Presidential Ospreys Get a Paint Job

Osprey Marine One 1The first MV-22 Ospreys set to fly presidential support missions for Marine Helicopter Squadron One have arrived at Quantico, Va., and they received a new paint job.

The Ospreys will not be white tops like the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60 White Hawks, which get their nickname from the white paint job up top. These are the helicopters that carry the President of the United States. Instead, the Ospreys were painted green as they will carry presidential support staff and the media.

The Marines started flight operations with the Osprey on April 26, however the tilt-rotor aircraft will not start carrying reporters and presidential support staff until later in 2013, according to the Marine announcement.

Questions remain how the Ospreys will work together with the Sea King and White Hawks. The Osprey is significantly faster than either the Sea King or the White Hawk. The tilt-rotor Osprey flies at 280 knots, according to a Marine fact sheet. The Sea King has a maximum speed of about 166 knots and the White Hawk has a maximum speed of 159 knots, according to Navy statistics.

If anything, the support staff will be able to arrive much earlier than the president depending on where they are flying.

Of course, the Osprey has faced a checkered crash history. However, Marine officials now refer to it as their safest aircraft after it’s faced a rigorous operations tempo for the past four years in Afghanistan. The Osprey has been able to prove the Osprey’s worth delivering Marines and supplies over the long distances between forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

Osprey Marine One 2


About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Musson

    The Osprey was the clear winner in the search for a replacement aircraft for the Presidential entourage. Of course the only criteria they were judged on was: What is the most expensive way to get from point A to point B.

    • Kim

      Plus – possibly – “What is the coolest way of getting from point A to point B?”

    • FormerDirtDart

      Yeah, why would the USMC replace the CH-46s assigned to HMX-1 with the same aircraft they are replacing all Corps CH-46s with?
      Obviously, they should have procured an entirely different aircraft than is used, or will be used anywhere in the Corps.
      You know, so a bunch of morons can have something real to complain about.

      • blight_

        To be fair, Marine 1 is going to be those old Sea Kings, and the Sea King is going to disappear from the Navy soon.

        There a reason POTUS can’t use a Chinook as Marine 1?

        • CharleyA

          Chinook is pretty big, like H-53 big. The Marines are clearly trying to maneuver the Osprey into the Presidential mission (and AEW, COD and tanker missions,) although it cannot autorotate like a conventional heli. Whatever aircraft finally wins the competition is going to be expensive. My money is on the H-92 airframe.

          • blight_

            Well, the Ospreys are going to support the Marine One mission, but my comment was more that Marine One is still ancient (especially after the VXX fiasco), and once the Sea King is replaced in the Navy, will be far more difficult to support.

          • jamesb

            Good Bet!

        • FormerDirtDart

          Ummm..the Sea Kings have already disappeared from the US Navy.
          Yes the only Sea Kings flown by the US Military are in HMX-1, but, they are legacy aircraft. I would offer that it was odder to see Army pilots sharing the Sea Kings duties prior to ’76 when the USMC took soul possession of the task.
          Also, both the VH-3 & VH-60 serve as the regular “Marine 1”

          As for using a CH-47, I would say it is probably way more helicopter than needed for “Marine 1”, and neither the Navy nor Marines fly it. though, Boeing is said to be offering a -47 derivative for the new VXX program.

          Now, whatever helicopter is selected in VXX, I think it would be smart to have HMX-1 as type pure a squadron as possible, using as common as possible mil-grade a/c to the VIP a/c. Though probably need to keep a few VH-60s for away games, unless they select an a/c that easily folds up and packs away in a C-17.

          • blight_

            I figured they were gone, but I imagined there would be some niche case somewhere I had not forseen.

            I’m perplexed. The VH-60 exists, so why did we have VXX, unless VH-60 “doesn’t do enough”?

          • FormerDirtDart

            Doesn’t carry enough people. I believe the VH-60 has half as many (or less) seats than the VH-3

          • jamesb

            …..actually Obama HAS flown in a Army One Chinook Helo into Afghanistan on one of his ‘secret’ trips….

          • retired462

            Yes, more helicopter than needed; and in tough times you can say that a Boeing 747 aircraft is much too big an aircraft for short trips by the prez. Especially since he has gulfstreams etc. for that purpose.


          Yeah, a Chinook won’t be bad. A bunch of space for the president to plan, whatever that may be. I think one big thing is if the Marine Corp can make it land on the White House Lawn, I would imagine.

      • BosunBob

        Well said.

  • Frank

    There is absolutely no need for this type of aircraft in the Presidential fleet. This is a case of some idiot gov’t employee just wanting the most expensive aircraft to show off to everyone.
    And people wonder why America is almost 20 trillion dollars in debt….

  • Jayson

    I believe the old birds can fly only so long till the airframes age so much they can’t handle the stresses anymore and fall out of the sky with a catastrophic failure. They frankly need replacing bad, why not have the whole entourage and president have the Osprey? If the Marines love them to death and demonstrated operations stability and reliability … it’ll be foolish to put it off. Then the speed, the faster the better right? Then sell the old retired heli’s to Canada. They’ll buy anything if verbally “packaged” right to justify the purchase.

    • jamesb

      They DID sell the 101’s to Canada….

      But I’d bet you knew that, eh?

      • blight_

        What’s funny is that the civilian version does come in a VIP version.

        Would it have been so hard to buy COTS and upgrade them aftermarket? Betting that’s how Stealth Blackhawk came to be: I doubt it could’ve been kept under wraps by writing an RFP…

    • Ajjax

      I agree. This type of platform will show dubious needs regarding presidential mission support. The helos work fine so why fix something that’s not broken. These platforms are designed for in theater operations at best. Any type of pseudo civilian applications wouldn’t be touched with a ten foot pole.

  • jamesb

    If you want sell an a/c type ?

    Why not put where the media can see it?

    The current actual helo’s transporting the President are as old as the hills….

    Look for an American type from Boeing or Sikorsky to get picked to succeed the SeaKnights….

    Don’t cross you fingers when the new Presidential Helo’s are gonna get here….Could be more than a decade out….

  • jamesb

    Cause his handlers are SMART….

    • Vic Peters

      The new Osprey is as safe as any helicopter and much faster. While I don’t care what happens to the idiot in the white house, I feel that the President should be as safe as possible and able to get to secure places as fast as possible. That is in an Osprey.


    Well, got my wish to see the paint job. Not bad looking!

  • Lance

    Well its better to get support staff there first any way before the Pres. he need security and equipment ready. So its good to keep the Sea King flying but use ospreys for support crews.

  • Lance

    Oh I agree I wouldn’t trust USMC Brass since they wanted the MV-22 anyway and lead to it being rushed to service with fatal consequences for crew and marines flying it. Its not the safest bird out there by far.

    • rudyh60

      We real aviators know, and Right On you are!!

  • Restore Palestine

    This is truly a poorly designed and ugly looking plane. It’s fuel inefficient, and aerodynamically unstable.

    • Joe Mamma

      so is an F-16…………

      • Restore Palestine

        Osprey is no f-16. No comparison there.

    • rudyh60

      We keep tellin’ ’em to dig out the 1950’s ‘cancelled’ version of the ‘Osprey’ with the jet thrusters on gimbal system…..They flew!… the U.S. and German politicos dumped the program…rotors are archaic for this mission aircraft………


      Oh yeah. Of course it is. Its not like it has long range, or it IS aerodynamically stable with flight computers. Jealous Puti and his comrades have nothing like it?

    • Vic Peters

      Don’t know what you are talking about. The revised Osprey is a safe and stable aircraft. I have flown in them

  • Rick Eriksen

    Great new look for the Osprey. Suk on that Finland!

    • Juuso

      What Finland has to do with Presidential Osprey?


      Uhm. Finland. A country with better education. Yeah, connection?

  • hammer6048

    What a waste of precious military resources. How come this was not cut for sekester reasons?


      It was purchased before the “sekester”.

    • Jeff

      What is a sekester?

      • joe

        “Qu” was reduced to “K” for budgetary reasons under the sequestration policy.

        • blight_

          K Street lobbyists have decided to replace Qu with K, just to show that their ownership extends beyond politicians and now to our spelling.

          All glory to newspeak and Ingsoc

  • sandra

    the president is a waste of resources… the military would do a much better job of running this country.

    • blight_

      Pinochet agrees, along with the ghost of Colonel Hugo Chavez and Sergeant Idi Amin, who ran their countries as military dictators.

      I have nothing against military men running as civilians, but being in the military isn’t an automatic guarantor of virtue. The problem is that we assume generals have a monopoly on virtue, and so those are the guys civilians turn to for advice. We are learning now that they are…human.

      • SJE

        Also Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il Sung, Pervez Musharraf, Saddam Hussein, Assad, Ghaddaffi…..

        The brilliance of the US is that General Washington hung up his sword before becoming commander in chief, and that he left when his term ended.


          He left PEACEFULLY, which was important. At the time, between all the revolutions and Kings and Queens, it was interesting to see a relatively peaceful chain of command. Still lasts today, in fact.


      Let me direct your attention to North Korea. Yeah, does military rule still look appealing now?

      • wlodell


    • joe

      The military fights the enemies of the state, the civil government serves and protects the people. When the former and the latter become the same, historically “the enemies of the state” and “the people” tend to become the same as well…

    • Eternal Patriot

      Sandra, What a great idea! I totally agree. Unfortunately, I fear politics would get in the way of deciding which 4-star general should be in charge, with the result that we would be right back to where we are today! :-(

    • wlodell


  • Dfens

    I’m not a big fan of Obama, but I still hope Biden gets more time in this vehicle than the president.

  • Diego

    I’m just wondering why it’s not the new model? Maybe testing isn’t done yet or manufacturing. I know they have a new model with the props that move without taking the whole engine with it. It’s supposed to be much safer.

    • FormerDirtDart

      I believe you are referencing the Bell V-280, which doesn’t actually exist.

  • Colgate
  • Russell

    They need to recall all the Ospreys from the AOR and repaint them if they will be flying Obama and his staff.


      Why? It has the right markings. It doesn’t have a Maple Leaf accidentally painted on the side.

  • haloguy628

    Dear Leader must be scared so only support staff will fly the Osprey. He will gladly lead from behind in the 40 years old helo.

  • Vitsing

    The White House, Department of Defense and Media all need a Long Time Out here. I find it amazing that we have money for this effort to fly Presidential support staff and the media all around the country and probably the world; however, we don’t seem to have money to allow our children to visit our White House or continue the airshows and static displays of the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Golden Knights that are a part of America’s tradition.

  • wlodell

    I would wish the new aircraft with a full load of politicians to exceed the VRS-vulnerable descent rate but out of respect for the pilots and crew, I will not.