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)

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)

US Special Forces wish comes true: CV-22 / Badger

Field tests of with a V-22 Osprey and the new all-terrain Phantom Badger on request by USSOCOM (Image © Boeing)
Field tests of with a V-22 Osprey and the new all-terrain Phantom Badger on request by USSOCOM (Image © Boeing)

The US Special Forces will see a wish come true now that Boeing has certified the lightly armoured fast-deployable Phantom Badger road vehicle to be transported internally by a Bell/Boeing CV-22 (or MV-22 if the Marines buy the vehicle) Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The most interesting part of the tests: they were conducted in March 2014 by Boeing in co-operation with the US Navy. That branch of the US military has so far not bought any of the V-22 Ospreys, but the service has been interested in the tilt-rotor for some time now. The service is considering buying up to 36 Ospreys as HV-22 to replace the aging C-2 Greyhound carrier-qualified transport aircraft.

The Boeing vehicle tests included form-fit checks, pressure tests and structural evaluations exceeding four G-forces. The weight and size of the Osprey compartment limits vehicle operations somewhat, which reportedly got the US Special Operations Command somewhat frustrated.

The Phantom Badger is designed as an all-terrain vehicle able to transport five combat troops, an operational 360 degrees rotatable 12.7mm heavy machine gun and two light 5.56 caliber machine guns mounted at the rear. It is an open vehicle aimed to give Special Forces a quick way (max. 130 kmh or 80 mph) to get from the airhead or landing zone to a rendez-vous point or target.

Source: Boeing with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Field tests of with a V-22 Osprey and the new all-terrain Phantom Badger on request by USSOCOM (Image © Boeing)
Field tests of with a V-22 Osprey and the new all-terrain Phantom Badger on request by USSOCOM (Image © Boeing)

Air Force CV-22 taken out of service

The Air Force's first operational CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft hovers upon arrival at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Monday, March 20, 2006. (Staff Sgt. Markus Maier © USAF)
The Air Force’s first operational CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft hovers upon arrival at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Monday, March 20, 2006. (Staff Sgt. Markus Maier © USAF)

The apparently oldest Bell/Boeing CV-22 Osprey in the US Air Force inventory has been taken out of service this week. The last trip will put the tilt-rotor aircraft to National Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA.

The machine in question is 12 years old and seems to have serial 0021, but AIRheads↑Fly was not able to confirm that at this time. Unlike the US Marines Corps MV-22s, the USAF uses the CV-22 especially for special operations. The first of the more operational USAF ones was CV-22 with 0026, flown from Edwards AFB to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB on March 20, 2006. The aircraft has the unique ability to take-off, land and hover like a helicopter, and it can tilt its propellers to fly like a conventional, prop-driven aircraft.

The first operational USAF unit flying the CV-22 started operations at Hurlburt Field, Florida, in 2007. The Osprey has proven to be four times less vulnerable to enemy fire than helicopters. It is 75 percent quieter, can fly higher and has one-tenth the infrared signature compared to most rotary aircraft. Initial stability problems during landing, causing several death in crashes, seem to have been solved by adjusting landing routines with the advanced transport aircraft.

Meanwhile US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel has ordered the US Marine Corps to designate their next six production MV-22 to be transferred to the Israeli Defence Forces.

Source: USAF