buy it. Should have been named the V-22 Albatross.

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hibeam October 21, 2013 at 9:16 am

The Army will not be allowed to buy these. That will free up money for free phones.

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Vsshooter October 21, 2013 at 9:28 am

The Army needs to take over the A-10 Warthog since the Air Force wants to get out of the close air support roll.

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Onejetjock October 21, 2013 at 9:47 am
ColdWarVet75 October 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

Being a former Marine, I can say this. It seems the Marines take the "we can do everything with nothing" to the extreme. The Corps is the only branch to not use the H-60, but instead uses the UH-1. They are retiring the CH-46 and still use the AH-1 instead of the Apache. It costs big bucks to train mechanics for multiple copters. I know an issue is size when it comes to ships, but the Navy use the Blackhawk as does the Coast Guard. This is where you need a hard corporate CEO to be SecDef who can make tough cuts and set the JCOS on the narrow road instead of caving to each branche's petty wish list.

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Bill Alves October 21, 2013 at 11:04 am

What a piece of junk. The Army would have to be crazy to buy that junk. As far as
Isarel goes, there not buying anything — we are giving it to them for nothing. As far
as the Marine Corp goes maybe it's time to mothball the whole Marin Corp. We have
a professional Army – It's time to get rid of the Marine Corp and save lots of bucks.
The Marines have a proud history but like Truman said, "They have a Publicity Machine
that is better than Hollywood". Reduce the Marine Corp by 80 or 90 percent active
duty and have a strong cadre of Reserve. During times of crisis the Reserves can
be recalled and train new Marine replacements. Sorry I got off on the wrong tract
here – but I simply don't trust any Marine Colonel telling me the Osprey is a good
aircraft.

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

As the services cut back, it's probably the Marines may need to move more functions over to the Navy, and have those functions count as Navy end-strength rather than out of Marine totals. The Navy will probably have surplus personnel soon, and this gives them a little wiggle room to shed without leading to net reductions in manpower.

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orly? October 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm

True, they have been steadily been reintroducing infantry skills to Navy personnel for quite awhile now.

Sounds quite feasible.

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TonyC. October 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

V-22 was a purpose built airframe for the US Marines. It does what THEY want it to do and it does THAT well. I doubt the V-22 can be a serious contender to replace the utility airframes in the US Army. I think the US Army needs to field a large number of cheaper airframes due to the cost of battle losses and needs in the theater. More helicopters will be their requirement.

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

While procured for the Marines, it is not quite tailor-made. Its initial design was modified to enable it to fold rotors: the rotors are not optimally sized because of this tradeoff. This would affect Navy/Marine versions.

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Vexorg October 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

If you want to see a history of Army Aviation fraud, waste, and abuse…just stop on by the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama. So many rotary wing aircraft and the first tilt wing aircraft that failed the various test stages. One has to wonder WHO got kickbacks and bribes for the multitude of programs…at the cost of trained aviators and soldiers that these designs were supposed to support.

One has to ponder WHY we need to have different aircraft for each branch of service, when there have been aircraft that fit the needs of ALL the branches of services mission profiles. I can understand why the Navy/Marine Corps need a different designed fixed wing aircraft, due to the stress of carrier landings vs. fixed base landings for the Air Force. But, as far as rotary wing goes, it appears the Blackhawk UH-60 is a fine multiservice/multi mission helicopter that fits the bill. IF the services could get with manufacturers for an all purpose aircraft, either fixed/rotary/tilt wing, the savings in the logistical chain of support would benefit not only the services, but the taxpayers as well.

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tiger October 22, 2013 at 7:32 am

So tech advances stop at 1950? We should all drive Packards, watch B&W tv's & I need a phone operator to plug in a wire?

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Lance October 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Don't see the need for the Army to have V-22s. The army unlike the USMC doesn't do much distance flying and flying from ships. Most is small utility ops and or troop deployment so high speed or long range isn't a factor for most Army missions. Think the author has a love affaire with the Osprey and wish every one would love it. Its not meant for every service and to do away from helicopters completely.

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ChrisB October 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm
donald roberts October 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

While the Osprey is an expensive project, I see the potential for it to return several times its cost in sales to other countries. Sales to any one of those countries could equal the $70,000,000 spent on building it.

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Tim October 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

The V-22 first flew in 1989. NONE have been sold to other countries or any airline. No one else is building tiltrotors. They are failed technology, only useful for generating profits for insiders.

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MLee Baker October 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

It's simply a numbers game in the end. Army Aviation OPTEMPO and operating environment doesn't lend itself I think to the V-22. I haven't seen any reports on how the Osprey does on Nap of the Earth or Terrain flight. Also, like it or not, the Army because of it's operating environment takes a good deal of loss of aircraft. Witness Vietnam, UH-1 losses ALONE numbered around 3,000 airframes. So what they need are lots of easy to maintain, proven models that are relatively cheap to procure and maintain. In the end, the Comanche just didn't seem to fit that criteria, and didn't have enough added value to continue, was overbudget and timeline and didn't have much of a niche after the Soviet Union collapsed to justify it. They could have continued and made a few airframes that would sit out there and probably never really be used (like the F-22). Killing it also freed up a LOT of money that was needed elsewhere, and wasn't a total loss as their was technological gains that have been/will be used in the future.

So in the end, overall, the Army just doesn't have much of a use for the V-22.

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bum291 October 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

Army should stick to the newest version of the Blackhawk and wait another 10 years at least before looking at tiltrotors…

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rudyh60 October 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

V-22= Archaic junk techno……go with the VJ-101 or Dornier Do31 protos…they actually functioned WITHOUT obsolete rotor technology….Army had this one right. The politicos ditched the aforementioned protos in the last century for whatever reason….

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@LondonTiger January 12, 2014 at 9:54 am

the v22 is useful for combat situations where the supply lines are stretched and surrounding populations are hostile so runways cannot be built. I suppose they're useful as transport vehicles to move marines from a sea vessle inland quickly. They can't transport armour like a chinook so a bit of a strange vehicle. It's supposedly perfectly suited for missions like Iraq but the commanders don't seem to agree.

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Zspoiler March 22, 2014 at 12:45 am

The Army would probably go with a second generation V-22 type..Something that is lighter.with more speed.The Marines are aiming for a full V/stovl force ,that will able handle Shipboard life and forward airfields as well. And to move inland from the beach we have the LCAC ,and CH-53Es to move the heavier stuff.

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greyghost May 26, 2014 at 10:36 pm

The Army should look at the old rotodyne gyrocopter. Maybe a lot cheaper and less maintenance intensive maybe add something like the ah-56 to keep up with it.

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Joe October 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

You are 100% right; if Israel didn't exist there would be world peace and we would all be dancing with fairies in the Garden of Eden.

But blimey, a country the size of New Jersey with a population of 0.001% of the world is the cause that there is no "world peace".

And you call me biased?

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Ziv October 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Gundor, it is only fair to mention that Israel is home to a voter profile that is 20% muslim. They haven't driven the muslims out, they haven't burned their mosques, the Israelis have created a nation in which muslims are a significant portion thereof. And how have the neighbors of Israel treated the jewish people in the arabic states? Do you really want to compare Israel's justice with the "compasssion" of the Muslim Brotherhood or the "fair play" of the Baathists? Do you want to compare how the ayatollah treated outsiders to the way Israel reacted to hundreds of acts of war when Lebanon and Egypt both allowed rockets to launch from their territories and to fall on Israel? Gundor, do you actually believe that quoting a racist piece of crap, regardless of his pay scale, from France actually makes your point? If you are agreeing with the racist losers, what are you?

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Joe October 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I'm trying to understand your logic: So we have Germany that receives around $8 billion (not including original equipment costs) of U.S. protection a year; a good portion of which is spent inside Germany on support and upkeep costs; yet somehow Germany is paying for this?

Whereas with Israel, 72% of the money must be spent inside the U.S. on U.S. equipment (and jobs).

And seriously, "false flag incidents between U.S. and Iran by Israel"…. is this supposed to be a serious statement? What, did Israel instead of Iran supply the weapons to the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan or something?

P.S. – The costs for Germany are just the yearly upkeep. They do not include the original equipment cost and personnel training costs as well as a host of other expenses; so the real cost is far above the ~$8 billion a year.

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Joe October 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

If you are promoting an isolationist stance, then fine.

I'm just tired of people singling out Israel as if it is the only (or the biggest) foreign drain on the U.S., when in fact it is pretty much down the list.

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orly? October 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Israel also beat back a two prong invasion caught with their pants down, didn't slaughter the Muslim populace, and keep tougher gun laws than the USA comparable to a "Police state."

One can only wonder which side the critics are.

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Joe October 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Germany is paying just 1.4% of their GDP towards defense, which is below the 2% minimum required by NATO.

So yes, the U.S. is protecting Germany for all intents and purposes.

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majr0d October 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I don't think isolationism is a good thing. Seems we had a little dust up called WWII last time…

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Joe October 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

The U.S.S. Liberty is an open and shut case. It was a ship that was declared not to be in the area while an Egyptian vessel was reported to be there. There is no need for a conspiracy for such an incident, just look at how many friendly fire incidents there are between the U.S. and Brits that are using the same battlefield information and channels no less.

The same reason that the U.S. spies in Israel get a pass; like Yosef Amit.

Furthermore, there has never been a shred of evidence that the Lavi (an entirely Israeli designed plane) had any of its technical details sent to the Chinese. The J-10 was merely built on the foundation of the J-9.

And where the hell is this nonsense of "Patriot radar technology" coming from now? That's a new one (and a new low) on the conspiracy list.

I'm sorry, but you are viewing the region through tin-foil glasses.

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S O October 21, 2013 at 1:43 am

There is no such requirement in the North Atlantic Treaty and Germany is a sovereign nation. It can spend as much as it likes.

And those bases are not relevant to German national security.

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Rest Pal October 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Joe, Germany doesn't have the kind of powerful lobby on Capitol Hill like Israel does. The US has been constantly involved in war crimes and cover-ups in the Middle East mainly, if not exclusively, due to the the pro-Israel lobby and the mainstream media (i.e. propaganda apparatus) under their control.

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

We aren't quite to the death camp/labor camp part yet, but the occupied zones is very much like, yet-unlike ghettoization (and if anything, probably has more in common with the original Madagascar plan, while was exile, not extermination).

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

Anti-semitic, pro gun?

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PolicyWonk October 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Indeed, Israel has been busted a number of times over the past few years in false flagging incidents intended to provoke a military incident between Iran and the United States, because neither our incumbent POTUS (nor the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, amongst many others) are at all interested in staring another war in the middle east.

Israeli PM Netanyahu had the Mossad hard at work attempting to provoke such an incident because Obama refused to cave into Netanyahu's demands. That is, until his party got creamed in the last Israeli elections, and he had to ally himself with majority parties in Israel who are also opposed to starting another war.

My previous point, had nothing to do with our maintaining bases in Germany, and paying Germany for the privilege (you might've noticed that the US military pours money into most areas where they have bases). The Germans at this point are more than capable of protecting themselves.

The point, what that when Germany buys weapons from the USA, its not at the expense of the US taxpayer.

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PolicyWonk October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Oh yes – w/r/t your comment about Iran supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq: there are trade routes that have been between Iran and Iraq for thousands of years, and weapons are readily available for anyone who has cash. Anyone who thought for even a second that would stop merely because we stupidly invaded Iraq is/was hallucinating.

Besides, the insurgents didn't need to buy much: we invaded with so few troops that there weren't enough to guard the millions of tons of ordnance sitting in ammo dumps all over Iraq after (or during) the invasion. By the time the mercenaries were sent in to guard the ammo dumps (that following *December*), they arrived to find the ammo dumps *EMPTY*.

Hence – by far – the largest cost in American lives and the insurgency itself was caused by the fact that our incompetent political leadership failed to plan for the aftermath, and failed miserably by not allocating enough troops to secure the country (or the ammo dumps). Hence – the insurgents had PLENTY of resources and/or weapons.

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

In the vertical, the engine pods present a massive deadspace (and are also in a vulnerable outboard position). In the horizontal position, aiming forward and to the sides (1-2 o' clock or 10-11 o'clock) and shooting through the propeller blades represents a high-risk proposition. WW1 synchronizers worked because engineers could adjust RPM of the engine, holding constant the position, orientation and dead-space between the muzzle and the propeller blades and the muzzle velocity of a projectile, and could calibrate shot-timing and shots-per-minute accordingly. If engine RPM varies, adjust RPM. With a very fuzzy idea of the dead-space between the gun and the blades (a function of incident angle of the gun to the propeller blades), shooting through the blades is not something you can compensate for easily.

That said, putting fixed guns in the wings and using a synchronizer to shoot propeller blades when engines are horizontal would be fun…but would require considerable engineering work, and more billable hours by Bell Textron.

The Osprey eventually did get weapons beyond tail-ramp weapons, but those are often not carried.

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Joe October 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Good to see that you know better than the guys doing the intelligence work:

General John Keegan, a former chief of US Air Force Intelligence determined that Israel's contribution to US intelligence was "equal to five CIAs."Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and former Chairman of the Intelligence Committee said "The intelligence received from Israel exceeds the intelligence received from all NATO countries combined."

As for the rest of your post…. you need help.

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blight_ October 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Indeed. I wonder how they "allowed" WW2 era bombers to have so many gun blister pods and not fear heavy losses from gunners shooting their own engines.

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Bradford October 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

…YEAH, but Iraq *would*have*had* WMD’s, if Bush-puppet Jr. hadn’t gone BACK in, in 2003, and NOT found them there, just like Cheney said…
Too bad the first Israeli astronaut couldn’t pick a better school than the TEXAS Campus of Columbia to make such a great second impression in…

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Curt October 22, 2013 at 2:25 am

Since the military aid is spelled out in the Egypt-Israeli peace treaty, a duly passed foreign treaty approved by the Senate, it is technically the supreme law of the land. So it trumps any other laws passed, so it is not illegal. Kind of like the similar military aid to Egypt is also not illegal. Constitution 101.

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tiger October 22, 2013 at 7:37 am
Joe October 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Acerbic_Critic October 24, 2013 at 4:27 am

Obviously…and yes, it most certainly is. *Koolaid for everyone!*

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