March 10, 2005
Kirtland AFB prepares to activate V-22 training squadron
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is to activate a new training squadron in May for the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey aircraft, which is undergoing testing.
The new unit will be called the 71st Special Operations Squadron, said Lt. Col. Jon D. Edwards, commander of a detachment preparing the training curriculum.
The first four of six total Ospreys are not expected at Kirtland until March 2006, he said.
The Air Force has ordered 50 Ospreys for special operations.
The Ospreys are to replace the aging fleet of MH-53 Pave Low helicopters.
The Osprey can take off and land like a helicopter but fly like an airplane after its rotors shift from vertical to horizontal.
Kirtland received a $28 million flight simulator for the Osprey in 2003.
The base has been preparing for the Osprey since 2001, but testing problems have caused delays.
The Ospreys were temporarily grounded in January after officials discovered the coating of a crucial part was wearing off faster than expected. The Marine Corps resumed flights Feb. 7.
Osprey flights were stopped for about 18 months following a pair of crashes in 2000 that killed 19 servicemen in Arizona.
Four Marines were killed in another crash that year when an Osprey went down during a training mission near Jacksonville, Fla.
The Marine Corps has ordered 360 Ospreys and the Navy 48.
The aircraft, built in Amarillo, Texas, have an estimated price tag of $80 million each.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Kirtland Prepares To Take Ospreys
By Miguel Navrot
Journal Staff Writer
The Air Force's new commando tilt-rotor aircraft aren't expected for more than a year, but Kirtland Air Force Base is preparing for their arrival.
In May, base officials will activate a new training squadron for the CV-22 Osprey. Special operation pilots and crews will learn the new weapon at Kirtland, which hosts nearly all of the Air Force's commando flight training.
The new unit, dubbed the 71st Special Operations Squadron, will activate in May, said Lt. Col. Jon D. Edwards, of the 58th Special Operations Wing. The first four of six total Ospreys aren't expected at Kirtland until March 2006, Edwards said.
Edwards is commander of the detachment preparing the training curriculum. The Osprey has a crew of three.
Eventually, the Air Force is expected to purchase about 50 Ospreys for its special operation missions. The CV-22 will replace the aging fleet of MH-53 Pave Low helicopter, which is still considered among the most advanced in the world.
The Pave Low is the Air Force's current heavy-lift special operations helicopter and has been used extensively by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 30 Pave Low helicopters are believed to be in the Air Force inventory.
"The CV-22 fills the Air Force's documented requirement to be able to conduct long-range infiltration, resupply and extraction of U.S. special forces," said service spokeswoman Maj. Stephanie Holcombe at the Pentagon.
Kirtland has been preparing for the Osprey since 2001, although testing problems have caused delays. In 2003, the base received a $28 million flight simulator for the Osprey.
Edwards Air Force Base in California recently received a third Osprey for testing from its manufacturers. Bell Helicopter and Boeing Co. are the primary contractors. The aircraft are being constructed in Amarillo. Each Osprey costs an estimated $80 million.
Most of the Ospreys are being built for the Marine Corps. The Air Force version is designed to have improvements for flying at night, in bad weather and at low altitudes.
The first production-line Osprey is expected this summer at Edwards, where testing will continue through 2007.
Does the Osprey have ramp and door guns?
I never saw any fitted during their testing at Pax River when I worked there.
Kirtland Air Force Base has a very good Atomic weapon museum open to the public.
Anyone in Albuquerque, NM, with a few hours to spare should check it out right after
taking that cool traam to the top of the mountians.
bump - Part II