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

Monday 9 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).

And some of the controls and manoeuvres in the Osprey demand actions the reverse of those helicopter pilots are used to.

So unless a former F-35 pilot fancies a change, “learning to operate a MV-22 is a complete restart for any future Royal Navy exchange pilot,” he warns.

Ospreys have been operating from the flight decks of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships fairly regularly over the past decade, but still US crews need to get used to the RN’s ways of working: different deck layouts, procedures, radio calls, lighting and so on.

“Everyone was very eager to be involved and take advantage of an excellent training opportunity for their aircrew,” says the Osprey pilot.

He says US personnel are very impressed with the new carrier – making her debut in American waters.

“They say ship is huge, very clean, awesome….the deck and Flyco team are great. Everyone I met afterwards has been glowing in their praise of the crew and of the ship.

“They were especially grateful for the hospitality shown to the Marine Corps personnel whilst onboard and also very impressed with the professionalism of the deck team. ‘I’ve never had chains attached so quickly…’

“All of these pieces together added up to a very positive view of HMS Prince of Wales and of the Royal Navy in general.”

The ship has also been hosting junior US Navy warfare officers to give them an insight into Britain’s biggest warship – and (with her sister HMS Queen Elizabeth) the world’s only fifth-generation aircraft carrier.

Officers from destroyers USS Donald Cook and Winston S Churchill (which, due to its historic connections always has a Royal Navy navigator) joined the carrier for the voyage from Mayport to Norfolk.

The ensigns integrated fully in the ship’s routines, enjoyed life in the wardroom, where they were also quick to integrate into mess life on board. And while they appreciated the bar (the US Navy is alcohol-free) they were particularly impressed by the carrier’s tech.

“It’s been great seeing how you operate on the bridge; the automation and technology on board is amazing,” said Ensign Rowell from the USS Donald Cook.

“It’s my first time coming in to Norfolk Naval Base, and to be able to tell people I did it on the British carrier is amazing. Everyone has been so friendly.”

Wednesday 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.

Saturday 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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