Tag Archives: MV-22

Getting tough during Real Thaw 2016

From 21 February to 4 March, Portugal was the stage of Real Thaw, the annual exercise that provides special training to NATO units most likely to participate in military operations within international cooperative frame works. And if Portugal was the stage, Beja airbase was the dressing room. Fighter aircraft, transporters and helos all played their part.

Other than delivering jet noise over large parts of Portugal, the main goal of Real Thaw 2016 was to provide tough tactical training with participation of air, land  and sea forces and focusing on the execution phase. Participating forces were confronted with an operating environment as realistic as possible and typical of current operations, according to the Portuguese Air Force, organizer of Real Thaw.

(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Many transport aircraft were involved in Real Thaw… (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
…. as were plenty of fighter jets. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
An F-16 cleans up the gear. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)

Assets

The Portuguese sent all their assets to join Real Thaw, including F-16s, Alfa Jets, C-130 Hercules plus P-3 and C295 maritime patrol aircraft. Forces from other countries were invited to participate in Real Thaw 2016 in order to create a joint-operational environment.

Participation also came from the US (F-15, MV-22 and C-130), Norway (F-16), the Netherlands (C-130), Belgium (C-130), Denmark (AS550 support helicopters), Spain (C-212 light transport aircraft) and the UK. Also, a NATO E-3A Awacs was involved.

(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Back on terra firma after a mission. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
The US Air Force brought a two seater F-15D to Beja. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Portuguese Alfa Jets are known to wear attractive paint jobs. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Taking part also were two MV-22 Ospreys. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)

Day and night

Missions took place at both day and night times environments and included the use of para jumpers, forward air controllers and other ground forces. The coordination of Real Thaw 2016 was run from Beja Air Base in central Portugal. In order to give support to air and ground missions that took place further north in the areas of Guarda and Pinhel,  a tactical air base was temporarily set up near the town of Seia.

Real Thaw 2016 was the eighth exercise in a series conducted by the Portuguese Air Force since 2009.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Jorge Ruivo – www.cannontwo.blogspot.pt
Featured image (top): An F-16 thunders away from Beja. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)

(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
The maritime element in Real Thaw 2016: a P-3 Orion. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Two Alfa Jets approach Beja in formation. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
(Image © Jorge Ruivo)
Eagle at dusk. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)

Desert and dust problems for Osprey ops

While more than 200 Bell/Boeing V-22 Ospreys are already in service with the US Air Force and US Marines (USMC), and the first international order has been placed, the operations with this tilt-rotor aircraft are more and more restricted. Especially when it comes to landing in dusty conditions and in desert environments.

According to military sources US authorities have now officially ordered Osprey pilots not to hover any longer than 30 seconds close to the ground when landing on a dusty or sandy patch of land, down from the earlier directive of 60 seconds. Although V-22 landings are normally done in much less then that, with the aid of on board sensors and instruments, the new order is cause for concern for the tilt-rotor units operating not only in the desert lands of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but all over the world.

Reason for the new directive is the May crash of a USMC MV-22B on Marine Corps Training Area Bellows – a former Air Force Station turned into training location – on the island of Oahu of Hawaii. According to preliminary findings one of the two Osprey engines stalled after 45 seconds of hovering, presumably due to dust that came into the engine systems during a so-called Reduced Visibility Landing – meaning in this case landing in a dust cloud the rotors just kicked up themselves.

White outs
Although RVLs not only covers these so-called “brown outs” it is not proven yet that Ospreys have similar problems with “white outs” – when the down wash of helicopter or Osprey rotors creates snow clouds in winter conditions with the same less or no visibility upon landing.

A typical brown-out on the landing zone for a MV-22B Osprey (Image © US Marine Corps)
A typical brown-out on the landing zone for a MV-22B Osprey (Image © US Marine Corps)

The accident at Bellows, in which 2 of the 22 marines on board died, puts the focus again on the crappy filters of the V-22 engines. Changed after to the original design was cause for engine fires, the current filters apparently allow to much dust entering the power plants. Bell and Boeing are said to work on yet another solution, but that one has not been implemented yet.

Helicopters
Other military assets like the old CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters the V-22s are replacing – as well as the US Army’s CH-47 Chinooks of similar size – seem to have not much trouble at all with RVLs during normal operations in training and war situations.

Tactics
While most V-22 pilots manage to put their planes down in under 20 seconds, the new directive orders them to stay above the dust clouds they kick up and continue to hover there if needed until the dust has settled down and it is safe to try to land again. In war zones such increased altitude and exposure of the Osprey will increase the risk of being hit by enemy fire. Food for though for the ones deciding over V-22 tactics in the field.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: USMC MV-22B during exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (Image © USMC / Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg)

Oahu, Hawaii, preparing for the Osprey

The island of Oahu, Hawaii, is preparing for standard operations with the US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor transport / assault aircraft. Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of nearby Honolulu has just been given a deal worth 62.5 million dollars to construct a hangar, parking apron and taxiway to support one MV-22 squadron at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, better known as Kaneohe Bay on the eastern shore of the island.

The multi-story modified aircraft maintenance hangar will provide a weather protected shelter for inspection, service and maintenance. The high bay aircraft maintenance hangar will be steel frame construction with a standing seam metal roof installed over a steel metal deck. The hangar’s second floor administrative space will be steel framed with metal deck and concrete fill, according to the US Department of Defense’s contract overview. The work is expected to be completed by January 2017.

Already in 2012 the US DoD decided to base up to two Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) squadrons, each flying up to a dozen Bell/Boeing MV-22 Ospreys, and one Marine Light Attack Helicopter (HMLA) squadron with 15 AH-1W Super Cobra attack and 12 UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. Kaneohe’s Marine Air Group 24 currently consists of HMLA-367 plus HMH-463 flying the Sikorsky CH-53E. With Sea Stallion operations winding down, the Ospreys will step in.

Source: US DoD / USMC
Featured image: The future for the US Marines at Oahu, Hawaii, is already reality for Camp Pendleton in California. Seen heer on 28 January 2015 are Marines of the 1st Medical Battalion transferring a simulated casualty onto an MV-22 Osprey during an en-route care exercise (Image © Sgt. Laura Gauna / US Marine Corps)

Osprey becomes a forward killer

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft – in service with amongst other the US Special Forces, Presidential Flight and US Marines – is evolving to become a forward killer. Bell Helicopter has demonstrated the new forward-firing capability last month at the United States Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona, the company announced last weekend.


Footage: Bell Helicopter

Since its deployment in 2007, the V-22 has been deployment to Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Osprey offers operators a wide range of mission capability including raids, medevac, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, resupply, VIP transport, and theater security cooperation.

About a year ago regular CV-22 Ospreys had to abort a mission in South Sudan, when the tilt-rotor aircraft came under fire during an attempt to extract Americans from the area. The new weapons capability might increase the Ospreys mission survivability and increase its operational envelope in the near future.

Through the end of the third quarter of 2014, Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 tiltrotor for the Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). On 11 December the fleet passed the 250,000 flight hour milestone. Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013, before the incident in South Sudan.

Source: Bell Helicopter with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)
The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)
The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)
The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)
The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)
The V-22 demonstrating its firing capability in November 2014 at the Yuma range in Arizona (Image © Bell Helicopter)

Japan includes Osprey in budget

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is a step closer in purchasing up to 40 Boeing/Bell V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The Japanese Ministry of Defence announced on 21 November 2014 it has included the V-22 in its FY15 budget proposal.

Although we at Airheadsfly.com couldn’t confirm the exact number of aircraft, earlier messages from the Land of the Rising Sun indicate the total number of Osprey aircraft that is required by Tokyo runs into the several tens of machines. However, the initial purchase is likely to be 17 aircraft.

There are already tilt-rotor aircraft operating on Japanese soil, as the US Marine Corps has two squadrons of each 12 aircraft based at MCAS Futenma at the island of Okinawa.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

An US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey taxis after landing at MCAS  on August 12, 2013. The tilt-rotor aircraft succeed the CH-46E helicopters. The Ospreys can fly twice as fast, carry three times as much and fly four times the distance of the older CH-46E helicopter it is replacing. (Image © Lance Cpl. Stephen Himes / USMC)
An US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey taxis after landing at MCAS on August 12, 2013. The tilt-rotor aircraft succeed the CH-46E helicopters. The Ospreys can fly twice as fast, carry three times as much and fly four times the distance of the older CH-46E helicopter it is replacing. (Image © Lance Cpl. Stephen Himes / USMC)