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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Image: Osprey receiving fuel

In an earlier post, I wrote about Israel getting Osprey helicopters that fly like planes for use against Iran.

Here's a picture of one refueling (Hat Tip: Sunlight).
Sweet photo by SrA Laura Rahemiak of a CV-22B Osprey receiving fuel June 21, 2013 off the coast of Greenland by a 7th Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II. The aircraft landed in Iceland during its journey to RAF Mildenhall, England, to allow for crew rest and refueling. The CV-22, assigned to the 7th SOS, is the first of 10 slated to arrive as part of the 352nd Special Operations Group expansion, which will last through the end of 2014.

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At 1:19 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

"Tiltrotor." Engines positioned like a helo, or tilted forward, like a prop plane. Adjustable. It has taken some doing, but it's as cool as it gets!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

Maybe as cool as it gets but that "cool" is breathtakingly expensive. According to the CV-22's Wiki article, the flyaway cost is now $67 million each, and that's only part of the bad news.

"...Between 2008 and 2011, the estimated lifetime cost for maintaining the V-22 fleet grew by 61 percent, mostly from increased maintenance and support costs."

And all this money doesn't buy the maximum return either. "The V-22's development process has been long and controversial, partly due to its large cost increases.[49] The V-22's development budget was first planned for $2.5 billion in 1986, then increased to a projected $30 billion in 1988.[31] As of 2008, $27 billion had been spent on the Osprey program and another $27.2 billion will be required to complete planned production numbers by the end of the program.[24]

Its [The V-22's] production costs are considerably greater than for helicopters with equivalent capability—specifically, about twice as great as for the CH-53E, which has a greater payload and an ability to carry heavy equipment the V-22 cannot... an Osprey unit would cost around $60 million to produce, and $35 million for the helicopter equivalent.
—Michael E. O'Hanlon, 2002"

Other interesting problems include the CV-22s twin Rolls Royce 3,000 hp turbojet engines' exhaust, with engines tilted downwards for landing and takeoff, literally melting the steel on the flight decks of the US Navy carriers on which it's based. I don't imagine these engines would do any good for IAF asphalt or concrete runways either.

The Osprey has a history of deadly crashes, both while in development and in early operational use. IMO, this is yet another gold-plated boondoggle aircraft that should have been cancelled a decade or more ago.


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