Ospreys Skip Farnborough Air Show

The MV-22 Osprey, a frequent performer at airshows to showcase the tilt-rotor aircraft, will be skipping a chance to impress potential buyers next week at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London.

The Ospreys, made by Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter and Boeing Co., skipped the Paris Air Show last year in a cost-saving move by the Pentagon during the battles with Congress over the sequester budget process.

However, Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, the deputy commandant for aviation, and Col. Greg Masiello, then the program manager for the Osprey, were on hand at Le Bourget airfield outside Paris to talk up the aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like a fixed-wing aircraft.

At Farnborough, neither the Ospreys nor the industry or military teams from the Naval Air Systems Command who support them will be present to promote the Osprey, said a spokeswoman for NavAir.

In 2012, the Osprey performed at the biannual Farnborough airshow and at similar airshows in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign sales could serve as a key to keeping the Osprey production line open past the current phase out date in 2018.

The aircraft’s history had been a drawback to potential foreign buyers. More than 30 Marines and contractors were killed in Osprey crashes during development, but the Marine Corps and the manufacturers maintain that the aircraft has since proved its reliability by logging more than 200,000 flight hours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For nearly three years, Bell and the Marines have talked up the potential for foreign sales but no sales have been completed as of yet.

Currently, “we’re having open discussions with Israel, the UAE, Japan and others,” said Schenck of Bell Helicopter.

In April last year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Tel Aviv announced that the first sale of an Osprey would go to Israel as part of a major arms package to shore Israel’s defenses. Financial arrangements have yet to be completed for the delivery of six Ospreys to the Israeli Special Forces, possibly in 2016.

Last December, potential foreign sales of Ospreys got a major boost when Japan announced a new “National Security Strategy” to give offensive capability to its “Self-Defense Forces.”

The strategy called for Japan to spend $240 billion over the next five years on new equipment for the military to include 17 MV-22 Ospreys, 28 F-35 fighters, three unarmed Global Hawk drones  and 52 amphibious troop carriers.

About the Author

Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.
  • tiger

    Biggest Airshow around & the F-35 is grounded & Osprey a no show? Can we fire Hagel now? Oh, that is right. Obama fires nobody….


  • Lance

    Knowing the Ospreys safety record lucky one would crash at the airshow.

    • tiger

      That is Bs. It’srecord better than many aircraft in use.

    • RudyH

      ..yeh…big time..

    • Bronco46

      Your just not paying attention!

    • When it was in development, yes i remember many accidents, but seeing it in combat in Iraq has made it very safe, even more versatile than CH-47. This will be a key point to show in the air show.

    • Hank

      The V-22 official safety records does not include most Class A mishaps. The list of scrapped V-22s is shocking. http://www.g2mil.com/V-22Amishaps.htm

    • “Frenchy”

      Lance and Others
      With your obvious knowledge of MV-22 history, I would have to ask, how much time in Marine Aviation do you have as a qualified Aircrewman?
      Is your stupid comment just your feeble attempt at humor?
      I don’t condone contractors, lobbyists and their in pocket pols, because they are always absolved of their greed and sins while air crews are killed & maimed!
      The CH-46 is now revered as the greatest helicopter ever built, unless of course
      you were around in the mid sixties when SECDEF, Robert McNamara, ( who never had any monetary interests in Piasecki, or Boeing Vertol ) when the CH-46 was shoved down our throat. I think SEC DEF said “We’ll work the bugs out, in the field”
      I was in the Marine Corps when the 46’s were killing Marines by the bushel!
      I was happy to be a Sikorsky UH-34D crew chief!
      I believe that the first year that the CH-46 was in full service, there was more loss of aircraft and life than the MV-22 to date!
      In defense of the MV-22, with all of its faults, the plus’s outweigh the minus’s!
      I was in the Army Guard when they began recruiting for the Osprey Program,1979!
      This article states that “at least 30 contractors and Marines have died in “mishaps”.
      While no loss of life is ACCEPTABLE, especially when a number of your friends are among the casualties, loss of life is to be expected. ( That’s why we Marine crew chiefs got the big bucks, in Vietnam $122.00 every two weeks )
      I’ve also read other comments here.
      My first crash, a training exercise, ended in a mid-air that killed 22 Marines.
      Others crashes that I considered fender benders in Vietnam, killed Marines and Pax !
      My point (s)
      The MV-22 has at least as good, if not better than, any other aircraft ever developed.

      Every new era brings a technology learning curve to be dealt with.

      NO aircraft will ever be everything to everybody, and still be great at any one thing!

      Competition plays no small part in the discrediting of other competitors’ product costs, claims and reliability.

      With respect to combat survivability , it will always be a crap shoot.
      Luck, ( good or bad ) Grace of God, Your call, seen both, lucky one shot to
      well placed several, or several dozen or more hits!

      Semper Fly!


    • jc13

      If only you knew what you were talking about…

  • jan

    Airshows are just a thing of the past that are no longer needed and a waste of money and time. If a potential buyer is interested in an aircraft the company that sells it will be happy to arrange a meeting at the contractors home base. Simple.

  • hibeam

    Can all the engineers flowing in from South America help us to get these military programs working correctly?

  • LPF

    If they copuld put some AEW capability into it, they could sell it for the new UK carriers, becuase right now they rely on Helicopter born AEW which is complete and utter rubbish.

  • oblatt22

    For an aircraft program that is basically pure marketing for 20 years to say the marketing is dropping out is to admit the end of the program.

    V-22 is one of the few programs where the lead designer resigned in disgust at what a disaster the aircraft was. We have had 20 years of potential sales that never close a deal and the only one we can get anybody to use them is to ram them down the throat of the Israelis for free – even then they plan to use them for training.

    Time to call this turkey done. Its been cooked to a cinder already.

  • Karl

    Boeing needs to take up the bill, if they want any foreign sales.

  • Dennis

    Are we really still arguing about the Osprey?
    Granted it is a maintinance pig and it’s flight envelop is a bit rickety.
    But it goes four times as far, twice as fast as a helicopter. End if argument. The military needs those capabilities.
    I just hope the next iteration of the technology is better.

    • Roger

      Let’s compare it to a modern helo of similar size. The CH-53K, which is almost the same empty weight. The 53K has greater range, four times more payload, although 40% less speed. The V-22 can’t safely carry external loads either.

    • yyy

      You forgot to mention that it is ten times more deadly to crew members than other aircraft.

  • Bernard

    Surprise surprise, the two biggest boondoggles in recent weapons contracting history are out of commission for an airshow. We might as well just strap white surrender flags to these things.

  • hibeam

    This thing would be great for inspecting the vast disease infested refugee camps that have sprung up all along our Southern Border in Texas. If Obama cared enough to go down there.

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  • Tophertag

    I’m with Dennis. I’m tired of hearing people pissing all over the Osprey. We’re damn lucky to have them and wish we could have 4 times as many. Just about every single aircraft in the US military has seen bad days. The F-14 crashed on her madden flight, yet became one of the best Interceptors for years. As far as the V-22’s limitations, like having no Autorotation, every single helicopter ever made has their drawbacks – It’s called the “Dead Mans Curve”. Stay outside the curve and the aircraft performs well. The Osprey is no exception. BTW: if the Osprey is so bad, why is Bell preparing to develop next gen-tiltrotor with the V-280 Valor?

  • Bob

    Obama wants a smaller military footprint overseas, but this is just sad.

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