Posts Tagged ‘CV-22’

AFSOC’s CV-22 Ospreys — A Big Win in Africa

December 13, 2008

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The final two CV-22s broke across the Florida horizon just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. And after a 5,300 nautical mile flight across the Atlantic ocean, they had surely worked up an appetite.

The aircraft, from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, arrived home Nov. 26 on the heels of two other CV-22s, all of which had spent the last month in Bamako, Mali supporting Exercise FLINTLOCK-09, a regularly scheduled training exercise in the Trans-Saharan region designed build relationships and capacity and to enhance African nations’ ability to patrol and control their sovereign territory.

The exercise marked an important milestone for the CV-22s as their first operational deployment.

“This is something we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” said Maj. Jim Rowe, an 8th SOS pilot, fresh out of the cockpit from the trans-Atlantic flight. “It was one of the highlights of my military career.”

The exercise included personnel from 15 countries, and the CV-22 served as a platform for multinational training. Specifically, the aircraft was used to transport Malian and Senegalese special operations forces and their leadership teams.

“We did long range, vertical lift, and dropped [teams] off at a landing zone,” said Capt. Dennis Woodlief, 8th SOS pilot. “They practiced their ground movements, then we brought them back.”

Lt. Col. Eric Hill, 8th SOS squadron commander, said missions like this allowed the CV-22 to take advantage of its unique capabilities as a tiltrotor aircraft.

“The tyranny of distance in the African continent is amazing,” he said. “We were able to go over 500 nautical miles, infiltrate a small team for them to run their exercise, and bring them back all the way to home base without doing an air refueling stop. And we were able to do that in the span of about four hours. ”

“It would take the MH-53 twice, sometimes three times as long [to do these missions],” Captain Woodlief said. “And we did it with just one aircraft.”

Colonel Hill said the CV-22 is an “unprecedented capability.” And with the new capability, there were also new lessons to be learned.

“We learned some lessons like we always do on different equipment we’d like to have and requirements that we’ll have in the future,” he said.

Many of those lessons revolve around tailoring maintenance packages for future deployments.

The 1st Special Operations Helicopter Maintenance Squadron deployed to Bamako in support of the 8th SOS. Because the exercise was held at a remote location rather than an established base, one of the maintenance challenges was self-deploying with all the parts and equipment they needed to keep the CV-22s operational for the entire exercise – and for the cumulative 10,000 nautical mile trans-Atlantic flights.

“We have a laundry list about three pages long of things we’d like to take next time,” said Master Sgt. Craig Kornely, the squadron’s lead production supervisor. “As we grow into the machine, we realize our needs for equipment and resources.”

But despite the challenges of operating a new aircraft for the first time overseas and in an austere environment, the squadron had a perfect mission success rate during the exercise.

“We had zero maintenance cancels, zero delays, and we executed 100 percent every time,” Captain Woodlief said. “I think we went above and beyond everyone’s expectations.”

Colonel Hill said he was extremely proud of the 8th SOS and 1st SOHMXS’s accomplishments.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing [your squadron] take a revolutionary capability out on its first deployment, have huge mission success, meet every mission task, and most importantly bring everybody back to home base safely,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud as a squadron commander.”

 

Lauren Johnson

Refueling Operation Flintlock

December 13, 2008

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Two 100th Air Refueling Wing aircrews recently provided air refueling in support of Operation Flintlock, a joint military exercise in Bamako, Mali which concluded Nov. 20. 

According to a release by United States Africa Command Public Affairs, “The principal purpose of Flintlock is to assist partner nations to establish and develop military interoperability and strengthen regional relationships, in support of future combined humanitarian, peacekeeping and disaster relief operations. It includes participants from the Trans-Saharan nations and the U.S. as well as advisors from multiple European countries.” 

The exercise also included the first Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey oceanic crossing, according to Lt. Col. Bruce McNaughton, 100th ARW director of staff, and aircraft commander of one of the KC-135 Stratotankers (from RAF Mildenhall) taking part in the mission. 

The Osprey is a self-deployable aircraft providing increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft which enable AFSOC aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions, according to an Air Force fact sheet. 

The Osprey can perform missions that normally require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. It takes off vertically, and once airborne, the nacelles (engine and pro-rotor group) on each wing can rotate into a forward position. 

Max Blumenfeld, Operation Flintlock public affairs officer, wrote in an e-mail that the 352nd Special Operations Group’s MC-130s and the CV-22s are “significant platforms for an ongoing effort in the Trans-Sahara region for regional cooperation and security. Flintlock is an established SOF exercise which continually builds from experiences gained from previous Flintlocks and its smaller scale version; Silent Warrior.”

After launching from Lajes-Field, Azores, Portugal, Oct. 22, Colonel McNaughton and his aircrew refueled a 352nd SOG aircrew’s MC-130 – also from RAF Mildenhall – which in turn refueled the CV-22s. 

“I call it, ‘Slowin’ down the gas,'” said the aircraft commander. “Having that middleman (the MC-130) slows the refueling down (passing fuel from one aircraft to another then to another). We weren’t able to refuel the CV-22 directly; we used a boom to refuel the (SOG aircraft), then that aircraft used a probe and drogue system to refuel the CV-22. We do have that capability, but primarily use it for Navy jets; our drogues aren’t designed to operate at lower speeds.” 

The colonel explained that he and his aircrew met face to face with the MC-130 and CV-22 pilots in Lajes-Field, so they could brief them before the refueling took place. 

“We’ve refueled MC-130s before, but the question arose as to whether the Ospreys could keep up with us, and where they were physically going to be while we refueled the MC-130,” he said. “The briefing beforehand allowed us to iron out those problems and find solutions.” 

On Colonel McNaughton’s aircraft there were four crewmembers and three crew chiefs; three crewmembers flew on the other KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall. 

The co-pilot, 1st Lt. Jeff Lascurain, 351st Air Refueling Squadron, said he’d never seen or worked a mission with the Osprey aircraft before. 

“It’s always cool to see a new type of aircraft on your wing,” he said, explaining that during the refueling the Ospreys were positioned off the left wing, about one mile out. 

“I was on the right-hand side of the plane, so my best view of the CV-22s was as we were making our turn to rejoin with the MC-130 and CV-22 formation,” he said. 

Colonel McNaughton said he had no idea his scheduled mission would turn into helping refuel the new AFSOC aircraft. 

“We usually have a one-day run to Lajes-Field each week, and I volunteered for that particular week – and it turned into this,” he said. “It was a hoot being part of it.” 

Mr. Blumenfeld said the mission was evidence of the importance of aerial refueling. 

“The CV-22 ‘s range is dependent on your efforts and thus provides it that ‘far reach’ capability as evidenced by its transatlantic flight,” he wrote. “This reach capability is important due to the fact that Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara is conducted over a geographic area the size of (the continental United States).” 

He also said the exercise is the result of great interagency communication and coordination. 

Flintlock “has geo-political impact as the exercise involves African partner nations as well as European partner nations such as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK,” he explained.

V-22 Osprey Excels in Africa and Iraq

November 30, 2008

The CV-22 Osprey has made its operational debut with the US Air Force Special Operations Command AFSOC.  Several CV-22 deployed to Africa in November to participate in the anti-terrorism exercise Flintlock 09. The MV-22 Osprey variant has already served in Iraq with the US Marine Corps USMC.

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V-22 Tiltrotors to Start Getting Belly Mounted Guns Next Month

October 31, 2008

The Navy will begin integrating belly mounted, all-quadrant gun systems on MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors “within the next month or so,” Col. Matt Mulhern, V-22 program manager, said in an interview last week with Inside the Navy (subscription required).

Find the Osprey tiltrotor poster, framed art print or 2009 calendar at The PatriArt Gallery.

An Osprey success story

October 24, 2008
AFSOC CV-22 Osprey

AFSOC CV-22 Osprey

The US Air Force Special Operations Command AFSOC has been operating its new CV-22 Osprey special operations tiltrotor aircraft since October 2008. You can own one of these legendary CV-22 Osprey special operations tiltrotor aircraft. Choose the poster, a framed art print, a 12-month 2009 calendar, or even a greeting card set. Find all your AFSOC CV-22 Osprey art gifts at http://www.cafepress.com/TEAMultimedia/838250The PatriArt Gallery. Or if you prefer the AFSOC CV-22 Osprey tee-shirt, beer stein, or other souvenir items, visit http://www.cafepress.com/TEAMultimedia/843205The Military Chest.

After a troubled history, the V-22 Osprey – half-helicopter, half-plane – has been ferrying troops and equipment across Iraq for just more than a year without a major incident.

Critics say the Osprey, which was designed to replace transport helicopters, lacks firepower for defense in heavy combat.

But pilots say the Osprey makes up for that in speed, which one of them says can take the plane “like a bat out of hell” to altitudes safe from small-arms fire.

Since arriving at the sprawling Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, a dozen Ospreys have been ferrying troops and equipment at forward operating bases. One even took Barack Obama around during his tour of Iraq in the summer.

But on only a handful of occasions has the aircraft faced serious enemy fire.

Military officials say that is partly a result of the changing nature of the war in Iraq, as well as the advantages the high-flying Osprey.

Read the complete Osprey story in the Philadelphia Enquirer

CV-22 Osprey

September 30, 2008
CV-22 Osprey

CV-22 Osprey

Find the CV-22 Osprey tee-shirt or browse our collection of CV-22 Osprey souvenirs at The Military Chest.
Or visit The PatriArt Gallery and choose the CV-22 Osprey poster, framed art print, 12-month calendar, or greeting card set.

The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover, and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
Features
This versatile, self-deployable aircraft offers increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft, enabling Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions. The CV-22 can perform missions that normally would require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The CV-22 takes off vertically and, once airborne, the nacelles (engine and prop-rotor group) on each wing can rotate into a forward position

The CV-22 is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor, and other advanced avionics systems that allow it to operate at low altitude in adverse weather conditions and medium- to high-threat environments.

Background
The CV-22 is an Air Force-modified version of the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey. The first two Air Force test aircraft were delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in September 2000, for flight testing. The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., began CV-22 aircrew training with the first two production aircraft in August 2006.

The first operational CV-22 was delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command’s 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., January 2007. Initial operating capability is scheduled for September 2008 with AFSOC’s 8th Special Operations Squadron (8th SOS). A total of 50 CV-22 aircraft are to be delivered by 2015 to equip four operational squadrons (two at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and two at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.) 

General Characteristics

Primary function: Special operations forces long-range infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply
Contractors: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Boeing Company, Defense and Space Group, Helicopter Division
Power Plant: Two Rolls Royce-Allison AE1107C turboshaft engines
Thrust: More than 6,200 shaft horsepower per engine
Wingspan: 84 feet, 7 inches (25.8 meters)
Length: 57 feet, 4 inches (17.4 meters)
Height: 22 feet, 1 inch (6.73 meters)
Rotary Diameter: 38 feet (11.6 meters)
Speed: 277 miles per hour (241 knots) (cruising speed)
Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
Maximum Vertical Takeoff Weight: 52,870 pounds (23,982 kilograms)
Maximum Rolling Takeoff Weight: 60,500 pounds (27,443 kilograms)
Range: : 2,100 nautical miles with internal auxiliary fuel tanks
Payload: 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded) or 10,000 pounds of cargo
Unit cost: $89 million (fiscal 2005 dollars)
Crew: Four (pilot, copilot and two enlisted flight engineers)
Date Deployed: 2006 (with projected initial operational capability in 2009)
Inventory: Air Force Special Operations Command — AFSOC: 5 (operational), 4 (training)