marines in afghanistan with v-22

The story of what two Marine aviators did to be the first V-22 Osprey pilots awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses is simple, elegant, and and tactically telling. The double-DFC incident underscores how the Marines are using the unique tilt-rotor aircraft — which can take off and land like a helicopter, then fly long distances at high speeds like an airplane — and its ability to perform in extreme battlefield conditions.

I interviewed the two pilots, Major Michael Hutchings and Captain David Haake, at New River Air Station.

Here’s what happened in Afghanistan in June 2012. Two Ospreys, operating with conventional helicopters — Hueys and Cobras — were supporting the insertion of a Marine reconnaissance battalion. The Ospreys, piloted by Maj. Hutchings and Capt. Haake, were flying in a two-ship formation and planning to put down Marines in two waves.

The first wave went well, and the Ospreys returned to insert the second group of Marines, to provide the enough armed manpower to perform the mission in Taliban infested territory.

As Hutching’s V-22 came down it took heavy fire, which so damaged the plane that the systems on board told the pilot to not fly the aircraft. Of course, not flying was to face certain death, so the task for the pilot and the crew was to find a way out. The plane was badly damaged, but because of the various redundant systems on board and the skill of the pilot and the crew, they were able to depart and to make it back to Camp Bastion in airplane mode. With a traditional rotorcraft, of course, you do not have the relative luxury of switching between two modes of travel.

As Haake followed Hutching in, the Hueys and Cobras informed him that Taliban were occupying the area around the intended landing zone. Haake took his plane up and took stock of his options. While he did, he learned that Hutchings had landed and was under attack, which meant that Haake had little choice but to insert Marines to reinforce the reconnaissance battalion. He did, also under heavy fire. His plane was badly damaged as well and also had on board a wounded Afghan soldier working with the Marines.

In addition to battle damage to the aircraft, the plane was leaking fuel very badly. This meant that the pilot and crew knew they could not make it back to Camp Bastion, but would have to land at a Forward Operating Base, which also had medical support, about 20 miles away. Again, flying on helicopter mode, the plane and crew made it to the base.

But for Maj. Hutchings, the day was not yet over. This was a night insertion so the Marines needed to be extricated the next day. Hutchings flew an Osprey the next morning as part of the effort to pick up the Marines and get them out. Hutchings landed the plane and took onboard the Marines, who were firing at the enemy as they boarded the plane. The Osprey took off to altitude with speed. “I asked the crew chief after about 10 minutes how the Marines in the back were doing. He said they were asleep,” Hutchings added.

Although their tale is the most dramatic testimony to the maturing of the Osprey, it was not the only one I heard. Frank “Blaine” Rhobotham, the Remain Behind Element Officer in Charge of VMM-365, provided another example of the impact of the Osprey and its maturity. He was the head maintainer involved in preparing the Special Purpose MAGTF, which now operates out of Southern Europe and is available to support missions in Africa and the Mediterranean.

Rhobotham discussed the very short period from the generation of the concept of the Special Purpose MAGTF to its execution. It took about eight months from inception to deployment. He emphasized the flexibility of the force and its light footprint. “With a six-ship Osprey force supported by three C-130s we can move it as needed. The three C-130s are carrying all the support equipment to operate the force as well.”

The flexibility which the Osprey now offers Combatant Commanders and US defense officials is a major strategic and tactical tool for the kind of global reality the US now faces, requiring rapid support and insertion of force.

Col. Michael Orr, Commanding Officer of VMX-22, the operational testing squadron for the Marines, provided a third example. This squadron is operating Ospreys, heavily involved in the roll out of the F-35B, and engaged in the Marines re-set on unmanned air systems.

Most recently, VMX-22 has been testing Ospreys aboard large deck carriers to contribute to large deck carrier operations. The near term focus is upon the replacement of C-2 Greyhounds to provide for aspects of carrier resupply. Obviously, the Osprey can provide much more capability than this.

“The big change which the Osprey brings is the ability to link together a diversity of assets at sea. Imagine an asset which can link the large deck carrier, amphibious ships, and the logistics fleet. The Osprey is such an asset and a key enabler to turn ships into a sea base,” Orr told me.

A fourth example comes from what I saw on the flight line. When I first saw Ospreys at New River several years ago, there were only five. Now a newly appointed Air Combat Element or ACE commander for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Lt. Col. Schoolfield, showed me the air group being assembled on the tarmac. It was an impressive array of aircraft, including the newly configured AH-1Z Cobras and UH-1Y “Yankees.”

The Ospreys were lined up almost as if they knew that they were the enabler now of the afloat Marines, and not an experiment. But to get to this point has required significant cultural change within the Corps itself. To deal with this requires leadership, and not just inside the Beltway. Commanders in the field and with the forces are crucial to such change.

One such leader is the retiring (in only one sense of the word) Col. Seymour, who is the CO of Marine Aircraft Group 26. During our interview, Seymour described the cultural changes necessary to deal with process of change. Leadership had to move forward in spite of resistance. As he reminded his Marines: “You are not stakeholders; you are Marines. Get on with it.

 

Robbin Laird, a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, has published a new book, which looks at the impact of the evolution of Marine aviation on their approach to operations. Three Dimensional Warriors.

Comments

  • Gary Church

    It will go down in history as the most expensive and useless military transport aircraft ever built. Cannot hover as efficiently as a helicopter, cannot fly as efficiently as an airplane, unpressurized so it cannot fly above weather, to much rotor wash to sling or hoist or do anything except obscure an LZ. Cannot autorotate, maintenance monstrosity, astronomical operating costs, and the list goes on and on. It never should have been built and will never be worth the vast treasure expended on it.

    They could have built a fleet of credible sport rocket VTOL C-130’s for what it costs. Really.

    • I2eboot

      I wonder, what part of an Osprey’s mission is to “hover efficiently”? Or, pray tell, how does one define “flying efficiently”? Do you contend that the CH-53 is an “efficient” machine?

      How about acknowledging the mere fact that it can fly nearly twice as fast and as far as the “efficiently hovering” helicopters, or can land with no developed airfield like the “efficiently flying” airplanes. To think that any single flying machine that can perform these fundamentally incredibly useful tasks simultaneously should also exceed the performance of a flying machine that is specifically tailored to do just one or the other is either purposefully disingenuous or patently stupid.

      • Gary Church

        It is junk. A bastard combination of airplane and helicopter that is far more expensive than either with a poor performance in either mode. Helicopters and airplanes do not just do “one or the other.” They are machines that serve a wide range of missions specific to fixed or rotary wing capabilities. I mentioned a few of them- like flying above weather with a pressurized cabin and sling loading external loads. If you think it is “fundamentally incredibly useful” to have a fantastically expensive machine that is incapable (or an extremely poor performer) of almost all of these type specific missions then it is you that fit the description of disingenuous or patently stupid.

        • I2eboot

          Helicopters and airplanes certianly do “one or ther other.” A helicopter can be VTOL, but cannot fly 250 kts at 10,000 ft for 1000 miles. An airplane can fly 1000 miles at 250kt, but find one that can land on a 60 foot runway.

          Uh, the V-22 can sling load. Its a medium lift asset replacing the CH-46, and has the capability to sling load the exact same medium cargo. Are you trying to compare it to a HEAVY lift asset like the CH-53? Guess what, that role is still going to be filled by heavy lift helicopters….you know, machines designed for that precise mission. Your strawman argument fails.

          MV-22 cost is $60-65 million. CH-53K is expected to cost $55-60 million (and estimates are already indicating that is low). A C-130J cost is $68 million in 2012 dollars. What cost argument are you trying to make, exacty?

          Its interesting that if it is so useless and such an extremely poor performer that USMC and AFSOC commanders and pilots love it, and that Israel and the UAE are signing papers to buy it, and Australia, Japan, India, & the UK are looking into procurement. There certainly are a great number of “patently stupid” people out there according to you….people who, unlike you, actually have some experience with the aircraft beyond what they read on the internet.

          Maybe you ought to take a step into the current decade, because all of your arguments are tired old relics of someone who has spent entirely too much time reading the inane drivel of Carlton Meyer on G2mil (who has been conspicuously quiet for the past couple of years).

          • M&S

            IE2,

            >>
            MV-22 cost is $60-65 million. CH-53K is expected to cost $55-60 million (and estimates are already indicating that is low). A C-130J cost is $68 million in 2012 dollars. What cost argument are you trying to make, exactly?

            >>

            The MV-22 is the size and cost of a CH-53K which matters in two key ways:

            1. It takes up deck spots which equate to significantly more than a Frog which means you can ‘afford’ both the physical footprint and total fleet inventory far fewer of them, on-deck.

            2. Hence it has to do twice as much and despite it’s speed, is just isn’t capable. Indeed, it’s performance is only as relevant as the missions it -does not- fly. Such as air transport of light weight vehicle systems.

            Where you have to go-slow for the CH-53K to get along anyway, you have to ask why you invite repeats of this disaster-

            The Flak Trapping Of Turbine 33
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Red_Wings

            Which is certainly what the above sounds like.

            I mean, really, all’s you have to do is look at SEA CSAR rates (less than 50% recovery success for as much as 70% equipment write offs) to understand that putting a helo into a bleepstorm is just not done son.

            5,000 UH-1B/C/Ds shot down, some more than once, tends to prove this and teetering rotor and all, they were _more agile and better defended_ in the LZ!

            Sigh.

            The Germans have been rolling Wiesels off the back of

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dk6aoLLkFw

            http://www.g2mil.com/mak1.jpg
            For the better part of 20 years.
            As an APS+reactives protectable weapon platform that can mount 20mm autocannon, 120mm Dragonfire mortar, TOW ATGW and most importantly: 4-5 infantry.
            To give them fast approach to a battlefield from a standoff point 3-4 miles distant which is simply beyond rapid reaction by doubletiming infantry.
            Take any map of any scale and put a dot marking a team in trouble.
            Now draw a representative 1,000m circle around that dot.
            That is the airmobile response zone.
            Now draw a concentric circle around the first one which is 6 times larger.
            And using your terrain relief see how many more ‘possible landing zone’ targets there are in that circle.
            No guerilla force can possibly cover all the vulnerability points that the -combination- of helicopter insert and mounted infil that Air Mech represents.
            If the QRF that went after those SEALs in Kunar had had Air Mech, operability, that MH-47 would _not_ have gone down and we would not be short a SEAL team nor would we have made Ahmad Shah a bloody pillaging hero in the eyes of the local clans.
            The Marines are looking at the exact same issue with the V-22. They can put Marines into contact but only at the explicit risking of the very extraction asset they need to exfil.
            And the risk of a 65 million dollar platform as ‘heroic deeds’ _does not_ guarantee recovery so much as the possibility of losing everyone onboard, before or after pickup/insertion.
            This is not sound tactics, even before you consider all the other mechanical reliability problems the aircraft still has.

          • I2eboot

            Where are you getting your data supporting a V-22 equalling a CH-53K on deck sizing? When un-stowed, it essentially matches the aircraft it is replacing, the CH-46.

            When stowed with wing and blade fold, they can be staged far MORE densely than the CH-53, as evidenced by the USS Kearsage.

            http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2013/July/images/Kearsarge.jpg

            When you acknowledge this fact, and that you can have just as many on deck available, the main thrust of your argument loses its teeth.

            Also, the fact that you are linking to anything from G2mil is revealing.

          • M&S

            A CH-46 and the MV-22 length vs. rotorspan are almost inverses of each other. The former being 84 x 50ft over turning rotors, the latter 57 X 84ft.

            Comparatively, the CH-53E is 99ft long with a rotor span of 79ft.

            That’s the spotting factor that counts because those are the operational, single lift, capabilities that you can surge (choppers don’t wait like a strike package, they have too little useful fuel).

            Frogs can also be staggered, but a V-22 needs the whole flight deck width because of it’s poor lateral and directional stability and huge PR downblast. As evinced by the tendency to display upwards of 37` bank angle rolling moments in side stepping over the deck during flight testing.

            Finally there is weight class on the platforms. You can put 12 CH-46 on an LHD. You can only put 8 V-22 aboard. The V-22 weighs very nearly as much as a CH-53 with less than 80% of the cargo capacity of the CH-46. Indeed, if you want anything -near- the full mission load of 55,000lbs, you had better clear the decks fore and aft too because the V-22 only comes close with a rolling STO.

            None of which invalidates my statement that if you have a speedy little derp platform that cannot put a mechanized force down any further or faster than the CH-53s which bring up the light vehicles to keep those Marines survivable, all the go-fast in the world is still just a quicker hearse.

            And where this matters is with the ground force. Because they have to survive and stay proactively mission viable in the two hours or more between STOM retrieval windows (back to the boat, new load, back to the objective, exfil, if you have the gas for the weight).

            We are _not_ going to be doing any more Tarawa, Okinawa, Inchon or similar contested amphib ops any time soon. The target massing in the face of modern PGMs is just too mazcat dangerous.

            We will be doing a lot of specwar, CSAR and civil recovery missions (ala Libya) where the objective is waaaay out there.

            Such as would nominally favor the TR solution but only until you realize you have to walk in your recovery force and they are both gunnable on the way and likely to be shot down in the insertion.

            This under rangepoint conditions where, if you lose the extraction asset, you’ve essentially lost the mission force /anyway/ as they cannot hold while the expensive TR is mission regenerated, even at 300 knots, in a time window to make a difference to the exposed ground units.

            OTOH, where we are not yet through with stabilization efforts as hostile occupations where the whole population resents our presence, the use of expensive TRs as air assault or shuttle logistics carriers makes even less sense because they are going _nowhere_ without escorts and this instantly self limits you to the profiles as airspeeds and weapons loads your shotguns can keep up with.

            Under these conditions, an S-92 costing some 32 million dollars can haul a similar number of troops with either side or rear ramp exit (as cargo and gun platform options) making it far more fires flexible and quick to load in a contested landing zone area.

            The S-92 is also a dead on match to the CH-46 for length overall and rotor span with similar top and cruise speeds to the CH-53.

            It is your argument for the V-22 being all that as a tactical insertion platform that falls on it’s face when you realize that it represents only 50% of what has to happen to get MA, at most.

          • I2eboot

            You are operating on quite a few assumptions regarding the OTOH doctrine and its potential future full implementation to crucify the V22.

            I would invite you into reading how much a militarized H-92 aka CH-148 costs (hint, its more than $32 million with any sort of military mission system package), and perhaps a bit into the design history on that one.

            If you think the V-22 has skeletons in the closet, you might want to retract any recommendation of the use of an S-92 based airframe for anything. Especially with regards to its under-sized dynamic system and achilles heel MGB.

          • Gary

            “-people who, unlike you, actually have some experience with the aircraft beyond what they read on the internet.”

            History will be the judge. I have plenty of experience. I am sure it is wonderful with sling loads and all the other things they will do once and take pictures of and never want to go through the misery of again.

          • I2eboot

            You might have plenty of experience sitting behind a keyboard.

            History has already begun to judge. You just dont like the results, for whatever reason.

          • Gary Church

            Well you get the last word. I guess you win.

          • Bifford J Beluga Sr.

            Meaning…..he has never flown or crewed the thing. Therefore, has no clue what he is talking about. Gary has years of Trolling experience, who is I2eboot to tell him about an aircraft he knows nothing about? You should quit before you look more ignorant Gary. I2eboot knows what he is talking about and is using solid facts and legitimate sources to form his argument.

          • Gary Church

            Yes, you are right. I do not know what I am talking about. I am doing this just for fun. Right. Not a shred of truth in anything I say.

        • KW

          Church, I bet when you’re laying on the ground with a sucking chest wound you’re gonna refuse to get on the Osprey because of it’s “bastard” design, huh? How many hours have you logged in the cockpit of the V-22?

          • Gary Church

            KW, I bet…….never mind. I guess you guys are the future. Enjoy your toys children. You have to grow up sometime though.

  • Truthiness

    I am glad I can always count on Breaking Defense to be a shill for the Department of the Navy and her contractors. Watching these try to operate in Iraq would have been humorous if they had not have cost so many lives and tax dollars.

    • I2eboot

      Was it “humorous” to watch Stallions flying around in Iraq? After all, over 330 servicemen have been killed in CH-53 accidents since 1969. In fact, more people were killed by the CH-53 in a week in mid 1985 than have been killed by V-22s in operational service to date.
      So I am wondering how you hark on the Osprey for “costing so many lives”…

      • Gary Church

        53’s have flown how many hours and missions compared to the V-22?

        No one is falling for your ridiculous argument; More people were killed in a week? Puh-Leez. Citing a particularly bad week in aviation history does not make the V-22 a winner. In fact, it just makes it look worse. If you matched the accident rate of the V-22 with the same hours and missions as the 53 what would you have?
        Just what it is- a widow maker.

        • I2eboot

          You’d have a CH-53 which has up to almost twice the rate, thats what.

          Class A mishap rate per 100k flight hours for USMC aircraft as of July 2012:

          MV-22: 1.93
          CH-46: 1.11
          CH-53E: 2.35
          CH-53D: 4.51
          AV-8B: 6.76
          ALL USMC: 2.45

          So, wrong again, Mr Church. The V-22 is the statistically the 2nd safest rotorcraft in the USMC inventory. And this data ia a year old, the V-22 fleet is probably over 170,000 flight hours now. I invite you to do at least an iota of research.

          http://breakingdefense.com/2011/08/09/the-v-22-safer-than-helos-effective-worth-buying/

          • Gary Church

            It is broke all the time- of course it has fewer accidents. I said missions. Being a real helicopter, the 53 does all those dangerous things the V-22 will never be able to do. The V-22 fleet is “probably” over how many hours? Do your research before you throw numbers around. If the V-22 was even capable of doing what the 53 does then you might be able to make a valid argument. The fact is, the 53 does all the things the V-22 cannot (like auto-rotate), cost’s less to maintain and fly, and is so much more likely to be put in harms way or in hard maneuvers that alone gives the V-22 a big fail. Actually it being less safe than the helicopter it is supposed to be replacing tells the whole story.

          • I2eboot

            Yeah I said “probably” because they are flying them RIGHT NOW, so its a running total. I was being conservative, its over 185,000 as of July 2013.

            “More than 200 V-22 Ospreys are currently in operation and the worldwide fleet has amassed more than 185,000 flight hours, with half of those hours logged in the past three years”

            http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2699

            If it was “broke all the time” it would certainly be hard to fly 185,000 hours on 200 ships, half in 3 years.

            Also, the V-22 can autorotate. Its a scary ride at a higher RoD, but it can do it. Ever see a CH-53 autorotate to ground? Its about the same rollercoaster. Plus, the CH-53 cant glide to a run on landing on a wing like the Osprey.

            I’ll await another one of your stellar responses without any objectivism…

          • Gary Church

            No arguing with you. You know everything. You are a god. Good luck with that next V-22 auto.

          • PhrogPhlyer

            The CH-53 & V-22 both probably autorotate like rocks, so that’s a mute point…

          • PhrogPhlyer

            These statistics say keep the CH-46…

          • I2eboot

            If you’re solely concerned with safety rates, sure. But if you want vastly improved performance almost across the board, the phrog doesnt cut the proverbial mustard. Not to mention the V22 rate is right there close with the 46 currently @ 175k hours, and has the oppotunity to drop with more flight time. Im sure the 46 amassed close to a million flight hours.

            I also believe the metal airframes were getting to the end of their fatigue lives.

          • PhrogPhlyer

            I’m not solely concerned with safety rates, but as a former pilot lives are IMPORTANT. Weapon advancements and the delivery of our troops in and out of hot LZ’s are critical to our mission as Marines. If the mission has changed then the implementation of that mission can certainly change, but not solely for the sake of change. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a V22 fan from day 1, but it just seems as though there was more of a push to figure out how to incorporate the V22 into the FMF than there was an actual, “…yeah, this is a great addition to our fleet of aircraft…”

          • I2eboot

            Lives are of the utmost importance. I think the argument has always been that the usage of the V22 will allow force projection *in addition* to things like CASEVAC and lifesaving missions outside the scope of any helicopter’s ability.

            I think the important takeaway is that by no stretch of the imagination is the V22 itself “operationally unsafe”, and that is born out in the actual data and history since its deployment in 2007.

        • Bifford J Beluga Sr.

          OWNED by I2eboot!

      • Bifford J Beluga Sr.

        The guy can’t get over the bad press the Osprey received over a decade ago. He listens to the mainstream media BS. It seems like every article or newscast I have ever read or watched on the Osprey begins with “After a troubled past”. I have personally known more Harrier pilots who have crashed than I have V-22 personnel. Nobody ever talks about the “Harrier’s troubled past, present, and future”. The only reason the Osprey has had such bad press is because of the number of casualties in the Yuma incident and 24 hour news networks. All of the other aircraft had trouble in R&D as well, but they preexisted 24 hour news networks, so the coverage wasn’t there. While I am glad there is more transparency now, it does more to incite ignorance than it does to inform.

  • Aaron Johnson

    I think the Osprey would be worth considering as candidate to fill the Army’s Joint Multirole Rotorcraft requirement. It is more tested technology than any whiz bang new prototype they currently have. I envision a MI 24 Hind type role, with it fulfilling the more overwatch and long range strike roles of the apache. The idea:
    – More powerful updated engines
    – Uparmored (perhaps even light modular add on armor? Is this possible for an aircraft? Could even be on the inside)
    – .50 caliber underbelly gatling gun that has already been tested
    – much more robust nose mounted imaging system
    – Hardpoints on sides and bottom of fuselage, inside of the rotor radius, for 30mm gun pod or APKWS rocket pods
    – Cargo bay launched AGM 176 griffin missiles
    – retains cargo carrying capabilities – obviously much less if loaded out in attack configuration, but most of this is modular and removable, leaving a medium utility aircraft.
    The result is a fleet of common aircraft capable of fulfilling utility or attack role. Then develop the Sikorsky X2 to fill the capability gaps that need to be filled by a helicopter type aircraft (lower level apache support/Kiowa Warrior roles/Huey, lower capacity blackhawk roles like medevac)

  • M&S

    >>
    …but because of the various redundant systems on board and the skill of the pilot and the crew, they were able to depart and to make it back to Camp Bastion in airplane mode. With a traditional rotorcraft, of course, you do not have the relative luxury of switching between two modes of travel
    >>
    This makes no sense. In airplane mode, the prop-rotors would be about 10 feet shorter by the time the blood splatter began dripping down the walls of the main cabin from the blade fragments coming through the fuselage. You cannot take off or land in ‘airplane mode’.
    You -can- fly that way but, gosh, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?

    I’d like to know why a Marine Battalion level deployment (that’s 1,000 men some individual or subunit of which -must- have access to handlaunch UAVs or a radio to call a bigger MAV) is going into a hot LZ without FLIR on the surrounding ridgelines, ‘the same ol’ way’ it was done in SEA?
    Are you honestly telling me that the Tali now operate with multispectral camouflage on the order of a Thellie suit?

    It boggles the mind that we have had pathfinders for the better part of 80 years and we have either forgotten or still not yet learned how to minimize risk to heavy lift in an LZ with utility and attack skids in company. There should have been eyes on this objective for at least 24hrs ahead of time, unless it was a reactive in which case you had better have your Mike Force well supported by heavy escorts as presweep, well out to the sides of a defended site.

    We have air-mech as an advocated ‘drive to the sound of gunfire’ doctrinal method of employing Gators or R-gators as a means to increase standoff while speeding up phaseline progress as multi-axis envelopment of objectives and achieved overwatch, in multiple, _off of CH-53E_.

    And yet the best we can say here is that, in order to shorten a Marine’s walk, 66 million dollars in equipment was probably ruined (composites splinter like wood when hit by gun fire and once the strength is gone, it’s gone forever, they cannot be mechanically patched like aluminum) because someone doesn’t understand basic concept of COE as-.
    Contempt Of Engagement.
    Until YOU are ready to prosecute. Which means you NEVER put the troop down ontop of an objective with your only way back out at immediate risk of an ‘all aboard’ level of Op Redwings losses.

    You patrol it in.
    Or you drive if you need the onset rate. And you have people sweep the surrounds for as far out as you need to in order to sterilize mortars, RCL and other support fires.

    • I2eboot

      I imagine there could have been damage that prevented extended flight time in helicopter mode, so by having the ability to transition to airplane would alleviate (typically higher in helicopter) loads on some of the damaged components.
      Also, I have read that the blades broomstraw with ground contact, not fracture and fragment.

      • M&S

        It still sounds like they did what they would have done under normal conditions only, driven by the desperation of being under enemy fire, they overrode the FLCS which was telling them the aircraft was unsafe. Ironic, given all the times the FLCS doesn’t breath a chirp and the aircraft still tries to kill you.

        Since 80-90% of crashes are due to pilot error and the first mistake, which caused the initial damage to a 65 million dollar aircraft _from small arms_, was to come into an LZ without sensor or pathfinder sanitzation scouting _when they had skids available_, the wisdom of the pilots remains questionable and the fact remains that they are being rewarded for saving their own asses from their own error in judgment.

        Indeed, this sounds a lot like the ‘medal hunting’ review of Predator team mission reports towards the end of the Iraqi shindig to make that mission look good.

        The difference of course is that the flying services all hate drones while there is another 120+ V-22s in the lineup for USAF/Marine procurement to bring the total to 400 or so and thus the difference between aircraft that suffer Class-A misshaps that simply aren’t reported as such vs. aircraft that get shot down for want of intelligent doctrine must be ‘spun’ in a new way that doesn’t raise questions as to the manner in which this medium-costs-like-a-heavy is used:

        “Those dastardly Talis are shooting us when we are already down!”

        Derp.

        As if that makes it not the Osprey’s too-small-a-box-to-carry-anything-useful fault when it flies like a drunken loon on paired pogosticks in a box spring factory.
        -On a good day-.

        If the USMC wants to give away DFCs for dumbness without mentioning that the U.S. is likely in the hole for 130 million bucks flying an everyday kind of mission, where trashfire tore up the equivalent of 250 house mortgages, that’s fine.

        But please don’t treat us like children endorsing an airframe which crashes at vastly more than the USMC mean 2.6 per 100,000 flying hours which the rest of the rotary wing fleet puts in. Because the corruption as coverup on that smells awful.

        You change the dollar value to retroactively exclude 1 million dollar ‘formerly Class-A’ listings. Strictly a no-no by your own rules.

        You allow no independent outside review of crashes and so it’s all on the biased observers ‘in the community’ as to what if anything is reported to Navy Flight Safety Center. Hence an aircraft which has a massive engine fire which utterly wrecks a 2 million dollar T406 only costs what you say it does, even if that’s just 10% under a 1 million dollar cap (since raised).

        Meanwhile, everyone from maintainers to retired generals are telling us that the M&R documents are _still being falsified_, even after Colonel Leber got his head handed to him for it. And so the accident rate for Osprey is vastly higher than reported and far higher than the magical mean figure for aircraft that are 30+ years older!

        http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/osprey-down/all/

        Looking at this-

        http://images.defensetech.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/V-22-Crash.jpg

        I would suggest that the fragmentation as blade shrapnel effect is indeed going to be severe. The only reason it isn’t commented upon in ‘normal’ crash investigations is because the Prop-Rotors are parallel to (and well above) the waterline of the fuselage when one of the many power surges, engine fires and other assorted ‘too much power for too small a blade’ issues causes the aircraft to DCF.

        All of which changes when you try to set down or take off in airplane mode, as the PRs axis perpendicular to plane of the fuselage means that they would shred across the line of the crew access door like a buzz saw. Even as the torque of the engines would likely flip the aircraft on it’s back, breaking the weak composite spine just behind the cockpit as it always does while letting everyone bounce up and down inside until they are a pool of goo that oozes out the front.

        • I2eboot

          You, Bob Cox, Carlton Meyer, and David Axe can keep your tin foil hats on tight, as the gigantic conspiracy must be 100% watertight keeping all of these fabled crashed V-22s totally undetectable.

          Dont forget that your source for a lot of all this propaganda, Mr. Meyer himself was bascially kicked out of the USMC at the conclusion of his initial contract. Then he fabricated false congressional testimony in an effort to smear the V22 and was caught and banned from the military.com forums for doing so.

          All information about V-22 mishaps is readily available from the Department of the Navy.

          Since Oct. 1, 2001, three Ospreys have crashed with a loss of six lives. During the same period, the U.S. military has lost 414 helicopters at a cost of 606 deaths.

          • Gary Church

            “-your claim of tampered maintenance recording-”

            Claim? It is no claim- it is one of the most heinous episodes in marine corp history- and has been covered up quite well. Those officers, most of whom now work for the manufacturer, are a disgrace. And so are you for calling it propaganda.

          • Gary Church

            “Since Oct. 1, 2001, three Ospreys have crashed with a loss of six lives.
            During the same period, the U.S. military has lost 414 helicopters at a
            cost of 606 deaths.”

            Meaningless- like everything else you have to say. There is no arguing with a deluded sycophant. The V-22 program could not be killed- even by Dick Cheney- because of the factories in selected congressional districts. It has been a nightmare- and has seen the disgrace of the Marine officer corps by way of their shameless lies and pandering to the manufacturer.

            There are always the cyberbullies that try to intimidate and crowd out critics on forums like this- and their childish insults and endless posts are validations of those trying to tell the truth and blow the whistle on the lousy racket the taxpayer is being victimized by.

            I have no respect for people who will not give their name and spout garbage that would get them slapped up the side of the head if they said it face to face. Cowardly to insult and obfuscate anonymously- cowardly and dishonorable.

            That piece of junk never should have been built and anyone with any real world experience (like me) knows it.

            You are a joke.

          • I2eboot

            You just replied to yourself with the phrase “you are a joke”.

            I could not agree more.

            Disqus comment board technology > you.

          • I2eboot

            Well seeing as how you steadfastly believe it was a coverup and has ZERO objective evidence for occuring (hearsay doesnt count, comrade, nor does the vendetta journalism of David Axe), then yes those of us who have chosen not to relinquish our objectivity view it as a “claim”.

          • Gary Church

            50 percent readiness and that is jacked up as much as possible. Unbelievably expensive to maintain.

            The lifetime cost of operating the aircraft, which are key to the
            Marines’ long-term plans, was estimated in 2008 at $74 billion. That
            estimate now stands at $121.5 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing
            Pentagon data.
            It is a hangar queen. No “Hearsay” or “vendetta journalism” here, just facts. You are a joke.

            The reader is invited to google these marines and their involvement in the wonderful V-22 program.

            Odin F. Leberman

            Nolan Schmidt

            Dennis T. Krupp

            James F. Amos

            Fred McCorkle

          • I2eboot

            “While the availability rate of the Osprey in the field has remained constant at just under 72 percent, the Marine Corps would like to see 75 percent across the board.”

            https://acc.dau.mil/adl/en-US/438299/file/56762/PBL%20from%20Seapower%20V-22%20Osprey%20-March11-Final.pdf

            “Critics have pointed to the V-22′s readiness rates and costs as yet another reason to curtail the program, but when I asked Marine Col. Greg Masiello, manager of the Joint Program Office, what their current maintenance costs are, he said they are down to $9,520 an hour at the same time they’ve substantially increased the plane’s readiness rates. “In 2010 we have had a 28 percent increase in readiness; at the same time we’ve had a 19 percent decrease in maintenance costs, as measured by cost per flight hour.”

            http://breakingdefense.com/2013/06/17/v-22-sees-up-to-100-foreign-sales-drives-flight-costs-down-boosts-readiness/

            “For every hour the Corps flies a -53E, it spends 44 maintenance hours fixing it. Every hour a Super Stallion flies it costs about $20,000″

            http://www.aviationtoday.com/rw/commercial/eng/Rotorcraft-Report_7571.html#.UgD4jZL2Z8E

            So half the cost per flight hour of CH-53E…

            Careful now, keep spouting crap and its going to start leaking out of your ears. You are embarrasing yourself.

            Would you care to list anyone with a connection to the Osprey program within…ohh….the last DECADE? Every name on the list has something to do with events in 2000/2001. But then again, so do all of your weak arguments.

            Do I really need to continue with this intellectual smackdown, or are you done yet? I mean at this point, you’re just making yourself look bad.

          • Gary Church

            Hard to argue with your numbers. Even if they are B.S. Your ad hominem attacks also show what kind of a person you are.

          • I2eboot

            Lets me get this striaght here; you called me a “joke” multiple times, then procceded to call me “cowardly and dishonorable” and I repeatedly responded with a veritable boatload of data calling out your arguments as crap (and telling you that you are making yourself look foolish)…and you contend it’s ME who is attacking character??

            Priceless!

          • Gary Church

            Your insults and arrogance- and inability to fess up to the past maintenance scandal- label you a joke and cowardly and dishonorable- so it is more stating fact than an attack. The crap flowing from my ears is thus not nearly as bad as what is coming out of you. You are just too shrill for anyone to take seriously. Which is a shame because you very occasionally make a good point;

            “Lives are of the utmost importance. I think the argument has always been
            that the usage of the V22 will allow force projection *in addition* to
            things like CASEVAC and lifesaving missions outside the scope of any
            helicopter’s ability.”

            The only thing the V-22 has going for it is the ability to get casualties to the hospital quicker than a rotary wing. That’s it. For the tremendous amount of money being spent on it that could be spent on other resources that prevent casualties- it is just not that convincing an argument. A medevac is one thing and a SAR case is another- it does not have a hoist and is not a good hoist platform anyway so it is limited as a rescue asset.

            It can fly faster than a helicopter- and it can land and take off vertically. “Let’s get this straight”= That does not even come close to making it worth what could be bought with the vast treasure that has been, is being, and will be flushed down the toilet on this monstrosity.

          • Gary Church

            And if you are going to throw it in my face again- I do not count a rescue hoist that does not work:

            http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130618/NEWS04/306180038/AF-may-use-V-22s-combat-rescue-mission

            Excerpt: Some details of the V-22’s problems hovering in hot weather were
            documented in an AFSOC accident report following the June 2012 crash of a
            CV-22 on the Florida panhandle.

            Following that crash, a second
            CV-22 attempted to hoist injured airmen, but aborted “due to the amount
            of downwash,” the accident report said. The second CV-22 also “began
            circling the crash site in airplane mode in an attempt to cool down
            their proprotor gearbox, which had begun heating up.”

            Translation- it cannot hover without overheating so it cannot hoist.

          • M&S

            Helicopters crash because they are cheaply built and used in huge numbers, representing a much larger total sortie generation percentage while operating under the harshest of operational circumstances where they are constantly exposed to ground fire, poor maintenance conditions, extended dust contamination and CFIT conditions which leaves them at extended risk of accident.

            …………………Rotary Wing Fixed Wing

            Afghanistan- 123 (27 Hostile) 37 (7 Hostile)

            ………….Iraq- 137 (47 Hostile) 23 (2 Hostile, 2 Frat)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_accidents_and_incidents_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_shootdowns_and_accidents_during_the_Iraq_War

            Having said that, with some 200 V-22 in service, one in 15 having crashed is serious consideration as, by cost, a V-22 is not a helicopter and at the equivalent replacement value of a C-130, has no business being used in an air assault operations where it is exposed to target terminal area trash fire.

            The fact that it cannot avoid doing so because it’s fuselage is too narrow to carry the kinds of vehicles which a CH-53 can, forcing Marines to act as boot infantry rather than a mounted force, is an indicator that our tactics and specifically _Marine_ force concepts are still dated by the Vietnam experience, some 45 years ago.

            A conflict much like SWA, in which we lost some 4,900 Hueys, some of them 2-3 times, to a similar threat (HMG as MANPADS and AHM) as operational (hot’n’hi, dusty) condition.

            That’s dumb because it means the Marines have learned _nothing since_ as a function of designing a platform which supports a different operational solution to the tactical problem.

            As for the engine problems and covered up/reclassified crash data, I never mentioned Meyer or any of the other bogeymen of your paranoid distress.

            I did include a LINK-

            http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/osprey-down/all/

            Which explained fully how the USMC does their own crash investigations and repair work and how this allows them to define on their own terms ‘what a Class-A misshap is’ before submission to the USN Flight Safety Center.

            It is telling that you chose not to respond in depth to the specific assertions of that article but rather to bluster your way out of any firm answer along the lines of: “The USMC does not underreport damage to our Osprey fleet and here is the total enumerated list of accidents to prove it.”

            The evidence from multiple insider sources suggests that there is fire beyond the smoke and previous bad acts on the part of the USMC to cover this issue up with Colonel Leber and the maintenance record gymnastics performed to justify the V-22 will always track USMC reputability as having the sole truth to tell.

            That’s just a fact of life.

            The sad part is that the V-22 is so vulnerable as a physical airframe to the most basic of groundfire threats that nobody will dare to ask what constant coverups of it’s associated engine nacelle issues **which are primary targets to ground fire** will do in combination to kill Marines in great numbers once the shock and awe of ‘300 knots on the way to the crash site!’ wears off as the period when the /enemy/ comes to understand how to kill big, fat, CH targets.

            Wasn’t it Sprey who said that helos in Vietnam had an 18 month introductory period and after that, the enemy came to terms with how to defeat airmobility by ambush and all our far flung ground forces became instantly as vulnerable as the means of sustaining them in the field were?

            You risk the same conditioned response by idiot forces in your rabid vision of all things Tiltrotor. Rather than taking a long hard look at what is necessary to sustain the concept of Air Mobility in general as a specific refusal to enter the target terminal area with a 65 million dollar asset.

          • I2eboot

            If you want to get into a philosophical argument over the merits of OTOH in general, then thats one thing. You can talk about that all day long, and if you want to frame your criticism of the V22 into that argument then at least that is something inherently subjective. But you are not sticking to that point.

            I guess you missed my last post regarding the class-A brouhaha. Yes, you did provide a link. A link to Wired’s Danger Room written by David Axe, who if you didnt know any better is a veritable David “Randolph Hearst” when it comes to anything V22. Like I said before, you drank his one sided argument right up, without stopping to ask the question “Does the USMC report class-A incidents ANY DIFFERENTLY for any of their other equpiment?” You seem suprised that the Marines (or any other service for that matter) would try to report any incident they have in the best light. Axe argues that they are giving the V22 special treatment….without even addressing the question if this is SOP for *all* of their aircraft. Which is why I gave the FoD injestion example for the AV-8B. An actual journalist would have at least addressed this, dont you think? I’ll give you one guess as to why Axe didnt dig into that one.

            The fact that I didnt enumerate a different list that what you can find from NAVAIR is the PRECISE point. There is no secret list, there is no evidence anywhere that validates your ridiculous assertation that there have been 13+ V22 crashes (1 in 15 V22s…your words). The fact that you want to believe otherwise, and make it a centerpiece of your argument against the Osprey’s safety is Machiavellian.

            Do yourself a favor regarding the airframe fragility assumption, you might want to talk to some actual V22 pilots from the sandbox for a little update to that. Seems you would be suprised.

            Once again curious as to why you would harp on vulnerability versus CH46 or CH47 with the prominently exposed spinal sync shaft. Wouldnt your entire argument that we shouldnt be flying V22s at spearhead have been validated by now with shootdown after shootdown (we are doing these missions every day), rather than this singular story of DFCs for an escape from your “300 kts to the crash site” scenario? Why isnt the ridiculously vulnerable V22 with its paper engine nacelles being shot down on a daily basis.

            I seem to remember the argument about 5 years ago that they were babying the V22 and keeping it out of the line of fire. Now they are proving they are flying into hot areas, and youre screaming at the doctrine. Damned if you do….

          • Mitchell Fuller

            I2eboot. What is your connection with the V-22?

  • brownie

    Bottom line: The Greyhound is PRESSURIZED to fly above bad weather with a range of 2,000 miles.
    The Greyhound CAN be rebuilt for much less and serve until 2040. AND it’s much SAFER for the deck crews to handle.
    Time for the Osprey marketing folks to move on to greener pastures.

    • I2eboot

      Can a C-2 resupply anything without a cat?

      Also, how is it objectively safer for deck crews?

  • m2120

    The USAF thinks ship fly. USN and USMC has 2-plane formations.

  • Bifford J Beluga Sr.

    Have any of the nay-sayers on this thread actually Piloted or Crewed the MV-22? Sounds like a bunch of mainstream media BS being thrown around, we all know they “always” know what they are talking about. Until you have reviewed the NATOPS manual, at minimum crewed the aircraft, and have conducted legitimate research (including DoD metrics associated with the aircraft); all of your mainstream media points are invalid and extremely ignorant. Also, I am no expert; but the data for the CH-46 is probably so low because most of the fleet has already been replaced by the V-22 (not too many flight hours there anymore folks).