Osprey Aircraft Test-Fire Rockets and Missiles

MV-22BBell Boeing recently test fired laser-guided rockets from the V-22 Osprey aircraft in a series of mock combat demonstrations at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., showing for the first time that the tiltrotor aircraft can be used for offensive missile and rocket attacks.

The forward-firing flights at Yuma shot a range of guided and unguided rockets from the Osprey, including laser-guided folding-fin, Hyrda-70 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System rockets and laser-guided Griffin B missiles, Bell helicopter officials said.

“The forward-firing demonstration was a great success,” Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22 said in a written statement. “We’ve shown the V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions, and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability.”

Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 tiltrotor for the Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command.  Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013, company officials said.

V-22 Osprey aircraft have been deployed in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The aircraft are often used for humanitarian assistance, casualty recovery, medical evacuation, VIP transport and raid missions. If the Marines or Air Force choose to use the rocket or missile capability, the Osprey will gain additional offensive attack mission possibilities.

“Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set,” Tobin continued. “These weapons, once installed, will provide added firepower and reduce reliance on Forward Arming and Refueling Points, or FARPs, which are sometimes necessary to supply short range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations. Without the need for FARPs, V-22s can be launched more frequently, and on shorter notice.”

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • Uncle Bill

    Why was this done as an afterthought? Cannot comprehend.

    • Fred

      Probably because its rotors are incredibly wide and there’s thus not a lot of room for munitions fireable when they’re in the “flight position.”
      An escort variant would be interesting for sure, but I wonder how effective it might be… Certainly better than a slower Cobra or Apache lagging miles behind or nothing for that matter, I suppose.

    • Lurker

      I’d guess that it’s at least partly due to the fact that these sort of tiny, micro sized munitions like the Griffin and APKWS didn’t exist until after the Osprey entered production and service. When the Osprey was being designed in the 80s and 90s the only weapons available (like the Hellfire) were probably too large to be practically fit on the aircraft in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the big rotors as noted by Fred.

    • commenter

      At it’s core, it’s a small cargo plane that can land/take off vertically. Cargo planes don’t typically have much armament, if any.

      There isn’t much room (physical space or takeoff weight) to add them either.

    • John Mahutga

      Lack of fore thought of course, but like the Vietnam era, first came the UH-1 Huey and then the AH-1 Cobra as the need became apparent. But then again they should have learned from the past.

    • tmb2

      If they tested weapons on it during its development, we’d still be testing it rather than seeing it out in the fleet.

    • SpartanLineage

      The requirements for this platform were set by the program management office. Those requirements have to get funded and funding comes from Congress. If you tried to ask for it all in one request, more than likely it would not have been built at all.

  • Dylan

    Transport aircraft have traditionally rarely had anything beyond pintle mounts in side doors or on the rear ramp. In the past, variants designed and tested after these aircraft were put into service have introduced a variety of armament packages. I think we’ll be seeing more and more V-22’s built or modified with offensive weapons packages in the coming years. The airframe can certainly support it!

  • royrdsjr

    The Marine Corps HAD an escort aircraft,the OV-10 Bronco,but in their infinite wisdom,they retired them & then sold them all to Latin American nations.

  • Christopher

    This is long over due. An armed transport version should have been apart of the V-22 program since the beginning. The only real problem is that it will reduce the number of troops and supplies it can carry. They tried to give it 7.62 mm machine gun years ago with the Remote Guardian System.

    However a dedicated “attack” version however is pointless. As the Navy has already partnered with the Army in the Future Vertical Lift program.

  • Lance

    Doesn’t help this problem prone plane from crashing all the time though.

  • mpower6428

    Where is the footage…?

  • oblatt22

    Area supression with a few point weapons. Just another thing the osprey does badly.

    The V-22 is designed around the fallacy that if it does everything badly, it is somehow good for something.

  • blight_weroasdfl

    The most reliable real estate to mount weapons is on the fuselage forward of the rotors. You can see there are two small pods for it. Otherwise the Osprey will have people shooting out of side doors, but when rotors are in the vertical position it puts a big blind spot to the left and right. Amusingly this might not be a problem if the Osprey’s rotors are forward..what is the stall speed of an Osprey flying pylon turns with rotors forward?

  • David

    Stupid. The solution has already been available for a long time and its called an A-10 Warthog.

  • david

    Can A-10 be launched from LHA or LHD’s , NO so just shut the hell up…And keep your none NAVY and MARINE CORPS aircraft of those ships to….Go buy your own aircraft carriers, hell the French have two for sale…

  • sofol

    Think OUTSIDE of the box. This is my solution. Step 1. If possible. mount 30mm cannons-from the Apache in the hull-1 on each side forward. Step2. mount 2 30mm 1 on each side-outside of the aircraft. Step 3. Create 2rectangular, retractable, reloadable missile racks to go thru the floor holding 8 missiles each,.one rack for smaller missiles, and one for anti armor. The flight engineer can reload as needed. Carrying this reduces the cargo capacity,-but this gunship could carry a smaller load, and be an escort.

  • JLR

    WAs just thinking that sofol.
    The osprey needs the Apache cannon and its newest version of the fire control system /optics. Land troops then provide some CAS. Fly up to safe altitude for a refuel, grab the boys and head back to base.
    Apache cannon, 2 hellfires, and a pod of hydra/whatever’s. If the cargo load si light they can carry spares in back and reload on the ground just outside of the fighting area.

  • DangerMouse

    Picture the weapons package on Airwolf… Done. :)

  • Caesar Merlin

    digging the paint scheme. looks kind of sci fi ish

  • citanon

    And so that’s the story of how the Osprey shot off its own rotors……

    I know I know, they’ve sort of gotten around it. Still would give me heartburn if I was the project engineer.

  • Arthur Richthofen

    In late WW One, guns fired through the propeller disc, not hitting the blades. What is different about the Osprey – is the gun blast too powerful for the blades? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronization_gea

  • Eric

    The problem with first generation aircrafts and put it in full operation status to see if the theory’s in designs to meet the basic minimum mission requirements that it can fly safely from point A to Point B, their will always be challenge to please and implement everybody new or current types of weapons systems after the fact that the airframes will have initial physical and aeronautical limitations. in all; most of the US essential aircrafts and helicopter’s programs will takes years if not decades in types of technology improvements as it evolves, eventually the air frame becomes so old it will not be feasible to keep this up, mostly in costs and politics and eventually it became major assets and or game changer in combat and peace time operations.

  • richardparker

    I would say V-22 Osprey is a unique helicopter with multimission ability. This article says that,it is a tilt-rotor aircraft, with powerful Rolls-Royce engines whose nacelle can be rotated to convert the aircraft into a turboprop plane. The engines develop a power of 6,150shp each.

    Source: http://www.aerospace-technology.com/features/feat

  • TCTanker

    The real problem with this transport is that unlike traditional rotary wing aircraft, the sides of the Osprey are blinded by the tilt rotor nacelle. A forward firing gun is nice but ground support is not the Osprey’s role – that is the job of the Cobra. Having served as a Marine in Vietnam, side guns are far more important than forward facing fixed guns. The bird needs side protection when coming into a hot LZ not only to protect itself but to support the grunts streaming out of the rear and to keep the enemy’s heads down. This bird is not designed with real world experiences of past wars; they will not all be in the desert.