CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: Aircraft profile

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The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover, and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies over New Mexico during an air refueling mission.CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies over New Mexico during an air refueling mission.

Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.

Features

This versatile, self-deployable aircraft offers increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft, enabling Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions. The CV-22 can perform missions that normally would require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The CV-22 takes off vertically and, once airborne, the nacelles (engine and prop-rotor group) on each wing can rotate into a forward position

The CV-22 is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor, and other advanced avionics systems that allow it to operate at low altitude in adverse weather conditions and medium- to high-threat environments.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A flight deck crewman directs the crew of a U.S. Marine Corps CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft as they practice touch and go landings on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the ship operates in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 6, 2006. The Osprey is from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and is working on deck landing qualifications. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katie Earley, U.S. Navy.CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A flight deck crewman directs the crew of a U.S. Marine Corps CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft as they practice touch and go landings on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the ship operates in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 6, 2006. The Osprey is from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and is working on deck landing qualifications. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katie Earley, U.S. Navy.

Background

The CV-22 is an Air Force-modified version of the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey. The first two Air Force test aircraft were delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in September 2000, for flight testing. The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., began CV-22 aircrew training with the first two production aircraft in August 2006.

The first operational CV-22 was delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command's 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., January 2007. Initial operating capability is scheduled for 2009 with a total of 50 CV-22 aircraft delivered by 2017.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., makes a low approach over Lake Jackson Florala, Ala., while performing maritime operations with Navy SEALS June 28, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andy M. Kin)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., makes a low approach over Lake Jackson Florala, Ala., while performing maritime operations with Navy SEALS June 28, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andy M. Kin)

General Characteristics

Primary function: Special operations forces long-range infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply

Contractors: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Boeing Company, Defense and Space Group, Helicopter Division

Power Plant: Two Rolls Royce-Allison AE1107C turboshaft engines
Thrust: More than 6,200 shaft horsepower per engine
Wingspan: 84 feet, 7 inches (25.8 meters)
Length: 57 feet, 4 inches (17.4 meters)
Height: 22 feet, 1 inch (6.73 meters)
Rotary Diameter: 38 feet (11.6 meters)
Speed: 277 miles per hour (241 knots) (cruising speed)
Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
Maximum Vertical Takeoff Weight: 52,870 pounds (23,982 kilograms)
Maximum Rolling Takeoff Weight: 60,500 pounds (27,443 kilograms)
Range: : 2,100 nautical miles with internal auxiliary fuel tanks
Payload: 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded) or 10,000 pounds of cargo
Unit cost: $89 million (fiscal 2005 dollars)
Crew: Four (pilot, copilot and two enlisted flight engineers)
Date Deployed: 2006 (with projected initial operational capability in 2009)
Inventory: Active force, 3 (testing)

Source: USAF

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, military tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to perform missions like a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. The V-22 was developed by Bell Helicopter, which manufactures it in partnership with Boeing Helicopters. The initial operators are the United States Marine Corps and Air Force. The FAA classifies the Osprey as a model of powered lift aircraft.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies during an air refueling mission over New Mexico Oct. 5, 2006. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies during an air refueling mission over New Mexico Oct. 5, 2006. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

Development

The Department of Defense began the V-22 program in 1981, first under Army leadership, then the Navy/Marine Corps later took the lead in developing what was then known as the Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft. Full-scale development of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft began in 1986.

The V-22 was developed and is built jointly by Bell Helicopter, which manufactures and integrates the wing, nacelles, rotors, drive system, tail surfaces, and aft ramp, as well as integrates the Rolls-Royce engines, and Boeing Helicopters, which manufactures and integrates the fuselage, cockpit, avionics, and flight controls. Portions of the aircraft are manufactured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Grand Prairie, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas. Final assembly, flight testing, and delivery occurs in Amarillo, Texas. The joint development team is known as Bell Boeing.

The first of six MV-22 prototypes first flew on 19 March 1989 in the helicopter mode and on 14 September 1989 as a fixed-wing plane. The third and fourth prototypes successfully completed the Osprey's first Sea Trials on the USS Wasp in December 1990. However, the fourth and fifth prototypes crashed in 1990-91. Flight tests were resumed in August 1993 after changes were incorporated in the prototypes.

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 in Patuxent River, MD. The first EMD Flight took place on 5 February 1997. The first of four low-rate initial production aircraft, ordered on 28 April 1997, was delivered on 27 May 1999. Osprey number 10 completed the program's second Sea Trials, this time from the USS Saipan in January 1999. 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 production was again halted 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. It was claimed that the problems identified in various accidents had been addressed by the V-22 program office.

On 28 September 2005, the Pentagon formally approved full-rate production for the V-22. The plan was to boost production from 11 a year to between 24 and 48 a year by 2012. Planned production quantities include 360 for the Marine Corps, 48 for the Navy, and 50 for the Air Force. The U.S. Army, originally the lead service for the then-named JVX program, is a possible candidate for use.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: Three U.S. Air Force 58th Special Operations Wing CV-22 Osprey long-range special operations mission aircraft take off in formation from Kirtland Air force Base, N.M., on May 1, 2007, for a training mission. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines vertical takeoff, hover, and landing qualities of a helicopter with the normal flight characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: Three U.S. Air Force 58th Special Operations Wing CV-22 Osprey long-range special operations mission aircraft take off in formation from Kirtland Air force Base, N.M., on May 1, 2007, for a training mission. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines vertical takeoff, hover, and landing qualities of a helicopter with the normal flight characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)

The V-22 had a flyaway cost of $70 million per aircraft in 2007, but the Navy hopes to shave about $10 million off that price after a five-year production contract starts in 2008.

A total of 458 V-22s are expected to be built for the Marines, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy at an average unit cost of $110 million per aircraft.

Israel has shown interest in the purchase of an undisclosed number of MV-22s, but an order has not been placed or approved.

Controversy

The V-22's development process has been long and controversial. When the development budget, first projected at $2.5 billion in 1986, increased to $30 billion in 1988, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney tried to zero out its funding. He was eventually overruled by Congress. As of September 2007, the Osprey program spent $20 billion over 25 years of development, and will require another $35 billion from the Pentagon before the program is completed.

The V-22 squadron's former commander at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Lieutenant Colonel Odin Lieberman, was relieved of duty in 2001 after allegations that he instructed his unit that they needed to falsify maintenance records to make the plane appear more reliable.

The aircraft is incapable of autorotation in the case of engine failure, a fact that led a director of the Pentagon's testing office in 2005 to say that if the Osprey loses power while flying like a helicopter below 1,600 feet (490 m), emergency landings "are not likely to be survivable". But Captain Justin (Moon) McKinney, a V-22 pilot, says that this will not be a problem, "We can turn it into a plane and glide it down, just like a C-130". A complete loss of power would require the failure of both engines, as a drive shaft connects the nacelles through the wing; one engine can power both proprotors.

In 2000 Boeing announced that all V-22s were going to be fitted with a nose mounted GAU-19 Gatling gun, to provide "the V-22 with a strong defensive firepower capability to greatly increase the aircraft's survivability in hostile actions." But the GAU-19 project was canceled, leading to criticism by retired Marine General James L. Jones, who is not satisfied with the current V-22 armament.

With the first combat deployment of the MV-22 in October 2007, Time Magazine ran an article condemning the aircraft as unsafe, overpriced, and completely inadequate. The Marine Corps, however, responded with the assertion that much of the article's data was dated, obsolete, inaccurate, and with expectations that ran too high for any new field of aircraft. Design

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft - tiltCV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft - tilt

The Osprey is the world's first production tiltrotor aircraft, with one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. For takeoff and landing, it typically operates as a helicopter with the nacelles vertical (rotors horizontal). Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90° in as little as 12 seconds for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a more fuel-efficient, higher-speed turboprop airplane. STOL rolling-takeoff and landing capability is achieved by having the nacelles tilted forward up to 45°. For compact storage and transport, the V-22's wing rotates to align, front-to-back, with the fuselage. The proprotors can also fold in a sequence taking 90 seconds.

First production Osprey to join the V-22 Navy flight test program since resumption of flight evaluations in May 2002. Aircraft is shown in compact storage configuration.

First production Osprey to join the V-22 Navy flight test program since resumption of flight evaluations in May 2002. Aircraft is shown in compact storage configuration.

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 (aka: autopilot) functions which will take the aircraft from forward flight into a 50-foot hover with no pilot interaction other than programming the system.

The V-22 is a fly-by-wire aircraft with triple-redundant flight control systems. 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. This is a gradual transition which occurs over the entire 96° range of the nacelles. The lower the nacelles, the greater effect of the airplane-mode control surfaces.

The Osprey is armed with one 0.308 in (7.62 mm) machine gun pointing rearward that can be fired when the loading ramp is lowered. A GAU-19 three-barrel 0.50 in (12.7 mm) gatling gun mounted below the V-22's nose has also been studied for future upgrade. BAE Systems is also developing a remotely operated turreted weapons system for the V-22. Operational history

USMC crew training on the Osprey has been conducted by VMMT-204 since March 2000. On 3 June 2005, the Marine Corps helicopter squadron HMM-263, stood down to begin the process of transitioning to the MV-22 Osprey. On 8 December 2005, Lieutenant General Amos, commander of the 2nd 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, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (VMM-266) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 8th Special Operation Squadron and an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter from the 20th Special Operation Squadron conduct a flight near Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 20, 2008. The U.S. Air Force is retiring use of the helicopters in October 2008 and will be using CV-22’s as the primary aircraft involved in Air Force Special Operations Command missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 8th Special Operation Squadron and an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter from the 20th Special Operation Squadron conduct a flight near Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 20, 2008. The U.S. Air Force is retiring use of the helicopters in October 2008 and will be using CV-22’s as the primary aircraft involved in Air Force Special Operations Command missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)

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 crewmembers for special operations use.

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 an MV-22 had landed on any non-US vessel.

The Osprey entered operational service with the Marine Corps in 2007, in some cases replacing existing CH-46 Sea Knight squadrons. On 13 April 2007 the United States Marine Corps announced that it would be sending 10 V-22 aircraft to Iraq, the Osprey's first combat deployment. Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway, indicated that over 150 Marines would accompany the Osprey set for September deployment to Al-Asad Airfield. 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.

The Osprey has provided support in Iraq, racking up some 2000 flight hours over three months with a mission capable availability rate of 68.1% as of late January 2008. They are primarily used in Iraq's western Anbar province for routine cargo and troop movements, and also for riskier "aero-scout" missions. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, used one to fly around Iraq on Christmas Day, 2007, to visit troops. Presidential candidate Barack Obama also flew in Ospreys during his high profile 2008 tour of Iraq. The only major problem has been obtaining the necessary spare parts to maintain the aircraft. Minor problems included the engines wearing quicker than desired, on four occasions V-22s at forward bases were grounded until repairs could be made to the oil cooling systems, and on one occasion a V-22 was forced to make an emergency landing due to engine damage.

Variants

CV-22A

Air Force aircraft used as a transport from land bases.

MV-22B

Basic US 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, the MV-22B, 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. As of March 2007, the Marines have activated three operational Osprey squadrons.

CV-22B

Operated by the Air Force for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), will conduct long-range, special operations missions, and is equipped with extra fuel tanks. The Air Force officially accepted the CV-22 on 16 November 2006 in a ceremony conducted at Hurlburt Field in Northwest Florida.

HV-22B

The planned, but not-yet-funded, United States Navy HV-22 will provide combat search and rescue, delivery and retrieval of special warfare teams along with fleet logistic support transport.

Specifications (MV-22B)

Data from Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Naval Air Systems Command, and the CV-22 Air Force Fact Sheet.

General characteristics

* Crew: two pilots
* Capacity: 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded) or up to 15,000 pounds of cargo
* Length: 57 ft 4 in (17.5 m)
* Rotor diameter: 38 ft 0 in (11.6 m)
* Wingspan: 46 ft (14 m); 84 ft 7 in (including rotors))
* Height: 22 ft 1 in (overall - nacelles vertical) (17 ft 11 in 5.5 m (at top of tailfins))
* Disc area: 2,268 ft² (212 m²)
* Wing area: 301.4 ft² (28 m²)
* Empty weight: 33,140 lb (15,032 kg)
* Loaded weight: 47,500 lb (21,500 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 60,500 lb (27,400 kg)
* Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce Allison Rolls-Royce T406 (AE 1107C-Liberty) turboshafts, 6,150 hp (4,590 kW) each

Performance

* Maximum speed: 275 knots (316 mph, 509 km/h)
* Cruise speed: 214 knots (246 mph, 396 km/h) at sea level
* Range: 879 nmi (1,011 mi, 1,627 km) (unrefueled)
* Combat radius: 370 nmi (430 mi, 690 km)
* Ferry range: 2,417 nm (2,781 mi, 4,476 km)
* Service ceiling 26,000 ft (7,925 m)
* Rate of climb: 2,320 ft/min (11.8 m/s)
* Disc loading: 20.9 lb/ft² @ 47,500 lb GW (102.23 kg/m²)
* Power/mass: 0.259 hp/lb (427 W/kg)

More photos:

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Straight on front view medium shot of a US Marine MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft as Marines from Bravo Company, 8th Marine Regiment, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, load into the back of the aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina.MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Straight on front view medium shot of a US Marine MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft as Marines from Bravo Company, 8th Marine Regiment, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, load into the back of the aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina.

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A Landing Signal Enlisted (LSE) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (BM) visually guides an MV-22B Osprey in for a landing aboard the USS SAIPAN (LHA 2).MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A Landing Signal Enlisted (LSE) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (BM) visually guides an MV-22B Osprey in for a landing aboard the USS SAIPAN (LHA 2).

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A MV-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Helicopter taxis during operational testing and evaluation.MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A MV-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Helicopter taxis during operational testing and evaluation.

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A MV-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Helicopter airborne over the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station runway during operational testing and evaluation.MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A MV-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Helicopter airborne over the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station runway during operational testing and evaluation.

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft is displayed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, N.C., June 1, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. John A. Krake)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft is displayed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, N.C., June 1, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. John A. Krake)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204), Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., flies over the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding areas in Florida March 30, 2007. Marines from VMMT-204 are on a two-week training exercise at Hurlburt Field, Fla., to allow pilots and other aircrew members the opportunity to train in a different environment and navigate over unknown terrain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andy M. Kin)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204), Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., flies over the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding areas in Florida March 30, 2007. Marines from VMMT-204 are on a two-week training exercise at Hurlburt Field, Fla., to allow pilots and other aircrew members the opportunity to train in a different environment and navigate over unknown terrain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andy M. Kin)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron Two Six Three takes off Feb. 21, 2007, from amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHD 4) during night flight operations while under way in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew King)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron Two Six Three takes off Feb. 21, 2007, from amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHD 4) during night flight operations while under way in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew King)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft prepares to land aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean, July 10, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Darby Allen)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22 Osprey aircraft prepares to land aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean, July 10, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Darby Allen)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Two MV-22 Osprey aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 land on the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload June 30, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pedro A. Rodriguez)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Two MV-22 Osprey aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 land on the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload June 30, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pedro A. Rodriguez)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter exits the back of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 after receiving a demonstration flight from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., to Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 11, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter exits the back of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 after receiving a demonstration flight from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., to Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 11, 2007. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with U.S. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 prepares to land on the flightl ine aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, for the first time Oct. 4, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with U.S. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 prepares to land on the flightl ine aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, for the first time Oct. 4, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A U.S. Marine Corps crew chief watches as an MV-22 Osprey aircraft, assigned to Fixed Wing Marine Medium Tilt Rotar Squadron 162, prepares for take off from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Aug. 22, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. William L. Dubose III/Released)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A U.S. Marine Corps crew chief watches as an MV-22 Osprey aircraft, assigned to Fixed Wing Marine Medium Tilt Rotar Squadron 162, prepares for take off from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Aug. 22, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. William L. Dubose III/Released)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flies over the Al Anbar Province of Iraq during a mission out of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flies over the Al Anbar Province of Iraq during a mission out of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Henry Weaver, chief of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera, takes video of an MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 as it prepares to land at Camp Korean Village, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael L. Haas)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Henry Weaver, chief of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera, takes video of an MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 as it prepares to land at Camp Korean Village, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael L. Haas)

MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flies over the Al Anbar Province of Iraq during a mission out of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flies over the Al Anbar Province of Iraq during a mission out of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey piloted by AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Michael W. Wooley makes a low pass during the Air Force 60th Anniversary commemoration at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery.CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey piloted by AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Michael W. Wooley makes a low pass during the Air Force 60th Anniversary commemoration at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery.

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Air Force Special Operations Command's first CV-22 Osprey taxis into place after arriving at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The aircraft will be flown by the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland to train future AFSOC Osprey pilots. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Air Force Special Operations Command's first CV-22 Osprey taxis into place after arriving at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The aircraft will be flown by the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland to train future AFSOC Osprey pilots. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Crewmembers filming from Beyond Productions, for the new Discovery Channel show, ?Cool Things and How They Work,? interview Lt. Col. Todd Lovell, 71st Special Operations Squadron director of operations March 12. The crew spent March 12 and 13 with the 71st Special Operations Squadron gathering footage on the ground and while flying in the CV-22 Osprey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Crewmembers filming from Beyond Productions, for the new Discovery Channel show, ?Cool Things and How They Work,? interview Lt. Col. Todd Lovell, 71st Special Operations Squadron director of operations March 12. The crew spent March 12 and 13 with the 71st Special Operations Squadron gathering footage on the ground and while flying in the CV-22 Osprey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Two CV-22 Osprey aircraft, assigned to the 71st Special Operations Squadron, part of the 58th Special Operations Wing, take off en-route to a night training mission Tuesday here. The units train mission-ready special operations, combat search and rescue and missile site support airlift crews directly supporting Air Expeditionary Forces. The Osprey is the newest addition to the Air Force aircraft inventory and is designed to be used for special operations missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Two CV-22 Osprey aircraft, assigned to the 71st Special Operations Squadron, part of the 58th Special Operations Wing, take off en-route to a night training mission Tuesday here. The units train mission-ready special operations, combat search and rescue and missile site support airlift crews directly supporting Air Expeditionary Forces. The Osprey is the newest addition to the Air Force aircraft inventory and is designed to be used for special operations missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Kyrgyzstan military officials tour the inside of a 58th Special Operations Wing CV-22 Osprey here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Kyrgyzstan military officials tour the inside of a 58th Special Operations Wing CV-22 Osprey here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Three reporters working with the History Channel, accompanied by James Darcy (kneeling), V-22 Osprey Program public affairs officer, and a flight engineer from the 71st Special Operations Squadron, film a CV-22 Osprey during a training mission at a landing zone here for a show called Modern Marvels ? Military Movers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Three reporters working with the History Channel, accompanied by James Darcy (kneeling), V-22 Osprey Program public affairs officer, and a flight engineer from the 71st Special Operations Squadron, film a CV-22 Osprey during a training mission at a landing zone here for a show called Modern Marvels ? Military Movers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey awaits its next mission on the ramp at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The tilt-rotor Osprey, which has the speed of a conventional airplane and the ability to hover like a helicopter, gives warfighters the ability to perform missions that would otherwise require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey awaits its next mission on the ramp at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The tilt-rotor Osprey, which has the speed of a conventional airplane and the ability to hover like a helicopter, gives warfighters the ability to perform missions that would otherwise require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- An Airman salutes the pilot of a CV-22 Osprey here before its departure from the runway here. The CV-22 program has reached another milestone as the 58th Special Operations Wing, here, announced Jan. 30 that they have the aircraft, maintenance infrastructure and training cadre ready to begin training aircrews for the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- An Airman salutes the pilot of a CV-22 Osprey here before its departure from the runway here. The CV-22 program has reached another milestone as the 58th Special Operations Wing, here, announced Jan. 30 that they have the aircraft, maintenance infrastructure and training cadre ready to begin training aircrews for the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: With the CV-22 Osprey soaring above the skies at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., it’s perhaps a sign of the aircraft’s resiliency, having overcome heavy controversy in the press and in Congress the past few years. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: With the CV-22 Osprey soaring above the skies at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., it’s perhaps a sign of the aircraft’s resiliency, having overcome heavy controversy in the press and in Congress the past few years. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Tandem jumpers from the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team freefall below an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey over MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The Osprey and aircrew are from the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Department of Defense photo)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Tandem jumpers from the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team freefall below an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey over MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The Osprey and aircrew are from the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Department of Defense photo)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey flies over a C-130 Hercules and the U.S. Forest Service's Albuquerque Air Tanker Base as C-130 aircrews from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command began arriving April 30 for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System training at the air tanker base in New Mexico. The CV-22 is based at the 58th Special Operations Wing from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and the C-130 is from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey flies over a C-130 Hercules and the U.S. Forest Service's Albuquerque Air Tanker Base as C-130 aircrews from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command began arriving April 30 for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System training at the air tanker base in New Mexico. The CV-22 is based at the 58th Special Operations Wing from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and the C-130 is from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey prepares for takeoff. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey prepares for takeoff. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey takes off from Hurlburt Field, Fla. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: An 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey takes off from Hurlburt Field, Fla. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Smoke billows as an 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey prepares for takeoff. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Smoke billows as an 8th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey prepares for takeoff. The mission was to perform the first military freefall jump from an Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Air Force special tactics Airmen practice fast-roping from a CV-22 Osprey at Hurlburt Field, Fla., May 22, 2007. The Osprey is flown by Air Force Special Operations Command's 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery) (Released)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Air Force special tactics Airmen practice fast-roping from a CV-22 Osprey at Hurlburt Field, Fla., May 22, 2007. The Osprey is flown by Air Force Special Operations Command's 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt. (US Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery) (Released)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: The largest Air Force CV-22 Osprey formation to date lifts off from a Kirtland taxiway May 1. The formation consisted of four Ospreys, three from Kirtland and one from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Markus MaierCV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: The largest Air Force CV-22 Osprey formation to date lifts off from a Kirtland taxiway May 1. The formation consisted of four Ospreys, three from Kirtland and one from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Markus Maier

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A formation of CV-22 Ospreys flies over the auxillary field here. This formation, which was flown on May 1, was the largest to date for the Air Force. U.S. Air Force Photo by Todd BerengerCV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: A formation of CV-22 Ospreys flies over the auxillary field here. This formation, which was flown on May 1, was the largest to date for the Air Force. U.S. Air Force Photo by Todd Berenger

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: Two U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft, 58th Training Squadron, prepare to take off during a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: Two U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft, 58th Training Squadron, prepare to take off during a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Staff Sgt. Jason Hall (right) and Tech. Sgt. Dennis Bracey, with the 71st AMU, signal a CV-22 pilot to start engines prior to taking off for a mission at Kirtland. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft: Staff Sgt. Jason Hall (right) and Tech. Sgt. Dennis Bracey, with the 71st AMU, signal a CV-22 pilot to start engines prior to taking off for a mission at Kirtland. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft, 58th Training Squadron, performs a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft, 58th Training Squadron, performs a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey, 58th Training Squadron, performs a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, Sept.19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey, 58th Training Squadron, performs a training mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, Sept.19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 58th Training Squadron performs a training mission near Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 58th Training Squadron performs a training mission near Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 58th Training Squadron performs a training mission near Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 58th Training Squadron performs a training mission near Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 19, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A flight deck crewman directs the crew of a U.S. Marine Corps CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft as they practice touch and go landings on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the ship operates in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 6, 2006. The Osprey is from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and is working on deck landing qualifications. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katie Earley, U.S. Navy.CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A flight deck crewman directs the crew of a U.S. Marine Corps CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft as they practice touch and go landings on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the ship operates in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 6, 2006. The Osprey is from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and is working on deck landing qualifications. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katie Earley, U.S. Navy.

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft performs a fly over at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 12, 2006, during Aviation Nation 2006 air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft performs a fly over at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 12, 2006, during Aviation Nation 2006 air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft lands in the parking lot of the Pentagon Oct. 14, 2006. The aircraft is one of many that will be on display during the United States Air Force Memorial dedication ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Gary R. Coppage)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft lands in the parking lot of the Pentagon Oct. 14, 2006. The aircraft is one of many that will be on display during the United States Air Force Memorial dedication ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Gary R. Coppage)

CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies during an air refueling mission over New Mexico Oct. 5, 2006. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft: A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flies during an air refueling mission over New Mexico Oct. 5, 2006. The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

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