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MV-22 Osprey - Marine Corps Variant

The Marine Corps' MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft, which is designated as the "baseline" variant, is a vertical/short takeoff and landing medium lift assault, self-deployment, and sustained land operations capable air vehicle. The MV-22 must provide combat assault transport of Marines in the initial assault waves and follow-on stages of amphibious operations and subsequent operations ashore. It must also be capable of supporting the following secondary mission tasks: combat assault transport of supplies and equipment, evacuations and maritime special operations, mobile forward area refueling and rearming operations, casualty evacuation, and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) operations. The aircraft must therefore be self-deployable, capable of handling 24 combat equipped troops, capable of operationally lifting external loads up to 10,000 pounds and able to operate in adverse weather, day or night from air capable ships.

The MV-22 is intended to provide the speed, endurance, radius of action, payload, and survivability needed to support the United States Marine Corps' (USMC) operational concepts. MV-22 squadrons must be capable of rapidly embarking aboard and operating from air capable ships in support of training, contingency, combat, and non-combat operations. The aircraft's performance enhancements and improved systems are intended to support the rapid Ship-To-Objective Maneuver (STOM) and provide a greater operational reach for embarked Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) elements.

Operational Maneuver From The Sea (OMFTS) missions require the seamless maneuver of MAGTF assault forces from a ship directly to an inland objective without the operational pause inherent with the historical use of Force Beachhead Lines. MV-22 squadrons must be capable of landing the assault elements of a Marine Expeditionary Force ashore within a time span of 90 minutes utilizing projected Navy amphibious lift and Marine Corps force structure in support of OMFTS. The typical OMFTS scenario will originate with an over-the-horizon shipboard launch, at night, in low visibility or adverse weather. The over-water portion of the flight will likely include a low to medium altitude flight profile until coastal penetration or arrival at designated control points. Once overland or prior to reaching the probable point of first enemy contact, terrain flight/terrain masking techniques will likely be used en route to the landing zone. Data burst communications and secure voice will be used between Command and Control (C2) agencies and the aircraft for mission coordination in order to minimize threat direction finding, jamming and intrusion opportunities.

Other Expeditionary Operations (OEO) missions include those combatant and non-combatant missions that fall short of traditional warfare. Typical OEO missions include, but are not limited to, Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), In-Extremis Hostage Rescue (IHR), Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP), Disaster Relief, and Security operations. Similar to the OMFTS scenario, the typical OEO mission scenario will originate with an over-the-horizon shipboard launch, at night, in low visibility or adverse weather. The over-water portion of the flight could include a low to medium altitude flight profile until coastal penetration or arrival at designated control points and then change to terrain flight/terrain masking techniques for the remainder of the flight en route to the landing zone.

The MV-22 is intended to be capable of supporting committed forces from sea-based shipping, austere forward operating bases, or expeditionary airfield facilities. During the conduct of sustained operations ashore (SOA), the MV-22 will use its Vertical and Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) performance to make multiple takeoffs and landings on a variety of air capable ships and diverse terrain in support of committed forces. Diverse mission requirements will require the MV-22 to fly day or night, in favorable or adverse weather, at altitudes ranging from terrain flight regimes to above 10,000 feet MSL.

The Marine Corps employed a phased strategy for the transition of the Marine Corps Medium Lift fleet to the MV-22 aircraft. Twenty-two CH-46E/CH-53D squadrons transitioned to the MV-22 aircraft (18 active and four reserve). Upon transition, each squadron maintained an aircraft inventory (Primary Aircraft Authorized (PAA)) of 12 aircraft. The estimated time-to-train for a squadron transitioning to the MV-22 aircraft is approximately 24-30 months (Stand-down, Transition, Post-Transition, Pre-Deployment Training).

Initial training for Developmental and Operational Test personnel from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Patuxent River, Maryland, and Multi-service Operational Test Team was conducted at the contractor's facilities, and at NAWCAD, Patuxent River. Initial training for fleet cadre personnel will be conducted at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, North Carolina. Service and mission-unique training was developed to support each service's unique mission requirements. Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204, MCAS New River, was designated the Fleet Readiness Squadron for V-22 aircrew and the Fleet Replacement Enlisted Skills Training, for maintenance training. Air Force V-22 maintenance training will be provided at MCAS, New River. A CV-22 school within the 58 Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico provides SOF peculiar aircrew training.

The Marine Corps Initial Operational Capability (IOC) (12 MV-22 fielded) was scheduled for FY01. The Air Force IOC (12 combat coded CV-22s fielded) is scheduled for FY05. The Navy IOC is yet to be determined, but the projected Introduction Date is around 2008. An estimated final procurement of 360 aircraft for the Marine Corp was proposed, allowing for a 1.0 percent attrition rate.

Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the MV-22B was declared in June 2007. The Osprey had three successful combat deployments in Iraq from October 2007 to April 2009 with VMM-263, VMM-162 and VMM-266 respectively. VMM-263 embarked on the first MV-22 shipboard deployment with the Bataan Ready Group in May 2009 as part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

On Mar. 28, 2008, NAVAIR awarded a five-year, $10.3 billion dollar contract to Bell- Boeing for 141 MV-22 Ospreys for the Marine Corps and 26 CV-22 Ospreys for the Air Force Special Operations Command. It is the first multi-year procurement contract for the Osprey program, covering purchases in FY08-12. The deal saved the taxpayers $427 million and reduces risk to the government by establishing cost ceilings.

On June 12, 2013 the Navy signed a second multiyear procurement (MYPII) contract with Bell Boeing for production of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. This multiyear contract procures 100 V-22s during FY13-FY17 with 93 MV-22s going to the Marine Corps and seven CV-22s to the Air Force. The total contract value is nearly $6.4 billion and is expected to save approximately $1 billion during its period of performance. This fixed-price-incentive-fee multiyear contract provided program stability that supports both services needs to field new and better capabilities, and in the Marine Corps case, retire old aircraft.

By 2016 the MV-22 had the lowest Class A Flight Mishap rate of all Marine Corps rotorcraft through the first 200,000 flight hours. The MV-22B supported combat operations in the Central Command area of responsibility and was deployed with two Special Purpose MAGTFs and all three MEUs. The transition to the MV-22B Osprey was on track to be completed by end of fiscal year 2019.

By the end of 2016 the US Marine Corps was making headway in its effort to add new weapons to the MV-22 Osprey. Marines said the tiltrotor aircraft will now feature missiles, heavy guns, and 2.75 in. laser-guided rockets, expanding its capabilities beyond the transport of people, forces and weapons to defensive and offensive combat operations.

NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) Dahlgren explored the use of forward firing rockets, missiles, fixed guns, a chin mounted gun, and also looked at the use of a 30MM gun along with gravity drop rockets and guided bombs deployed from the back of the V-22. The study that is being conducted will help define the requirements and ultimately inform a Marine Corps decision with regards to armament of the MV-22B Osprey.

Regardless of the weapons chosen, "assault support" will continue to be the Ospreys chief objective, and said that additions to the aircrafts arsenal may be added as early as 2019, if funding and scheduling prevail. Precision weapons will allow the aircraft to support the Corps during amphibious operations, as well as enabling it to defend itself from small arms attacks.

Both the air and ground mission commanders will have more options with the ability to provide immediate self-defense and collective defense of the flight. Depending on the weapons ultimately selected, a future tiltrotor could provide a range of capabilities spanning from self-defense on the lighter side to providing a gunship over watch capability on the heavier scale.

Of the 360 Osprey aircraft planned, manufacturer Bell Boeing had delivered 290 by December 2016, and the company had developed a special pylon on the aircrafts side for the carriage of common weapons. Flight Test Bell-Boeings director of business development, Rick Lemaster said, "We did a demonstration with Bell where we took some rockets and we put them on a pylon on the airplane using APKWS [ Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System]. We also did some 2.75 guided rockets, laser guided weapons and the griffin missile. We flew laser designators to laser-designate targets to prove you could do it."

The Corps was also in the process of developing the MV-22C variant of the Osprey, a high tech upgrade set to enter service by the mid 2030s. Spokesman Maj. Paul Greenberg wrote in a statement that the new variant "will ensure that the Marine Corps has state-of-the-art, medium-lift assault support for decades to come."



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