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V-22 Osprey

Missions / Requirements

Missions that cover large distances and that require vertical takeoffs and landings have challenged aeronautical pioneers since helicopters first proved their worth. The challenge has been to devise a vehicle that is faster, has more range, and is more cost effective than conventional helicopters. Within this challenge, the Joint Services (USMC, USN, USAF) specified in detail the operational requirements of the V-22. The joint requirement defined missions, airframe size constraints, payload handling, and other operational capabilities required to meet the U.S. needs. Other design considerations include meeting guarantees for weight and performance, graceful handling of engine failures, crashworthiness, emergency egress, and maintenance or repair accessibility. The V-22 meets all of these requirements and more.

The V-22 has vertical takeoff and landing capability but is twice as fast as a helicopter. The V-22's speed expands rotorcraft capabilities beyond the limits of helicopter technology.

The V-22 would carry three times more payload, or cover five times the range of the CH-46. This increased range expands the battlespace and complicates the enemy's defensive solution. The V-22 can launch from ships farther from shore, staying out of harm's way, and still cover an incredible area. This standoff capability enhances surprise and deception or can be traded for increased penetration, deeper echelon of forces, and new operational flexibility.

The MV-22 has several characteristics likely to reduce the overall susceptibility of the combat assault team as compared to the current rotary wing alternatives. The range and speed of the V-22 provide distinct advantages that reduce the exposure to en route threats. With good information as to threat locations, the MV-22 can use its range advantage to fly around threats. The increased speed of the MV-22 ensures that the MV-22 would remain in a threat envelope for a lesser time period than would the helicopter platform. In addition, the ability of the MV-22 to decelerate rapidly when approaching a landing zone and to accelerate rapidly when leaving a landing zone offer reduced exposure to local threats. The MV-22 in the airplane mode is distinctly quieter than are existing helicopters, and therefore provide far less cueing to local threats that the aircraft is approaching.

The V-22 provides vertical takeoff and hover performance similar to a conventional helicopter. It can take off from small, unimproved, or confined areas and still fly long-range missions. Because of the combination of high speed, long-range and large payload capacity, it offers the warfighter significant productivity increases compared to a conventional helicopter. The V-22 has the efficiencies of a twin turboprop without the need to takeoff and land from a runway. It can operate from small unimproved sites or a large variety of surface ships and still insert combat troops and equipment over long ranges while hovering over a landing zone.

Numerous analyses of cost and operational effectiveness over the last 30 years have provided insight into the advantages provided by a tiltrotor aircraft, with the performance characteristics described in the JORD. The MV-22 force would replace the aging fleet of CH-46E and CH-53D aircraft now being used for medium lift assault support under the combat doctrine known as Ship To Objective Maneuver (STOM). This doctrine envisions a rapid buildup of combat forces at an inland objective from amphibious ships located over the horizon, and subsequent support of maneuver warfare forces operating throughout the amphibious operations area. In addition to STOM, the MV-22 is required to support Other Expeditionary Operations including Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), in-extremis hostage rescue, Tactical Recovery Of Aircraft And Personnel (TRAP), and disaster relief. The JMVX JORD lists 13 Key Performance, Parameters (KPPs) for the MV2-2. Essential characteristics of the MV-22 in all the analyses were high speed, long-range, and appropriate payload capacity.

  • The MV-22 can carry 24 troops 251 nm while the CH-46 cannot perform this mission.
  • The MV-22 would cruise at 225 Kts as compared to approximately 100 Kts for the CH-46.
  • The MV-22 can carry an external 10,000-pound load a distance of 66 nm as compared to the CH-53D and CH-46E, which could not carry this load.
  • The V-22 would perform the H-46 assault mission with fewer aircraft.
  • The higher speed would enable the V-22 to deliver troops and equipment ashore at a faster rate than possible with conventional helicopters.
  • The higher speed also contributes to improved survivability, since the V-22 would transit threat areas more quickly.
  • The increased speed and range of the V-22 would allow the Marines to plan alternative ingress and egress routes, and more distant landing zones, providing the operational commander increased flexibility.
  • The increased speed and range would also allow the V-22 to be launched from further at sea, thus helping negate the potential of mine threats to the ship.
  • For Combat Search and Rescue, the V-22 can reach the search area faster, and would be able to search more area faster, thus improving the likelihood of successful recovery.
  • For sustained operations ashore, the V-22 would be able to move troops and equipment, and build-up a sustaining force faster.
  • The V-22 fuselage is roughly the size of the transport choppers it would replace for the Marine Corps - about 6 feet by 6 feet by 24 feet - but it is smaller than the MH-53 Pave Low helicopter used by Air Force special operations units.

Although no force-on-force testing was conducted during OPEVAL, the results appear to validate many of the conclusions reached in an analysis performed at the request of Congress in 1990. That analysis assessed the V-22 as well as a number of potential helicopter alternatives, comparing both effectiveness and costs. In performing this assessment, that study used aircraft performance characteristics listed in the ORD, and these characteristics closely match capabilities validated during OPEVAL; e.g., cruise speed-245 knots, 24 troops, 10,000-pound external load, and a maximum radius of 265 miles carrying 5000 pound load.

Testing has confirmed several key advantages, in comparison to current rotary-wing operations, inherent to the tiltrotor concept. Most notably, by being able to convert to the conventional aircraft flight regime, the V-22 offers distinct advantages in mission range, speed of flight, and payload. In the planning and execution of missions, these three improved characteristics of range, speed, and payload can be interchanged and utilized in countless ways. Together they provide a major step ahead in tactical flexibility.

The V-22 has demonstrated the capability to fly 2,100 nm with one aerial refueling during a self-deployment flight from California to Maryland in 8 hours 10 minutes, exceeding the ORD threshold by almost 4 hours. The deployment was conducted with two non-operational, development test 400-gallon tanks rather than two production representative 800-gallon tanks, thus precluding the aircraft from flying the deployment profile designed for overwater flight (e.g., CONUS - Hawaii). Two 800-gallon tanks should allow for an even longer flight profile. The capability to self-deploy would provide the tactical commander flexibility in combat never before experienced.



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