MV-22 Logs 100,000 Flight Hours

Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos revealed Feb. 18 at a breakfast meeting with reporters in DC that the Osprey fleet had passed a significant milestone recently with its birds deployed to Afghanistan. One of the Corps’ MV-22s deployed there had just passed its 100,000th flight hour.

“If you’re an aviator, and I am, that’s a big deal,” Amos said. He also added that the MV-22 Osprey which has been the whipping boy for decades as a death trap and budget buster “is the safest airplane, or close to the safest airplane” in the Marine Corps inventory.

I was in Washington, DC, when we lost the one on December 13, 2000. So this airplane since then has flown three combat deployments in Afghanistan, three combat deployments in Iraq and three Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments, so the aircraft is flying well.

He went on to admit that the spare parts support for the plane was jacked…mainly because the smaller companies that make some of the widgets on the complex craft were on a slow production scale to match the 10 and 1 aircraft manufacturing rate. He said he’s asked Bell-Boeing to lean on those “mom and pop shops” to boost production and get more parts to the field.

The company is working to incentivize the production folks to up their production rate so we can get what we call a deeper supply bench. Right now we’re taking a lot of the parts we have on the bench and sending them to Afghanistan. We’ve got a squadron and a half in Afghanistan now, another half squadron aboard the Kearsarge. So that’s our priority. They’re building the supply bench. It just takes time.

— Christian

  • asdf

    what’s the MTBF or incident rate (per 100k hours) or whatever is it called?

  • Krag

    You don’t make any sense. The concept of a hot lz is driven by the capacity of the cargo carried, not by the carrying vehicle – the Osprey is still delivering foot-mobile infantry just like the slicks did, so it is still required to insert and pickup those infantry at the point of decision…so hot LZs are as likely with the osprey as with the slicks of Vietnam. Don’t try to deflect with mention of Osprey-borne jeeps – those are even more ill suited for combat than the osprey itself.

    Further, the range of possible LZs is far lower for the Osprey than any slick, -46, or blackhawk due do its larger footprint – meaning the possible LZs are easier to identify by the enemy and to defend than when facing an insertion by smaller utility/light transport helos – thus increasing the likelyhood of a hot LZ for the osprey.

  • Krag

    You know how much C4 was required to clear an LZ for a single slick in vietnam – now think about how much more would be required to get an ospey into an improvised jungle LZ…

    Insertion into a jungle environment was relatively easy from a slick or a -46 with multiple rapelling points per vehicle – not so with the Osprey as it can only tolerate a single rapeller/fast rope because of its unique center of gravity issues – so offloading the same number of troops will take four times as long from an Osprey.

    The list goes on and on…yes its a revolutionary machine, but it has a large list of rather severe, and utterly unique, issues that limit its utility as a replacement for the CH46 in the USMC inventory.

  • phrogdriver

    The Osprey has THE SAME footprint as a -46.

    I’ll have to look up the exact class A mishap rate, but I remember seeing the stat last week. The V-22’s mishap rate is LOWER than the USMC average. The mishap rate in the first 100,000 flight hours is less that the UH-1, AV-8B, and CH-53.

  • Wild Bill

    You don’t need C-4 or any other explosive to open a hole in the canopy for the Osprey. You just let it hover in one spot over the top of the trees for about 5 minutes and it just set the whole forest on fire……….hahaha

  • CosmosKitten

    Rejoice Americans!

    MV-22 is a non evolutionary craft that the US has produced, and it is actually working.

  • guest

    The hate club never seems to go away? Go pick on Christina Agulera or something

  • Krag

    The downwash is not much worse than a -53, its just larger than any other “medium” lifter out there…which is bad when it tries to take on roles that conventional mediums do now, but adds the downwash of a heavy.

  • Oblat

    The marines has a two phased plan for the Osprey.

    In the first acquisition phase the aircraft will be kept safe from hot landing zones or even ordinary dust, fed a river of parts and wrapped in cotton wool each night. Once acquisition is complete they will then point out they have 130 aircraft that are not surviviable and request more money to rework them. This second phase will last 20 years and provide a lot of employment for retired marine officers.

  • Krag

    phrogdriver now you are blatantly lying, or seriously misinformed. The original spec had a pressurized cabin for flight above 10,000 feet without supplemental 02 for crew and pax – that was removed once it was realized the airframe couldn’t accomodate the pressurization gear and changes without a huge hit on weight. Yet, the travel speed and ranges of operating well above 10k are STILL used as if it can happen, when it is not possible in the fleet as there is simply no 02 system for use by pax on the osprey.

  • Krag

    All assault support helos have side and some rear mounted weapons – the Osprey hit the fleet with none and only now has one rear mounted 7.62mm MMG – the original design was for a chin mounted turret with enhanced EO targeting optic to account for the loss of side guns due to the engine nacelles.

    The original spec called for a reinforced troop cabin with ballistic protection – that was removed for weight reasons, again, after the contract was awarded. No not against 14mm + API rounds, but against small arms fire which is the single biggest cause of damage to helicopters in combat. (Threat detection systems don’t help against the number one source of damage, pity.)

    Again, the list goes on and on….

  • phrogdriver

    One, I’m not lying. Two, I fly the damn thing. I doubt any red-ribbon panel tin-foil hat type out there has any better gouge.

    I’ll see if I can find a capabilities doc from the stone age regarding the O2, but I’ll still bet a beer that by the time KPPs were actually written, they only called for NBC overpressure.

    Name a SINGLE troop carrying helo that can protect the cabin occupants against any rifle round. I know the -46, -53, and -60 can’t.

    It hit the VMM’s with a 7.62 before it was deployed. It can mount a .50 cal in the back now, and an IDWS if required.

    • Krag

      Not lying but simply horrible misinformed. I’ll give you that. Here’s a simple math challenge for you – run the numbers and see if the ever touted figures for speed and range fit with an unpressurized osprey flying at max 10k – here’s a hint – they don’t. Marine Air keeps lying (yep – lying, and I’m a Marine myself) by touting original numbers that included flying well above 10k because the osprey was originally supposed to be pressurized – the numbers don’t look nearly as dazzling when it lost the high altitude profile, but Marine Air kept spitting out the original numbers anyway.

      As to armor – the spec called for an armored pax cabin – the fleet versions have none. That is the issue – as I originally said, the number of “good” items on the Osprey kept getting whacked, while the “bad” count never went down – thus leaving us with a production model that is simply a poor fit for Marine assault support.

  • phrogdriver

    As are you. One, 13K is legal with pax. I’ve gotten well over 250 TAS even at that altitude, and with a Block B, that’ll get you plenty far.

    I really don’t give 2 sh*ts what the specs from the ’80s say. It’s a great plane, and everyone who actually has wiggled the sticks on one has come away impressed. That’s the truth, and I’m NOT misinformed.

  • CrewChief

    WTG phrogdriver…maybe Krag has slithered over to the Christina Aguilara fan site and pretended to be an expert there…

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