The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft is transforming how the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Special Operations squadrons conduct their missions in diverse environments and geographies around the world.
The U.S. Marine Corps variant, MV-22, draws praise from its Marine Corps user and is currently in high demand on mission deployments worldwide. U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert Rauenhorst highlighted how the aircraft provides increased performance over other types of military aircraft. "While performing theater security cooperation activities on the U.S.S. America in the South American region last summer, the MV-22 helped the Marines reach the shore faster so they could spend more time focusing on country engagements," he said.
Maj. Ryan Mittelstet of the U.S. Air Force learned firsthand what makes the CV-22 Osprey such a unique aircraft. During a recent visit to the Boeing V-22 assembly facility in Philadelphia, Mittelstet recounted a December 2013 mission, as three Air Force Special Operations CV-22s attempted to rescue 30 U.S. citizens from a United Nations (U.N.) compound in Bor, South Sudan, while the rebel army engaged the arriving aircraft with small arms fire, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Mittelstet praised the Osprey’s speed, agility and survivability, which enabled the three aircraft to handle the ground fire. "I don’t really know how we made it out of there,” Mettelstet said. “We were able to fly those aircraft at 250 knots (463 kilometers per hour) for over an hour and a half to get out of there safely. And we were able to bring back the injured with their lives. The Osprey is the only aircraft that could get us in when everything was going right and the only aircraft to get us back out when everything was going wrong."
The V-22 Osprey is deployed around the world – on ships and in combat; it is performing missions not possible for other aircraft and saving lives where others could not. The Navy has said it intends to fulfill the future Carrier onboard delivery (COD) mission requirement with a Navy variant of the V-22. This aircraft will be a baseline MV-22 aircraft with engineering changes to add an extended range fuel system, a high-frequency radio and a public address system. The Bell Boeing team stands ready to support the Navy with seamless integration of the V-22 tiltrotor into a modern Naval logistics concept of operations.