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[*] posted on 25-6-2019 at 02:17 PM

Improving CV-22 Readiness Becomes Top SOF Priority

6/20/2019​––Rachel S. Cohen

The Air Force's program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations forces said boosting CV-22 readiness is one of his top priorities. Air Force photo by TSgt. Chrissy Best.

DAYTON, Ohio—Air Force Special Operations Command’s CV-22 fleet is raising alarm amid low readiness levels and combat availability concerns as it heads into multiple years of upgrades.

“CV-22 readiness keeps me up at night,” Col. Dale White, the Air Force’s program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations forces, said in a June 19 interview here. “It's not what it needs to be. It's a tough platform to maintain.”

The high-demand, rough nature of special operations, and the stress that tilting the iconic nacelles—the giant columns that hold the rotors and allow the platform to take off vertically, then pivot to fly forward—puts on the aircraft and its wiring system are driving down the Osprey’s ability to enter combat.

White declined to provide current CV-22 readiness figures.

However, that number reportedly hovers around 50 percent for the Defense Department’s Ospreys, although the Marine Corps is making some progress to boost the number, according to Rotor and Wing.

The speedy tiltrotor platform flies long-range infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply missions for special operations forces. DOD plans to buy more than 450 V-22s and its variants, with the Marine Corps owning the vast majority.

The Air Force’s fleet of about 50 Bell-Boeing Ospreys is young—AFSOC received its first operational CV-22 in 2007—and the service is still learning the ins and outs of keeping it aloft. White said working with industry to improve the platform and keep it ready for a fight is one of his top priorities.

“We're working with AFSOC on some different ideas, what I call bold initiatives, bold movements, to try to figure out how we can do that,” he said. “We have many things in play. The challenge is, when you have a platform like that that is struggling, and we're going through a modernization process to help some of those issues that are kind of the catalyst to that struggle, you're taking those platforms out of play to do the mod, right, so now your availability goes down even further.”

The Air Force is replacing the nacelles and wiring onboard the aircraft, as well as streamlining its various configurations to make maintenance less complicated. It’s not necessarily that the parts are broken, just that there’s more to learn, White said.

“I think that we’ve charted out a path to do that, but it’s going to take time,” he said of restoring readiness through upgrades. “I would probably say within the next three to four years, we’ll get it to where it needs to be. But at the same time, we’re still making incremental improvements. For example, some of the wiring replacement—that’s going to be a bridge that’s going to help us address the near-term challenges.”

Nacelle replacements in collaboration with the other services will take a few years. AFSOC will rotate Ospreys in for groups of modifications a few at a time to limit the ripple effects on the small fleet’s combat availability.

White added the Air Force benefits from the Marine Corps’ longer experience with Ospreys, which has helped alert AFSOC to potential problems, and from piggybacking off of a shared system program office. Still, he said the Air Force can hit roadblocks when working through the Navy-run supply chain.

Raytheon recently announced a partnership with the V-22 JPO to launch new artificial-intelligence technology to predict looming Osprey radar issues. The idea began as a pilot program in 2018 and is now being tested with the intent of boosting CV-22 readiness starting in 2020.
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[*] posted on 25-6-2019 at 02:30 PM

Despite massive shows of air power, nearly 40 percent of Marine Ospreys are not mission capable

By: Shawn Snow   7 hours ago

Twenty six MV-22B Ospreys and 14 CH-53E Super Stallions with Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, line up as part of the mass flight at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 6. (Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya/Marine Corps)

In mid-June, the Corps put on a stunning display of air power when dozens of MV-22 Ospreys and CH-53s elephant walked in a tight formation the Miramar, California, air station runway as they took off in a mass flight.

Less than a week later, tilt-rotors and heavy lift helicopters aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, carried Marines into one of the Corps’ largest air assault exercises in a decade.

But as the Marine Corps flexes its airlift muscles, hiding in the background are a large number of Marine Ospreys that are not mission capable due to maintenance issues and staffing shortages, according to military officials.

The MV-22 Osprey has a dismal mission capable rate hovering near 60 percent, according to data from the Marine Corps.

Corps officials say that mission capable rate is an increase from the low 50 percent levels maintained throughout fiscal year 2018.

The numbers are troubling as the Osprey is vital to how the Corps fights and moves Marines around the battlefield. The aircraft also is instrumental in humanitarian disaster relief.

Marine spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison told Marine Corps Times that the Osprey is the Corps’ “most in-demand and deployed aircraft,” and that at “any given moment, five to seven” MV-22 squadrons are forward-deployed.

The Corps’ 2019 aviation plan noted that Marine officials were aware of “personnel deficits” and shortfalls in “qualifications and experience” at its Osprey squadrons.

Continued growth in the MV-22 Osprey program compounds the issue, as the Corps only has one initial training squadron charged with training Osprey pilots, maintainers and aircrew.

That squadron is Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204, or VMMT-204, based out the New River, North Carolina, air station. The Corps says it is looking at increasing capacity at the training squadron to pop out more aircrew members.

Harrison explained that the MV-22 community “is still in transition,” and that the 17th active MV-22 squadron just reached initial operating capability this spring — with another Osprey squadron on deck to stand up in 2021.

“Maintaining high readiness with the Osprey (or any modern aircraft, for that matter) is complex,” Harrison said in an emailed statement.

But the Corps has a plan to tackle the readiness issue. That plan is hinged on addressing manpower issues and modernizing older model Ospreys. The program is called the V-22 Readiness Program, Harrison said.

The Osprey readiness program “takes a holistic approach to readiness recovery by providing contract maintenance support, increased engineering support, and improved training for our maintainers and increased component supply depth and breadth,” Harrison explained.

But the current manning numbers for maintainers and air crew across the Osprey community do not appear dire.

According to data obtained by Marine Corps Times through a government records request, avionics, maintainers and crew chiefs are manned between 83 percent and 94 percent.

Tilt-rotor mechanics are overmanned slightly at 105 percent, while Osprey pilots are staffed at only 69 percent. This data is current as of February.

The personnel numbers appear relatively healthy, but continued growth in the community could stretch that talent pool and put stresses on the school house.

The Corps also is looking at upgrading its older Block B MV-22s to the Block C configuration, Harrison said.

According to Boeing, Block C variants have an upgraded weather radar that aids in navigating in inclement weather conditions, an improved electronic warfare system and enhanced displays in the cockpit that afford better situational awareness.

Boeing delivered its first Block C MV-22 to the Corps in 2012, according to a release on Boeing’s website.

Harrison told Marine Corps Times that upgrading the MV-22s to the C variant will streamline maintenance issues and improve overall readiness for the Corps’ fleet of tilt-rotors.

Marines with the ground combat element and the aviation combat element, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin conduct an aerial insert via an MV-22 Osprey during Exercise Southern Jackaroo, Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia, May 25. (Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilbert/Marine Corps)

Harrison cited a couple of examples of where the Block C variant is already boosting readiness.

According to Harrison, Marine Helicopter Squadron One and VMAT-204 both have common Block C configurations and “regularly report” 80 percent mission capable rates. Marine Helicopter Squadron One is charged with transporting the president and other important officials.

The effort to upgrade B variants to Block C is known as the Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernization, or CC-RAM initiative, Harrison explained.

In January 2018, the Defense Department announced it had awarded Bell-Boeing a nearly $69 million contract to upgrade three Block B MV-22 aircraft to Block C.

“The modified aircraft will have the readiness enhancements the Block Cs have benefited from while providing the fleet with a common configuration to streamline maintenance and sustainment,” Harrison said.

The Corps is also looking to improve the nacelle, which is the engine housing, with improved wiring harnesses. Harrison said the new wiring will make the “nacelle more maintainer friendly.”

“We believe we’ll see an additive positive effect on readiness by introducing more reliable systems, streamlined procedures, and improved maintainability,” Harrison explained.
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[*] posted on 15-8-2019 at 09:07 AM

NAVAIR contracts BAE Systems to integrate CV-22 HMD with Forward Defensive Weapon System

Richard Scott, London - Jane's Navy International

14 August 2019

BAE Systems Controls has been contracted by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for the software development associated with the integration of Defensive Weapon System (DWS) enhancements with the CV-22 tiltrotor helmet-mounted display (HMD).

The DWS, which is also known as AN/AWG-35(V), is a belly-mounted GAU-17 7.62 mm machine gun that provides the CV-22 with a mission-configurable, crew-served, night vision-compatible weapon system. Under a USD1.9 million delivery order awarded by the NAVAIR’s Program Executive Office Air Assault and Special Mission Programs (A), V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275) on 25 July, BAE Systems will perform non-recurring engineering for software development to integrate DWS enhancements with the colour helmet-mounted display (CHMD) to control the gun system of the CV-22 aircraft.

(141 of 289 words)
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[*] posted on 15-8-2019 at 03:06 PM

Tiltrotor Test Rig Breaks New Ground

By Wally Acree
NASA Ames Research Center (Retired)

From Vertiflite July/August 2019

The TTR in the NFAC 40- by 80-ft test section. In this photo, the TTR is oriented 45 degrees to the flow. Microphone stands for acoustics measurements are visible at the lower right. (All photos by NASA)

NASA Ames Research Center has a long history of testing large-scale proprotors in the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC). The XV-15 was tested in the 1970s, both as an isolated rotor and as a full aircraft, and the JVX rotor (2/3-scale predecessor to the V-22) was tested in the 1980s through 1991. NASA needed a new, more capable facility for testing 21st-century proprotors. The Tiltrotor Test Rig (TTR) amply fulfills that need. In November, the testing achieved a maximum airspeed of 273 kt (506 kt) — the current NFAC facility limit. This is the highest airspeed ever achieved by a full-scale proprotor in any wind tunnel.

The TTR began as a collaborative effort between NASA and the US Army as part of the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) program. Sizing studies were initiated in 2007, resulting in a NASA contract to Bell and Triumph Aerospace Systems Newport News (now Calspan Corporation) to design and manufacture the TTR and supporting equipment. The Army and Air Force contributed funding and support.

TTR Description

The TTR configured for spinner tare measurements, without the rotor. The multiple-exposure photo shows the full range of conversion mode angles.

The TTR is designed to test advanced proprotors up to 26 ft (7.9 m) in diameter at speeds up to 300 kt (555 km/h). This combination of size and speed is unprecedented and is necessary for research into 21st-century tiltrotors and other advanced rotorcraft concepts. Even larger rotors can be tested at lower speeds, depending on the NFAC configuration. TTR provides critical data for validation of state-of-the-art design and analysis tools. The TTR is a horizontal axis rig that rotates on the test-section turntable to face the rotor into the wind at high speed (300 kt), fly edgewise at low speed (150 kt or 278 km/h), or at any angle in between. The turntable angle in the wind tunnel is equivalent to what the nacelle angle in flight would be. The TTR can also be rotated 180 degrees to face the rotor backwards.

The TTR has four electric motors capable of 5,000 hp (3,730 kW) total. The gearbox was designed for higher power — up to 6,000 hp (4,475 kW) — should that be needed for future rotors. The TTR has an all-electric control system, with dual-redundant actuators and control consoles.

For maximum accuracy, rotor forces are measured by a dedicated balance installed between the gearbox and the rotor. Rotor torque is measured by an instrumented drive shaft. All data were acquired by the NFAC data system, typically at 256 points per rotor revolution, but 2,048 points per revolution for acoustics data.

The NFAC crew performing a routine inspection of the TTR. The large boxes are electronics cabinets and the four striped cylinders are the drive motors.

The TTR can accommodate a variety of rotors. A 26-ft (7.9 m) diameter research rotor (shown in the figure) was installed for the first test. The rotor was built specifically for NASA by Bell, derived from the right-hand rotor of the (now) Leonardo AW609 and equipped with additional instrumentation and other modifications for wind-tunnel testing. The unique wind-tunnel version of the rotor is designated Bell Model 699.

A critical requirement of the TTR is to measure rotor performance and loads more accurately than can be done in flight. To ensure accuracy, testing began even before the NFAC entry when the entire TTR was calibrated in a purpose-built calibration rig. The rotor was replaced by metric hardware (the black cross in the photo) so that flight loads could be simulated with hydraulic actuators. Deflections under load, although extremely small, were nevertheless important at high simulated thrust and torque. Photogrammetry techniques were used to measure any such deflections without physically contacting the measurement hardware.

Testing Summary

The first wind-tunnel entry was intended as a functional checkout, but proved so successful that the resulting research data extended far beyond any previous large-scale proprotor test. All testing was done in the 40- by 80-ft (12- by 24-m) test section of the NFAC. As mentioned above, the TTR reached 273 kt (505 km/h) in axial flow, which duplicated tiltrotor airplane mode, although the best-quality performance data were taken at 61–264 kt (113–489 km/h). Comprehensive high-speed data were taken at two different rotor tip speeds, 775 ft/s and 651 ft/s (236 m/s and 198 m/s), equivalent to helicopter and airplane mode operation. The actual aircraft cannot be flown at those rotor speeds over the full range of airspeeds tested in the NFAC. Even as a checkout test, the TTR entry demonstrated the utility of wind tunnel testing for providing full-scale data under conditions not safely achievable in flight. Maximum airspeed was limited by load limits on the NFAC, not the rotor or TTR, so even higher airspeeds should be capable with upgrades to the NFAC, including adding fairings to the support struts.

The rotor was also tested in near-hover conditions with the NFAC fan drives turned off. For the TTR entry, the NFAC was configured as a closed-circuit tunnel. In that configuration, the downwash from the rotor in hover continued around the circuit, thereby simulating vertical climb conditions at the rotor. The TTR was tested with several different settings of wind tunnel vents, louvers, and guide vanes, and with the rotor oriented both upstream and downstream, to evaluate the effects of the wind tunnel on rotor performance at low vertical climb speeds.

In addition to vertical climb and high-speed airplane mode, the rotor was tested at 29 combinations of airspeed and turntable angle, which simulated the full range of the aircraft conversion envelope. Yet more data were taken at low speed and very fine increments of turntable angle to provide detailed acoustics data.

The rotor has a large spinner that generates aerodynamic loads quite different from a helicopter rotor hub. The resulting aerodynamic tare loads were measured by testing the TTR with the rotor removed, as shown in the photograph. The multiple-exposure photo also shows the rotation of the TTR on the wind tunnel turntable. Testing without a rotor is much easier and faster than with a rotor, so a small amount of testing yielded a lot of spinner tare data. Additional data included motor tests, thermal tests, modal vibration tests and other checkout activities.


In total, the first wind-tunnel test of the TTR included more than 1,550 rotor data points, over 550 spinner tare data points and over 1,200 additional diagnostics data points (such as temperature checks). The data collected include traditional rotor performance parameters, control inputs and loads, and blade loads at multiple spanwise stations. Additional data included motor tests, thermal tests, modal vibration tests, and other checkout activities. The database is undergoing extensive validation to ensure it meets NASA standards, after which all data will be released to the public.

Taken together, these accomplishments thoroughly demonstrated the capability of the TTR up to the limits of the NFAC operating envelope while providing a comprehensive database of benchmark rotor data. The test also identified upgrades to improve productivity and extend the test envelope to support future rotor testing. The TTR/699 test generated an unprecedented collection of full-scale proprotor performance, loads and acoustics data, constituting a major advancement over previous testing capability.

Posted: 2019-08-14
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[*] posted on 20-8-2019 at 10:58 AM

Israel could be the Next Customer for the V-22 Osprey

By Gabriele Barison -Aug 18 2019

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, decided that it has an operational need for 12 to 14 V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

After years of discussion on what should be ordered as a replacement/addition to the UH-60A Yanshuf and the CH-53 2025 Yas’ur, it looks like the Israeli Defence Ministry has taken the next step.

As reported by Aviation Week, the Israeli Defense Ministry has issued a price and availability request to the U.S. Navy’s international programs office for the acquisition of the Boeing V-22 aircraft. This step in the long-delayed acquisition of the tilt-rotor was finally taken after Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), decided that it has an operational need for 12 to 14 V-22 Osprey aircraft.

Furthermore according to Scramble Magazine, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) delegation of pilots and project officers is expected to travel to the US in September 2019 for “tests and evaluations” on the Lockheed Martin CH-53K King Stallion and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook as a replacement for the Yas’ ur.

The Boeing V-22 is a joint service, multi-mission aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability. It performs VTOL missions as effectively as a conventional helicopter while also having the long-range cruise abilities of a twin turboprop aircraft.

The U.S Marine Corps (USMC) is the lead service in the development of the Osprey. The USMC version, the MV-22B, is an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, and will be capable of operating from ships or from expeditionary airfields ashore. CV-22B is the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) variant of the USMC MV-22B Osprey.

Photo credit: Chief Petty Officer Joe Kane / U.S. Navy
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[*] posted on 18-9-2019 at 07:05 PM

Modern Day Marine 2019: MV-22 OSPREY Update

At Modern Day Marine 2019 in Quantico, Bell Boeing officials updated MON on the concurrent efforts in progress in the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) MV-22 OSPREY programme, and with other US DoD V-22 operators, to keep the fleets mission-ready and operational well beyond the next decade.

In one instance, OSPREYs are still being delivered to the Marine Corps. Of the funded programme of record (360 aircraft), 326 had been delivered to USMC as of this July.

A separate activity underway in the USMC MV-22 OSPREY fleet is the Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernisation (CC-RAM) initiative, designed to reduce the number of configurations in the fleet to a handful, in hopes of streamlining maintenance times and improving reliability. Bell Boeing officials explained “The Marine Corps has undertaken the effort to upgrade 129 ‘Block B’ OSPREYs, which ceased production in late 2011, to the standard currently rolling off the line of ‘Block C’ aircraft. Based on the current difference in readiness rates between Blocks B and C aircraft, Boeing expects to see a marked improvement in the mission-capable rate of OSPREYs that go through CC-RAM.”

In January, Bell Boeing was awarded the Performance-based Logistics & Engineering (PBL&E) contract, which includes site activation, maintenance planning, training and trainer support and dedicated field personnel for all V-22 squadrons around the globe. The industry team officials noted that, under this contract, Bell Boeing has the flexibility to incorporate data analytics into maintenance efforts, yielding innovative approaches such as predictive and condition-based maintenance to improve aircraft availability and readiness. “Bell Boeing supports three US military customers: the US Marine Corps flying the MV-22; the US Air Force Special Operations Command operating the CV-22; and the US Navy, which will fly the CMV-22. The Bell Boeing team supports more than 350 aircraft under various flexible contractual arrangements. Bell Boeing has supported the V-22 OSPREY since its development and inception, leveraging OEM expertise to focus on improving aircraft maintainability and readiness – top priorities for the government customer. The most recent contract award builds on Bell Boeing’s support legacy,” officials stated. Also in the OSPREY logistics enterprise, Bell Boeing has in force a supply chain contract, which includes the purchase, repair, stocking and delivery for more than 200 part numbers.

Asked to identify a specific materiel enhancement the fleets are receiving, the officials pointed to a nacelle improvement effort underway that could achieve a marked improvement in the mission-capable rate for the V-22 fleet for the Marines and the Air Force Special Operations Command. “The upgraded nacelle will have a new structure with new wiring, fewer wiring interface boxes and additional space for maintenance purposes." All work on this enhancement will be completed not later than 2020.

Marty Kauchak

The CC-RAM programme aims to reduce and rationalize differences in configuration, thus easing maintenance and improving mission readiness. (Photo: Boeing)

Published: 18 September 2019
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[*] posted on 24-12-2019 at 09:36 PM

December 19, 2019

The U.S. Marines Have Big Plans For the MV-22 Osprey (Flying Tank?)

With heavier guns and rockets, the Osprey would be closer to a flying tank than a helicopter.

by Kris Osborn

Key Point: These new design plans would make the Osprey a fearsome weapon of war.

The U.S. Marine Corps is progressing with a new project to arm its MV-22 Osprey aircraft with new weapons such as laser-guided 2.75in rockets, missiles and heavy guns - a move which would expand the tiltrotor's mission set beyond supply, weapons and forces transport to include a wider range of offensive and defensive combat missions, Corps officials said.

"Currently, NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) Dahlgren explored the use of forward firing rockets, missiles, fixed guns, a chin mounted gun, and also looked at the use of a 30MM gun along with gravity drop rockets and guided bombs deployed from the back of the V-22. The study that is being conducted will help define the requirements and ultimately inform a Marine Corps decision with regards to armament of the MV-22B Osprey," Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns told Scout Warrior in a written statement.

Adding weapons to the Opsrey would naturally allow the aircraft to better defend itself should it come under attack from small arms fire, missiles or surface rockets while conducting transport missions; in addition, precision fire will enable the Osprey to support amphibious operations with suppressive or offensive fire as Marines approach enemy territory.

Furthermore, weapons will better facilitate an Osprey-centric tactic known as "Mounted Vertical Maneuver" wherein the tiltrotor uses its airplane speeds and helicopter hover and maneuver technology to transport weapons such as mobile mortars and light vehicles, supplies and Marines behind enemy lines for a range of combat missions -- to include surprise attacks.

The initial steps in the process will include arming the V-22 are to select a Targeting-FLIR, improve Digital Interoperability and designate Integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment solutions. Integration of new weapons could begin as early as 2019 if the initiatives stay on track and are funded, Burns added.

Burns added that "assault support" will remain as the primary mission of the MV-22 Osprey, regardless of the weapons solution selected.

"Both the air and ground mission commanders will have more options with the ability to provide immediate self-defense and collective defense of the flight. Depending on the weapons ultimately selected, a future tiltrotor could provide a range of capabilities spanning from self-defense on the lighter side to providing a gunship over watch capability on the heavier scale," Burns explained.

So far, Osprey maker Bell-Boeing has delivered 290 MV-22s out of a planned 360 program of record.

Laser-guided Hyra 2.75inch folding fin rockets, such as those currently being fired from Apache attack helicopters, could give the Osprey a greater precision-attack technology. One such program firing 2.75in rockets with laser guidance is called Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System, or APKWS.

Bell-Boeing designed a special pylon on the side of the aircraft to ensure common weapons carriage. The Corps is now analyzing potential requirements for weapons on the Osprey, considering questions such as the needed stand-off distance and level of lethality.

"We did a demonstration with Bell where we took some rockets and we put them on a pylon on the airplane using APKWS. We also did some 2.75 guided rockets, laser guided weapons and the griffin missile. We flew laser designators to laser-designate targets to prove you could do it," Rick Lemaster - Director of Business Development, Bell-Boeing, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

Lemaster also added that the Corps could also arm the MV-22 with .50-cal or 7.62mm guns.

New Osprey Variant in 2030:

The Marine Corps is in the early stages of planning to build a new, high-tech MV-22C variant Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to enter service by the mid-2030s, service officials said.

While many of the details of the new aircraft are not yet available, Corps officials told Scout Warrior that the MV-22C will take advantage of emerging and next-generation aviation technologies.

The Marine Corps now operates more than 250 MV-22 Ospreys around the globe and the tiltrotor aircraft are increasingly in demand, Corps officials said.

“This upgrade will ensure that the Marine Corps has state-of-the-art, medium-lift assault support for decades to come,” Corps spokesman Maj. Paul Greenberg told Scout Warrior in a written statement.

The Osprey is, among other things, known for its ability to reach speeds of 280 knots and achieve a much greater combat radius than conventional rotorcraft.

Due to its tiltrotor configuration, the Osprey can hover in helicopter mode for close-in surveillance and vertical landings for things like delivering forces, equipment and supplies – all while being able to transition into airplane mode and hit fixed-wing aircraft speeds. This gives the aircraft an ability to travel up 450 nautical miles to and from a location on a single tank of fuel, Corps officials said.

“Since 2007, the MV-22 has continuously deployed in a wide range of extreme conditions, from the deserts of Iraq and Libya to the mountains of Afghanistan and Nepal, as well as aboard amphibious shipping. Between January 2007 and August 2015, Marine Corps MV-22s flew more than 178,000 flight hours in support of combat operations,” Greenberg added.

Corps officials said th idea with the new Osprey variant is to build upon the lift, speed and versatility of the aircraft’s tiltrotor technology and give the platform more performance characteristics in the future. While few specifics were yet available -- this will likely include improved sensors, mapping and digital connectivity, even greater speed and hover ability, better cargo and payload capacity, next-generation avionics and new survivability systems such as defenses against incoming missiles and small arms fire.

Greenberg also added that the MV-22C variant aircraft will draw from technologies now being developed for the Army-led Future Vertical Lift program involved in engineering a new fleet of more capable, high-tech aircraft for the mid-2030s

“The MV-22C will take advantage of technologies spurred by the ongoing joint multi-role and future vertical lift efforts, and other emerging technology initiatives,” Greenberg added.

The U.S. Army is currently immersed in testing with two industry teams contracted to develop and build a fuel-efficient, high-speed, high-tech, next-generation medium-lift helicopter to enter service by 2030.

The effort is aimed at leveraging the best in helicopter and aircraft technology in order to engineer a platform that can both reach the high-speeds of an airplane while retaining an ability to hover like a traditional helicopter, developers have said.

The initiate is looking at developing a wide range of technologies including lighter-weight airframes to reduce drag, different configurations and propulsion mechanisms, more fuel efficient engines, the potential use of composite materials and a whole range of new sensor technologies to improve navigation, targeting and digital displays for pilots.

Requirements include an ability to operate in what is called “high-hot” conditions, meaning 95-degrees Fahrenheit and altitudes of 6,000 feet where helicopters typically have difficulty operating. In high-hot conditions, thinner air and lower air-pressure make helicopter maneuverability and operations more challenging.

The Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator, or JMR TD, program has awarded development deals to Bell Helicopter-Textron and Sikorsky-Boeing teams to build “demonstrator” aircraft by 2017 to help inform the development of a new medium-class helicopter.

Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter is building a tilt-rotor aircraft called the Bell V-280 Valor – and the Sikorsky-Boeing team is working on early testing of its SB>1 Defiant coaxial rotor-blade design. A coaxial rotor blade configuration uses counter-rotating blades with a thrusting technology at the back of the aircraft to both remain steady and maximize speed, hover capacity and manoeuvrability.

The Bell V-280 offering is similar to the Osprey in that it is a tiltrotor aircraft.

Planned missions for the new Future Vertical Lift aircraft include cargo, utility, armed scout, attack, humanitarian assistance, MEDEVAC (medical evacuation), anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, land/sea search and rescue, special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures, Army officials have said.

Other emerging technology areas being explored for this effort include next-generation sensors and navigation technologies, autonomous flight and efforts to see through clouds, dust and debris described as being able to fly in a “degraded visual environment.”

Meanwhile, while Corps officials say they plan to embrace technologies from this Army-led program for the new Osprey variant, they also emphasize that the Corps is continuing to make progress with technological improvements to the MV-22.
These include a technology called V-22 Aerial Refueling System, or VARS, to be ready by 2018, Greenberg explained.

“The Marine Corps Osprey with VARS will be able to refuel the F-35B Lightning II with about 4,000 pounds of fuel at VARS' initial operating capability. MV-22B VARS capacity will increase to 10,000 pounds of fuel by 2019. This will significantly enhance the F-35B's range, as well as the aircraft's ability to remain on target for a longer period,” he told Scout Warrior.

The aerial refueling technology on the Osprey will refuel helicopters at 110 knots and fixed-wing aircraft at 220 knots, Lemaster added.

"The intent is to be able to have the aircraft on board the ship have the auxiliary tanks on board. An aircraft can then fill up, trail out behind the Osprey about 90-feet," he explained.
The VARS technology will also be able to refuel other aircraft such as the CH-53E/K, F-18, AV-8B Harrier jet and other V-22s, Greenberg added.

The Corps is also developing technology to better network Osprey aircraft through an effort called “Digital Interoperability,” or DI. This networks Osprey crews such that Marines riding in the back can have access to relevant tactical and strategic information while in route to a destination. DI is now being utilized by the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is slated to be operational by 2017.
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[*] posted on 29-1-2020 at 12:54 PM

Leonardo plans to take delivery of full flight simulator for AW609 tiltrotor

By Garrett Reim, Anaheim, California 29 January 2020

Leonardo Helicopters plans to take delivery of the first AW609 simulator at its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania facility in the summer of 2020.

The full flight simulator is to be built by CAE, and is being received ahead of airworthiness certification and first delivery, event dates which Leonardo declines to predict.

Source: Leonardo Helicopters
Leonardo AW609

Two aircraft are also in final production at Leonardo Helicopter’s Philadelphia production facility. At least one example is planned for completion before the end of 2020.

The company has built four test aircraft and it aims to be heavily testing all of the tiltrotors this year to gain FAA certification as soon as possible. The company flew its production-representative test aircraft for the first time on 23 December 2019.

Offshore helicopter operator ERA, which on 24 January announced a merger with recently restructured Bristow, remains the launch customer of the AW609. Leonardo Helicopters declines to disclose any new customers or detail its backlog of orders.

The company believes the AW609 will likely be initially adopted as a VIP transport for time-pressed executives.

“Typically with new technology, we see early adoption through VIP,” says Bill Sunick, head of tiltrotor marketing. “I don’t think this will be any different.”

The tiltrotor has capacity for nine passengers, in addition to two crew.

The AW609 is also being pitched for the oil and gas, search and rescue, and emergency medical services industries, says Sunick.

Previously, the rotorcraft manufacturer said the AW609 would be certificated and entered into service in 2020. It now declines to provide a timeline for regulatory approval and first delivery.
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[*] posted on 2-4-2020 at 02:14 PM

Bell promotes potential of VIP V-22 tiltrotor

By Dominic Perry

1 April 2020

Bell has begun promoting a VIP version of the V-22 tiltrotor it produces in partnership with Boeing, designed for head-of-state transport missions.

To date, the airframer has sold the Osprey solely for military applications, chiefly to the USA, where is it operated by the air force, marine corps and navy; Japan is the only export customer, with an order for 17 examples.

Source: Bell Boeing

But Bell believes the “versatile” nature of the platform could open additional sales opportunities: “VIP transport is one of many missions the V-22 is capable of for potential customers,” says the airframer.

Although no development activity is under way, Bell has carried out “conceptual work” in order to “assess some of the options available for dedicated VIP V-22s.”

In a standard troop transport configuration the Osprey can accommodate 24 personnel in its cabin. However, visuals released by the manufacturer show a much more spacious VIP layout including club-seating and a three-person sofa.

“The VIP V-22 offers the same tiltrotor capabilities that provide the unique combination of speed and versatility that no other production aircraft can provide to users,” Bell adds.

However, those hoping for a dedicated civil version of the Osprey are likely to be disappointed: the V-22 Joint Program Office (JPO) says there are “no current plans to certify the V-22 for civilian use”.

Nonetheless, governments seeking a head-of-state tiltrotor would still be able to acquire a VIP V-22 through the USA’s Foreign Military Sales process, the JPO confirms.

At present, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency says 179 countries and international organisations are eligible to participate in FMS activity.

The V-22 remains the only tiltrotor on the market, although Leonardo Helicopters is developing its AW609, which is destined for civil-only applications.
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[*] posted on 20-4-2020 at 11:05 PM

Forty years on from the V-22’s conception, Bell applies engineering lessons learned to the V-280

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's International Defence Review

19 April 2020

A V-22 Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 takes off on 24 July 2019 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The V-22’s downwash can damage objects or injure people below. Source: US Marine Corps

The United States in April 1980 failed an attempt to rescue US hostages from its embassy in Tehran in Operation ‘Eagle Claw’. Although the mission failed, it helped inspire the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey multimission tiltrotor – an aircraft that could fly long distances and land vertically.

In the 40 years since the V-22 was conceived, Bell has gathered and applied tiltrotor engineering lessons to the V-280 Valor multimission aircraft it is developing for the US Army. Many of the challenges in developing and operating the V-22 are the result of designing a fairly large platform to operate within the confines of US Navy amphibious ships. This caused several compromises, such as a smaller proprotor diameter, which increases the download and reduces the hover efficiency, and a shorter wing, which reduces the amount of lift and range.

These engineering lessons and the lack of shipboard size constraints enabled Bell to reduce the downwash from the rotors, design the rotors to tilt from horizontal to vertical without rotating the engines, and improve the reliability and availability of components. The V-22’s downwash, or high velocity air from the two tilting proprotors producing 22,680 kg of thrust to keep the aircraft aloft, can damage objects or injure people below. It also means the Osprey must burn more fuel to hover.

In addition, the V-22 required a rear-ramp exit to avoid hot-engine exhaust blasting onto ship decks and grassy landing zones. As the V-280’s engines do not rotate, this solves the hot engine exhaust issue, which can start brush fires, and means troops can ingress and egress via side doors.

Keith Flail, Bell vice-president for advanced vertical lift systems, told Jane’s on 2 April that the company was able to reduce the downwash on the V-280 compared with the V-22 because the Valor is a much lighter aircraft.

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[*] posted on 12-5-2020 at 09:01 AM

First two MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for JGSDF arrive in Japan

Gabriel Dominguez, London and Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - Jane's Defence Weekly

11 May 2020

The first two MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft on order for the JGSDF. Source: USMC

The first two Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft on order for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) have arrived at US Marine Corps (USMC) Air Station Iwakuni in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture, a JGSDF spokesperson told Jane's on 11 May.

The two platforms, which bear serial numbers '91701' and '91705', arrived on Japanese soil on 8 May and are part of an initial five MV-22B Block C Ospreys ordered by Tokyo in mid-2015 for USD332.5 million.

The spokesperson said the two Ospreys will be transferred to JGSDF Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture in late June or later, pointing out, however, that it is not yet clear when the remaining three aircraft of the first batch will be delivered.

At least two of these first five Ospreys - bearing serial numbers '91702' and '91703' - have been used since May 2019 to train JGSDF pilots at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

In May 2015 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified US lawmakers that Tokyo had requested the procurement of up to 17 of these aircraft and 40 Rolls-Royce engines in a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) worth an estimated USD3 billion. In July 2015 the Pentagon announced that Bell Boeing had been awarded the deal to manufacture and deliver the first five platforms.

In July 2016 the Pentagon announced that Tokyo ordered an additional four MV-22Bs. According to the contract notification issued at the time, the FMS portion of the award was valued at USD302.9 million. Japan also ordered a simulator - the MV-22 Tiltrotor Containerised Flight Training Device - valued at about USD9.6 million.

Over the following two years Japan ordered a total of eight more MV-22Bs (four each year) to meet its requirement for 17 of these platforms.

The JGSDF spokesperson said that Tokyo plans to station all Ospreys at Camp Kisarazu for about five years after which they are expected to be deployed to their originally intended base at Saga Airport on Kyushu Island.

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[*] posted on 12-5-2020 at 11:39 AM

First Japanese Ospreys arrive on home soil

By: Mike Yeo   8 hours ago

MELBOURNE, Australia — The first Bell-Boeing V-22B Osprey tilt rotors ordered by Japan have arrived in their home country late last week, as the Asian nation continues to grapple with the dilemma of where to base the controversial aircraft.

Two Ospreys with the markings of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, or JASDF, arrived at the joint U.S. Marine Corps-Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force base at Iwakuni, near the city of Hiroshima.

The Ospreys, carrying the serial numbers JG-1701 (91701) and JG-1705 (91705), were shipped across the Pacific Ocean on a commercial car carrier to the pier adjoining the air base. And according to local media, they will be assembled, checked and test-flown before flying to another location in Japan.

According to Bell, at least four of Japan’s Ospreys were ready for delivery as far back as 2018, although the saga of their basing kept the aircraft at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina prior to their delivery to Japan.

Japan requested to buy 17 V-22B Block C Ospreys in May 2015 under the U.S. Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales program. Five were contracted two months later in July. The value of that contract was approximately $332 million, according to Japanese Defense Ministry budget figures.

The ministry originally planned to base the Ospreys at an expanded facility at Saga, which is near the city of Nagasaki and bases Japan’s newly formed Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. However, the regional government and locals bitterly opposed the move, citing the Osprey’s perceived lack of safety.

The deployment of the Osprey by the JGSDF and the U.S. military in Japan has faced long-running opposition by some of the local population, fueled by a narrative around the Osprey’s safety record due to a number of crashes and accidents during the aircraft’s early days.

The mere unloading and potential test flight of the Ospreys has already sparked protests by locals at Iwakuni against an increased footprint of the armed forces.

In response to the opposition, the Japanese government plans to temporarily base the new Ospreys at Camp Kisarazu, southeast of Tokyo. That location also bases Japan’s 1st Helicopter Brigade and a maintenance facility for Japan-based American Ospreys belonging to the Marine Corps and the Air Force.
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[*] posted on 12-7-2020 at 01:25 PM

Japan officially takes delivery of first Bell Boeing tiltrotor aircraft V-22 for Japanese Self Defense Force

11 JULY 2020

A V-22 Osprey aircraft bound for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) based at Camp Kisarazu departs Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, July 10, 2020, to mark the official delivery of the first V-22 to the Japan Self Defense Force. Japan has purchased the American V-22 to improve its amphibious and naval warfare capabilities.

A V-22 Osprey aircraft bound for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) based at Camp Kisarazu departs Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, July 10, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force plans to have 17 Ospreys at the camp for up to five years until they are permanently stationed to an airport in the southwestern prefecture of Saga. According to the Defense Ministry, GSDF will start flights of the Ospreys as early as August after undergoing a month of maintenance checks. Taking into account of strong local concerns and oppositions, it may start with basic, on-base training and widen the flight area gradually.

In May 2020, Japan has taken delivery of the first two V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. In 2015, Japan has ordered 12 units of the V-22, and it was the first foreign customer of the tiltrotor aircraft. More than 200 have been built by Bell-Boeing and used by the U.S. Marines, Navy and Air Force. many foreigne countries have shown interest to purchase the V-22 including Israel, India, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

The V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft manufactured by the American company Bell Boeing. It has both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft with a 38-foot rotor system and engine/transmission nacelle mounted on each wing tip. It can operate as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90 degrees for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a high-speed, fuel-efficient turboprop airplane. The wing rotates for compact storage aboard ship.

The U.S. Marine Corps is the lead service in the development of the Osprey. The Marine Corps version, the MV-22B, is an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, and will be capable of operating from ships or from expeditionary airfields ashore. The Navy's CMV-22B will provide combat search and rescue, delivery and retrieval of special warfare teams along with fleet logistic support transport. The CV-22B is the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) variant of the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey. The mission of the CV-22B is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2020 at 06:54 PM

Rolls-Royce and Bell firm up engine option agreement for V-280

By Greg Waldron

22 July 2020

Rolls-Royce has confirmed an agreement with Bell to develop a propulsion option for the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor, a competitor in the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.

“Rolls-Royce will provide the propulsion solution for the refined V-280 Valor design as well as an advanced infrared suppressor system to deliver greater range and enhanced survivability to the army,” says the UK-headquartered engine specialist.

Bell V-280 Valor
Source: Bell

“Through early collaboration on the system from the inlet to the suppressor, Bell and Rolls-Royce will deliver a low-risk and reliable integrated propulsion solution to the army.”

In March 2019, Bell said that R-R had agreed to develop a turboshaft option for the developmental aircraft. The V-280 prototype aircraft is powered by a pair of GE Aviation T64-GE-419 engines. Bell added at the time that it would continue to work with GE Aviation on the V-280.

R-R does not say when the new powerplant will be delivered for the V-280. In addition, no details of the engine were provided.

Adam Riddle, R-R’s executive vice-president, business development and future programmes, says: “Rolls-Royce is excited to be a part of the Bell V-280 Team Valor to compete in the US Army FLRAA program.”

He notes the company’s “wealth” of tiltrotor experience - notably supplying the T406 engines on the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey - ”as well as over 50 years of successful collaboration with Bell.”

R-R adds that it has invested $600 million to modernise its facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana, which will help with its FLRAA work.

The V-280’s rival in the FLRAA competition is the SB-1 Defiant, a compound co-axial helicopter developed jointly by a Sikorsky-Boeing team.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 09:08 PM

Indonesia’s intriguing Osprey opportunity

By Greg Waldron

23 July 2020

Until recently, if you performed a roll-call of the countries considered as possible candidates to purchase the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor - think Israel or the UK, for instance - Indonesia would likely not have featured on what is a relatively short list.

Generally, Jakarta’s major airpower acquisitions are signalled well in advance. Its odyssey to buy the Sukhoi Su-35 has lasted nearly a decade and finalising the deal has proven elusive. The country’s interest the Airbus Defence & Space A400M tactical transport is long known, as its long flirtation with the Boeing CH-47F Chinook.

Source: US Marine Corps
MV-22B Osprey prepares to land at a helicopter landing zone

Hence the surprise when, amid a spate of congressional arms sales notifications, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 6 July said it had approved the possible sale to Indonesia of eight MV-22 Block Cs for $2 billion, alongside spares, training, and support services.

“The proposed sale of aircraft and support will enhance Indonesia’s humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and support amphibious operations,” said the DSCA. “This sale will promote burden sharing and interoperability with US Forces. Indonesia is not expected to have any difficulties absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”

The Jakarta Post subsequently reported that few in the Indonesian military knew about the potential deal. The paper also said that the MV-22s would serve with the Indonesian army. If so, the Osprey would be a quantum leap for the force, which operates a ragbag assortment of rotorcraft that includes Bell 412s, Russian-built Mil Mi-8s transports and Mi-35 attack helicopters, and several others. More recently, it took delivery of eight Boeing AH-64E Apaches.

Bell says congressional notification is a crucial step in a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal and that the total cost could be under the stated figure.

“Following congressional notification, we look forward to working closely with the US and Indonesian governments to determine the contents and price of the FMS case and to finalise this sale,” says Bell.

“The $2 billion only represents the ’Not to Exceed’ amount authorized by Congress and we anticipate the cost to be lower. Currently the US military is buying the V-22 under the Multiyear Procurement III (MYP III) contract. Completion of this sale in 2020 will allow Indonesia to receive the MYP III pricing already negotiated by the US government for its aircraft.”

Even if the package comes in below the $2 billion, the history of Indonesian arms acquisitions means signing off a deal in 2020 might be optimistic.

Still, on paper at least, the Osprey is perfectly suited to a sprawling archipelago with thousands of islands, facing challenges including natural disasters, separatist uprisings in far-flung provinces, and China’s belligerence in the South China Sea.

MV-22 Osprey
Source: US Marine Corps
A US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey lifts cargo during training at Moron air base, Spain earlier this year

“For the past decade the military has endeavoured to boost its maritime defences, but China is not the only explanation for [an Osprey] purchase,” says Natalie Sambhi, an expert on Indonesian military affairs, and founder and executive director of Verve Research.

“Indonesia continues to experience a range of internal security and humanitarian issues that would require insertion of forces at short notice, including unrest in Papuan provinces. Also, you cannot discount the element of prestige, being the only country in Southeast Asia to have purchased the Osprey.”

Indeed, should the Indonesian army obtain the Osprey it would be the fifth operator after the US Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy, and sole export customer the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force.

But even if that $2 billion price cap is not reached, some perspective is offered by Indonesia’s overall proposed defence budget for 2021, which is tentatively pegged at Rp150 trillion ($10.3 billion). While this is an increase of around 20% on the 2020 figure, any Osprey acquisition would represent a major chunk of that total and would face competing claims from the country’s other services. In addition, the defence budget is all but certain to be a casualty of the financial downturn following the coronavirus pandemic.

“The price is significant in contrast to the defence budget, and the maintenance and operating costs would be another financial challenge,” says Wu Shang-Su, research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Sambhi and Wu also contend that for the MV-22 to be effective in Indonesian service, Jakarta will need to beef up its aerial refuelling capabilities.

Tankers, however, would appear to be a far more urgent priority for a country as vast as Indonesia: Cirium fleets data shows that the Indonesian air force operates a single 1961-vintage Lockheed Martin KC-130B for that mission. Tiny Singapore, by contrast, has five Airbus Defence & Space A330 MRTTs (multi-role tanker transport), with an additional unit to come. The MRTT is also operated by the Royal Australian Air Force with six examples in its inventory.

Sustainment could be another challenge for Jakarta. Over the years the Osprey has suffered its share of availability issues. Anecdotally at least, Indonesia’s armed forces are understood to take a less rigid approach to aircraft maintenance than other militaries.

MV-22 Osprey
Source: US Marine Corps
U.S. Marines conduct a flight training exercise with the MV-22B Osprey along the shores of Oahu, Hawaii

And then come concerns about safety, as exemplified by Indonesia’s loss of five C-130s since 2000. In July 2015 a particularly horrific crash saw an Indonesian C-130B come down in a Medan suburb while carrying well over 100 people, many of whom were relatives of air force personnel. Media reports suggested that unofficial tickets had been sold.

As for the army, it has lost nine helicopters and a single fixed-wing aircraft since 2000, resulting in 49 fatalities. The most recent of which occurred on 6 June, when an Mi-8 crashed during a training sortie, killing five.

Still, one factor that might work in Indonesia’s favour should it buy the Osprey is the depth of its aerospace sector, with indigenous manufacturer Indonesian Aerospace in Bandung, as well as a vibrant commercial MRO industry.

“Although the previous record of safety is not very good, Indonesia probably has the largest aviation talent pool in Southeast Asia, thanks to its industry,” says Wu.

“Therefore, Jakarta may be able to train sufficient personnel to maintain and support the Osprey. It is indeed a challenge, but also an opportunity for Indonesia to expand its aviation capabilities. Since Jakarta has a clear goal of moving towards [being] a regional power, it is likely for them to take the challenge.”

Since replacing its ancient Boeing CH-46 Sea Knights, the Osprey has enabled the US Marine Corps to employ bold new tactics and given it a vastly greater reach. It is difficult to imagine a contingency in Indonesia – or anywhere, for that matter - where an aircraft as capable as the Osprey would not prove useful. Still, this capability comes with very real costs - flying the V-22 is not cheap - and challenges. Buying highly advanced military aircraft is hard. Keeping them flying for years often proves harder.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 10:16 PM

…"a ragbag assortment of rotorcraft"

Steady on chaps! Moderation please. :blush:
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[*] posted on 27-7-2020 at 06:21 PM

22 JULY 2020

JGSDF receives second MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft

by Gabriel Dominguez

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has taken delivery of its second Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

The aircraft, which is one of two Ospreys that arrived at US Marine Corps (USMC) Air Station Iwakuni in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture on 8 May, was flown by a JGSDF pilot to Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture on 16 July: six days after the service received the first such platform.

The JGSDF’s second Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft is seen here shortly after arriving at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture on 16 July. (JGSDF)

These two aircraft, which bear serial numbers ‘91701’ and ‘91705’, are part of an initial five MV-22B Block C Ospreys ordered by Tokyo in mid-2015 for USD332.5 million.

Following the arrival of the first Osprey, a JGSDF spokesperson had told Janes that Tokyo plans to deploy a total of 17 of these aircraft at Camp Kisarazu by the end of fiscal year 2021 for about five years, after which the aircraft are expected to be deployed to a JGSDF base at Saga Airport on Kyushu Island that has yet to be built.
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