Showing posts with label Osprey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Osprey. Show all posts

09 December, 2023

US grounds V-22 Osprey

Reluctantly the United States Armed Forces has grounded all of its V-22 Osprey aircraft following a crash off the coast of Yakushima Island coast of Japan on 29th November.  

In the hours after the Japanese crash, which cost the lives of all eight service personnel onboard, the authorities of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture requested that all Ospreys on the island chain be grounded. 

The Pentagon claims not to have had an official request to ground the strange-looking tilt-rotor craft but has finally confirmed the suspension of all operational activities until the cause of the crash is known.  The U.S. Navy's Naval Air Systems Command confirmed the grounding applies to all Navy’s variants of the aircraft, including the Marine Corps MV-22B, the Navy’s CMV-22B, V-22 and the CMV-22.

NAVAIR issued a statement which said:  “Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time.  While the mishap remains under investigation, we are implementing additional risk mitigation controls to ensure the safety of our service members. - The Joint Program Office continues to communicate and collaborate with all V-22 stakeholders and customers, including allied partners.”

Despite having a remarkable appearance and being seen around the world as part of the airborne entourage that accompanies the U.S. President on various trips, the  V-22 Osprey has had a rather troubled past. There have been somewhere in the region of 15 crashes of the type which caused the deaths of more than 60 service personnel. A particularly concerning record when you consider the U.S. Armed Forces have a fleet of less than 500 Osprey aircraft and the programme has cost many billions of dollars, some estimates are as high as $70 billion.   

However,  will the Osprey survive this latest grounding, will it soar to new heights in the months to come or has it become time to put these birds to bed for the final time?    I guess that's really just a question for after the current investigations are completed, or how much more money Boeing will pump into the programme to keep the authorities on side?  

09 October, 2023

‘More plane than helicopter’ – UK Royal Navy pilot flies US Marines’ unique Osprey from HMS Prince of Wales

This is the impressive sight of an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor lifting off at dusk from the deck of Britain’s biggest warship.  And at the controls one Fleet Air Arm pilot – on exchange with the US Marine Corps.

His crew was one of 14 from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing who qualified to operate from the deck of HMS Prince of Wales – one element of a key theme of the Portsmouth-based warship’s autumn deployment to the USA: interaction and cooperation with our US allies.

The MV-22 Osprey has a similar payload capacity to the Merlin Mk4 used by the Royal Marines – a couple of dozen troops fully kitted out – but can carry them higher, faster (up to 150mph) and further (upwards of 400 miles) into battle.

“The key difference is that the US Marine Corps views the MV-22 as a fixed-wing asset which can land and take off vertically – as opposed to a helicopter that can fly faster and further,” explained the pilot whom we cannot identify for security reasons.

He’s a wealth of front-line experience in Merlin Mk2s and trained Fleet Air Arm pilots of the future at RAF Shawbury and 705 NAS before coming the exchange on the MV-22.

With the Osprey flying 90 per cent of the time in ‘aeroplane mode’, it’s treated and flown as such (the fast jet community had a lot of influence on how it is operated, especially low-level tactics and formation flying).

13 April, 2022

Royal Navy completes largest Arctic defence exercise since the Cold War

Photo Royal Navy / Crown Copyright

More than 3,000 sailors and Royal Marines were deployed deep inside the Arctic Circle – ashore, at sea and in the skies of Norway – to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to safeguarding Europe’s ‘northern flank’ against any aggressor.

They joined more than 27,000 personnel, warships, armour, and air power from more than two dozen NATO allies and partners for Cold Response 2022, the largest military exercise hosted in Norway since the Cold War.

Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Prince of Wales, led the naval fleet, demonstrating her ability to act as NATO command ship – a role she will hold for the rest of 2022.

This was the first time one of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers has been so far north, with more than 1,000 sailors gaining their first experience of operating in the Arctic region.

Royal Navy sailors pushed the boundaries of what the 65,000-tonne flagship can do, as the crew developed new ways of working and coping with temperatures as low as -30 Celsius.

HMS Prince of Wales commanding officer, Captain Steve Higham,  “As we continue to operate in and around the Arctic with our allies and partners, the sailors on HMS Prince of Wales are continuing to learn the skills, and build the experience that allow the Royal Navy to push the boundaries of UK carrier operations in the cold, harsh environment.”

Photo Royal Navy / Crown Copyright
The ship’s role in the exercise saw her work side-by-side with a breadth of British and Allied air power from F-35B Lightning stealth fighters to the Americans’ unique Osprey MV22 tiltrotor aircraft and Sea Stallion helicopters.

The fortnight-long exercise – on top of several months of preparatory training both in the UK and Arctic – allowed the Royal Navy to demonstrate some of its unique capabilities, from launching commando raids from submarines to operating a fifth-generation aircraft carrier in sub-zero conditions for the first time.

The Royal Marines practised and honed new raiding tactics for stealth missions on the treacherous Norwegian coastline, supported by host nation forces, as well as conducting more regular manoeuvres and drills honed over more than half a century as the UK’s experts in Arctic warfare.

Meanwhile, divers from HMS Grimsby plunged into the icy fjords to neutralise mines and pave the way for task forces to sail through safely.

19 March, 2022

US Osprey crashes in Norway as part of NATO exercise killing four.

AP is reporting that four U.S. Marines have been killed close to a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle following a crash of their Osprey aircraft which was taking part in a NATO exercise.

Photo Boeing

The Marines from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, were taking part in the 'Cold Response' NATO exercise which has seen forces from many countries on land sea and air come together. The aircraft was an MV-22B Osprey, which according to U.S. authorities  "had a crew of four and was out on a training mission in Nordland County" northern Norway.  The names of the deceased have not been disclosed at this stage. 

Initial reports indicate the Osprey was heading north to Bodoe, where it was scheduled to land just before 18:00 Friday evening. The aircraft crashed in Graetaedalen in Beiarn, south of Bodoe. A search and rescue mission was launched immediately, the police said and then early this morning they arrived at the scene, confirming all four of the crew had died.

An investigation is underway into the cause of the crash and weather is likely to have played a part in the incident which was said to be stormy and windy at the time. 
Photo Boeing
NATO has advised that the Cold Response exercise will continue on until its scheduled end date of 1st April. 

V-22 Osprey: 
Boeing says the V-22 Osprey is a joint service multirole combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop aeroplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. This combination results in global reach capabilities that allow the V-22 to fill an operational niche, unlike any other aircraft.

Photo Boeing

V-22 Osprey Technical Specifications

PropulsionTwo Rolls-Royce AE1107C, 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) each
LengthFuselage: 57.3 ft. (17.47 m); Stowed: 63.0 ft. (19.20 m)
WidthRotors turning: 84.6 ft. (25.78 m); Stowed: 18.4 ft. (5.61 m)
HeightNacelles vertical: 22.1 ft. (6.73 m); Stabilizer: 17.9 ft. (5.46 m)
Rotor Diameter38.1 ft (11.6 m)
Vertical Takeoff Max Gross Weight52,600 lbs. (23,859 kg)
Max Speed270 kts (500 km/h) @ SL
Mission Radius428 nm – MV-22 Blk C with vertical takeoff - 24 troops,
ramp mounted weapon system, SL STD, 20 min loiter time
525 nm - Short takeoff technique (Rolling Takeoff)
Cockpit - crew seats2 MV / 3 CV / 2 CMV

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