File: V-22 Osprey refueling.jpg|
A USMC MV-22.
Developed over a span of nineteen years beginning in 1981. The USMC started crew training in 2000 and in 2007 after 27 years of developement, controversey, and trials the V-22 was fielded by the USMC. It was fielded by the USAF in 2009.
JVX and Early DesignsEditDevelopment for V-22 began when in 1981 the D.o.D began the Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program. The JVX combined requirements from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army and Navy. At first the US Army was leading the project but in 1983 the USN and USMC were given leadership. In December 1982 the D.o.D requested proposals from multiple companies for the JVX. The only proposal was made by the Bell/Boeing team for an enlarged version of the Bell XV-15 on February 17, 1983. On April 26, 1983 the Bell/Boeing team received a preliminary design contract. The JVX aircraft was designated V-22 Osprey on 15 January 1985; by that March the first six prototypes were being produced, and Boeing Vertol was expanded to deal with the project workload. Work has been split evenly between Bell and Boeing. Bell Helicopter manufactures and integrates the wing, nacelles, rotors, drive system, tail surfaces, and aft ramp, as well as integrates the Rolls-Royce engines and performs final assembly. Boeing Helicopters manufactures and integrates the fuselage, cockpit, avionics, and flight controls. The USMC variant of the Osprey received the MV-22 designation and the Air Force variant received CV-22; reversed from normal procedure to prevent Marine Ospreys from having a conflicting designation with aircraft carriers (CV). Full-scale development of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft began in 1986. The first V-22 was rolled out with significant media attention in May 1988. That year, the Army left the program, citing a need to focus its budget on more immediate aviation programs.
Flight Testing and Further DevelopementEditThe first V-22 prototype flew for the first time on March 19, 1989 in the helicopter mode,and on September 14, 1989 as a fixed-wing plane. The third and fourth prototypes successfully completed the Osprey's first Sea Trials in December 1990 on the USS Wasp. The fourth and fifth prototypes crashed in 1991 and 1992. From October 1992 until April 1993, Bell and Boeing redesigned the V-22 to reduce empty weight, simplify manufacture and reduce production costs. This redesigned version became the V-22B model. V-22 flights resumed in June 1993 after safety improvements were incorporated in the prototypes. Bell Boeing was awarded a contract for the engineering manufacturing development (EMD) phase in June 1994. Remaining prototypes were changed to be more like the B variant. Flight testing at the stage focused on expanding the flight envelope, measuring flight loads, and supporting the EMD redesign. This and further flight testing continued into 1997. Flight testing of four full-scale development V-22s began in early 1997 when the first pre-production V-22 was delivered to the Naval Air Warfare Test Center, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The first EMD flight took place on 5 February 1997. The first of four low rate initial production aircraft was ordered on April 28, 1997 and was delivered on May 27, 1999. In January 1999 the 10th Osprey completed the program's second sea trials on the USS Saipan. During external load testing in April 1999, Boeing used a V-22 to lift and transport the M777 howitzer.
In 2000, there were two further fatal crashes, killing a total of 19 Marines, and the aircraft was again grounded while the cause of these crashes was investigated and various parts were redesigned. The V-22 completed its final operational evaluation in June 2005. The evaluation was deemed successful; events included long range deployments, high altitude, desert and shipboard operations. The problems identified in various accidents had been addressed.
Recent developmentEditOn 28 September 2005, the Pentagon formally approved full-rate production for the V-22. 458 V-22s are currently planned with 360 going to the USMC, 50 to the USAF, and 48 to the USN. The Bell-Boeing team will design a new integrated avionics processor to resolve electronics obsolescence issues and add new network capabilities. By 2014 Raytheon will provide an avionics upgrade that includes Situational awareness and Blue Force Tracking. Mission improvements have been developed for the "Block C" version. A contract for the Block C upgrade and other improvements was awarded to Bell-Boeing in late 2009. Deliveries of Block C upgrades are ongoing in 2010. U.S. Naval Air Systems Command is working on upgrades to increase the maximum speed from 250 knots (460 km/h; 290 mph) to 270 knots (500 km/h; 310 mph), increase helicopter mode altitude limit from 10,000 feet (3,000 m) to 12,000 feet (3,700 m) or 14,000 feet (4,300 m), and increase lift performance.
DesignEditThe Osprey is the world's first production tiltrotor aircraft, with one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. For take off the V-22 operates in helicopter mode with the nacelles in a vertical position, in mid flight the nacelles rotate forward 90° in as little as 12 seconds for horizontal flight. The horizontal plane mode of the V-22 is much more fuel efficient. The V-22 is also capable of STOL rolling takeoffs and landings by having the nacelles tilted forward up to 45°. Composite materials make up 43% of the V-22's airframe. The V-22's wing rotates to align front to back with the fuselage for compact storage and transport.
The V-22's two Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines are connected by drive shafts to a common center gearbox so that one engine can power both proprotors if an engine failure occurs. Boeing has stated the V-22 design loses 10% of its vertical lift over a Tiltwing design when operating in helicopter mode because of airflow resistance due to the wings, but that the Tiltrotor design has better short takeoff and landing performance. With the nacelles pointing straight up in conversion mode at 90° the flight computers command the aircraft to fly like a helicopter, with cyclic forces being applied to a conventional swashplate at the rotor hub. With the nacelles in airplane mode (0°) the flaperons, rudder, and elevator fly the aircraft like an airplane. The V-22 is equipped with a glass cockpit, which incorporates four Multi-function displays (MFDs) and one shared Central Display Unit (CDU), allowing the pilots to display a variety of images including: digimaps centered or decentered on current position, FLIR imagery, primary flight instruments, navigation (TACAN, VOR, ILS, GPS, INS), and system status. The flight director panel of the Cockpit Management System (CMS) allows for fully-coupled (autopilot) functions which will take the aircraft from forward flight into a 50 ft (15 m) hover with no pilot interaction other than programming the system.
The V-22 will usually mount an M240 or M2 on the loading ramp. BAE Systems developed the belly mounted Interim Defense Weapon System remotely operated gun turret system for the V-22. This system is remotely operated by a gunner inside the aircraft, who acquires targets with a separate pod using color television and forward looking infrared imagery. The IDWS was mounted on half of the V-22's in Afghanistan in 2009, but only found limited use due to its weight.
USMCEditMarine Corps crew training on the Osprey has been conducted by VMMT-204 since March 2000. On June 3, 2005, the Marine Corps helicopter squadron Marine Medium Helicopter 263 (HMM-263), stood down to begin the process of transitioning to the MV-22 Osprey. On 8 December 2005, Lieutenant General Amos, commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force, accepted the delivery of the first fleet of MV-22s, delivered to HMM-263. The unit reactivated on 3 March 2006 as the first MV-22 squadron and was redesignated VMM-263. On 31 August 2006, VMM-162 (the former HMM-162) followed suit. On 23 March 2007, HMM-266 became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (VMM-266) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. The MV-22 reached initial operational capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marine Corps on 13 June 2007. On 10 July 2007 an MV-22 Osprey landed aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious in the Atlantic Ocean. This marked the first time a V-22 had landed on any non-U.S. vessel.
On 13 April 2007, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it would be sending ten V-22 aircraft to Iraq, the Osprey's first combat deployment. On 17 September 2007, 10 MV-22Bs of VMM-263 left for Iraq aboard the USS Wasp. The decision to use a ship rather than use the Osprey's self-deployment capability was made because of concerns over icing during the North Atlantic portion of the trip, lack of available KC-130s for mid-air refueling, and the availability of the USS Wasp. They are primarily used in Iraq's western Anbar province for routine cargo and troop movements, and also for riskier "aero-scout" missions. General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, used one to fly around Iraq on Christmas Day 2007 to visit troops. Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama also flew in Ospreys during his high profile 2008 tour of Iraq. The V-22 had flown 3,000 sorties totaling 5,200 hours in Iraq as of July 2008.The MV-22 was deployed to Afghanistan in November 2009 with VMM-261, and saw its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra's Anger, on 4 December 2009. Ospreys assisted in inserting 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops into the Now Zad Valley of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan to disrupt communication and supply lines of the Taliban. In January 2010 the MV-22 Osprey was sent to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response relief efforts after the earthquake there, the aircraft's first humanitarian mission. In March 2011 two MV-22s from the USS Kearsarge participated in a mission to rescue a downed USAF F-15E crew member during Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of the first times that a USMC Osprey was used in a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP).
The Air Force's first operational CV-22 Osprey was delivered to the 58th Special Operations Wing (58th SOW) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico on 20 March 2006. This and subsequent aircraft will become part of the 58th SOW's fleet of aircraft used for training pilots and crew members for special operations use. On 16 November 2006, the Air Force officially accepted the CV-22 in a ceremony conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The Air Force first used the Osprey on a non-training mission to perform search and rescue from Kirtland Air Force Base on 4 October 2007.
The US Air Force's first operational deployment of the Osprey sent four CV-22s to Mali in November 2008 in support of Exercise Flintlock. The CV-22s flew nonstop from Hurlburt Field, Florida with in-flight refueling. AFSOC declared that the 8th Special Operations Squadron reached Initial Operational Capability on 16 March 2009, with six of its planned nine CV-22s operational. In June 2009, CV-22s of the 8th Special Operations Squadron delivered 43,000 pounds (20,000 kg) of humanitarian supplies to remote villages in Honduras that were not accessible by conventional vehicles. In November 2009, the 8th SO Squadron and its six CV-22s returned from a three-month deployment in Iraq.
- Pre-production full-scale development aircraft used for flight testing. These are unofficially considered A-variants after the 1993 redesign.
- The U.S. Navy considered an HV-22 to provide combat search and rescue, delivery and retrieval of special warfare teams along with fleet logistic support transport. It chose the MH-60S for this role in 2001.
- The proposed anti-submarine warfare Navy variant. The Navy studied the SV-22 in the 1980s to replace S-3 and SH-2 aircraft.
- Basic U.S. Marine Corps transport; original requirement for 552 (now 360). The Marine Corps is the lead service in the development of the V-22 Osprey. The Marine Corps variant is an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, capable of operating from ships or from expeditionary airfields ashore. It is replacing the Marine Corps' CH-46E and CH-53D.
Air Force variant for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). It conducts long-range, special operations missions, and is equipped with extra fuel tanks and terrain-following radar. It replaced the MH-53 Pave Low.
- Four (pilot, copilot and two flight engineers)
- 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded), or
- 20,000 lb (9,070 kg) of internal cargo, or up to 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of external cargo (dual hook)
- 1× Growler light internally transportable ground vehicle
- 57 ft 4 in (17.5 m)
Rotor diameter: 3
- 8 ft 0 in (11.6 m)
- 45 ft 10 in (14 m)
Width with rotors:
- 84 ft 7 in (25.8 m)
- 22 ft 1 in/6.73 m; overall with nacelles vertical (17 ft 11 in/5.5 m; at top of tailfins)
- 2,268 ft² (212 m²)
- 301.4 ft² (28 m²)
- 33,140 lb (15,032 kg)
- 47,500 lb (21,500 kg)
Max takeoff weight:
- 60,500 lb (27,400 kg)
- 2× Rolls-Royce Allison T406/AE 1107C-Liberty turboshafts, 6,150 hp (4,590 kW) each
- 250 knots (463 km/h, 288 mph) at sea level / 305 kn (565 km/h; 351 mph) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
- 241 knots (277 mph, 446 km/h) at sea level
- 879 nmi (1,011 mi, 1,627 km)
- 370 nmi (426 mi, 685 km)
- 1,940 nmi (2,230 mi, 3,590 km) with auxiliary internal fuel tanks
- 26,000 ft (7,920 m)
Rate of climb:
- 2,320 ft/min (11.8 m/s)
- 20.9 lb/ft² at 47,500 lb GW (102.23 kg/m²)
- 0.259 hp/lb (427 W/kg)
- 1× 7.62 mm (.308 in) M240 machine gun or 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun on ramp, removable
- 1× 7.62 mm (.308 in) GAU-17 minigun, belly-mounted, retractable, video remote control in the Remote Guardian System [optional]
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