Monday, August 27, 2012

V-22 Osprey Beats the Taliban


The osprey is destined to be one of the all time greats like the M-16, C-130, B-52, M113 and UH-1 Huey

The Osprey After Five Years: Leading A 'Tsunami Of Change'

Published: August 23, 2012
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In this piece, I would like to reflect back on these five years, not just to grasp lessons learned, but glimmers of where the plane, and the Navy-Marine Corps team might be able to move into the future. The story of the evolution of the con-ops surrounding the plane provides a solid foundation for innovation and transformation of concepts of operations, if boldness overcomes timidity.

...One useful metric to measure the transition fro transportation to combat operations can be seen in the number of named operations in which the Osprey squadron has participated in Afghanistan, the air assault operations in support of U.S. and coalition forces. The latest squadron, VMM-365 (the Blue Knights) conducted nearly 200 named operations, a 20-fold increase over the squadron which preceded it in Afghanistan.

In the words of the head of 2nd Marine Air Wing – Maj. Gen. Glen Walters -- on his return from Afghanistan:

"The Ospreys had their normal fair share of general support, resupplies, etc. But we started accelerating their use as my time there went on, and used them for both the conventional and Special Forces operations.

The beauty of the speed of the Osprey is that you can get the Special Operations forces where they need to be and to augment what the conventional forces were doing and thereby take pressure off of the conventional forces. And with the SAME assets, you could make multiple trips or make multiple hits, which allowed us to shape what the Taliban was trying to do.

"The Taliban has a very rudimentary but effective early warning system for counter-air. They spaced guys around their area of interest, their headquarters, etc. Then they would call in on cell or satellite phones to chat or track. It was very easy for them to track. They had names for our aircraft, like the CH-53s, which they called 'Fat Cows.'

"But they did not talk much about the Osprey because they were so quick and lethal. And because of its speed and range, you did not have to come on the axis that would expect. You could go around, or behind them and then zip in. We also started expanding our night operations with the Osprey. We rigged up a V-22 for battlefield illumination.

"A lot of these mission sets were never designed into the V-22 but you put it into the field and configure it to do the various missions required. And we have new software for the Ospreys in Afghanistan where you can pick your approach, angle, approach speed and let the aircraft do it all. That is a huge safety gain."

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