THE PENTAGON: The Marines say the V-22 tilt rotor aircraft has deployed and flown “with properly trained and equipped combat ready Marines and mission capable aircraft” over the last six years. That statement stands in stark contrast to the findings of a classified Pentagon Inspector General’s report released late Friday afternoon. In an unclassified summary, the… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin have agreed on the terms of a deal for the Defense Department to buy two lots of F-35s for $7 billion. The big question now is the average price per plane for each tranche (LRIP 6 and 7). While we’ve confirmed with two sources that the deal… Keep reading →
Marines Will Sacrifice Everything But ACV & Readiness To Sequester; Marine Personnel Carrier Dropped: Gen. AmosBy Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
WASHINGTON: Fewer F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, AH-1 Cobras, and UH-1 Hueys. No Marine Personnel Carrier. Maybe no Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace the Humvee. 8,000 fewer Marines on active duty. The Marine Commandant has put all that on the table as part of his proposal to the Defense Secretary’s Strategic Choices and… Keep reading →
Time was, only a masochist could enjoy managing the V-22 Osprey program office. The Marines put the tiltrotor troop transport into service in 2007 after a quarter of a century of development that included design problems, a four-year battle pitting the Corps and their pro-Osprey allies in Congress and industry against a sitting defense secretary, repeated schedule delays and cost overruns, three fatal crashes that led the Pentagon to consider cancelling the helicopter-airplane hybrid in 2001 and an unrelenting drumbeat of media and other criticism.
How much have things changed? Today, the ninth Osprey program manager, Marine Col. Greg Masiello, can honestly say: “It’s a great time to be the joint program manager of the V-22.” Keep reading →
A christening of a ship of the line is rare. When it happens, thoughts of how that ship might be used, where it might operate and how it might make new naval history are part of the excitement.
This was clearly evident at the Oct. 20 christening of the USS America, the fourth ship of that name, in Pascagoula, Miss. This ship is not only the lead ship in a new class but will integrate the newest aircraft of the Marine-Navy team aboard a single operational platform at sea. F-35 Bravos, Ospreys and CH-53Ks will fly from her in the years to come. The first ship will operate out of San Diego, sure to be part of the Pacific Century. Keep reading →
The Air Force plans to reinstate substantial formation flight training for CV-22 Osprey pilots that it eliminated four years ago, AOL Defense has learned. Reinstatement of the training four years after the service ended it is an implicit admission, V-22 aviators said, that better training might have prevented the June 13 crash of a CV-22B in Florida.
From now on, Air Force pilots going through initial Osprey flight training with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., will take a classroom course in formation flight, fly two formation flights of two hours each in a V-22 simulator, and fly one actual two-hour formation flight in the tiltrotor troop transport. Keep reading →
In the last few weeks the Air Force and the Marines have officially blamed pilot errors for two Osprey crashes. Given the plane’s dark past and the continuing controversies about whether it’s a safe aircraft I commissioned our regular contributor Richard Whittle, author of “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey,” to interview as many experienced Osprey pilots as he could reach to see if they believe the Osprey is a flawed aircraft or not. His findings follow. The Editor
UPDATED: 4:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 2012 Keep reading →
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: As war funding goes away, Marines must learn to live with “good enough” in an era of austerity, Commandant James Amos declared today at the National Press Club, saying that even top-priority programs like the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor face the budget axe.
Even without sequestration, the half-trillion in cuts over 10 years already imposed by last year’s Budget Control Act are “going to have an impact on the amount of things we’re able to buy,” Gen. Amos said. “Right now we’ve not adjusted the top numbers, the program of record, [for] what we plan on buying on V-22s and JSFs. [But] over time, especially if sequestration hits, we’re going to have to take a look at the total numbers.” Keep reading →
This September, the controversial Osprey will reach the five-year mark in its operational deployment history. In September 2007, the Osprey was deployed for the first time to Iraq. The plane has not only done well, but in five short years has demonstrated its capability to have not only a significant impact on combat but to reshape thinking about concepts of operations.
In this piece, I would like to reflect back on these five years, not just to grasp lessons learned, but glimmers of where the plane, and the Navy-Marine Corps team might be able to move into the future. The story of the evolution of the con-ops surrounding the plane provides a solid foundation for innovation and transformation of concepts of operations, if boldness overcomes timidity. Keep reading →