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Posted: 2/28/2006 4:26:14 AM EDT
Within a year:


Los Angeles Times
February 28, 2006

Troubled Aircraft Nearly Battle-Ready

By Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Marine Corps plans to send the troubled Osprey aircraft into combat within a year and is activating a squadron of the tilt-rotor planes this week.

"Obviously, due to operational concerns we don't want to tell exactly when they will deploy," said spokesman Master Sgt. Phil Mehringer at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina, where the squadron will be based. "But it's certainly going to happen in the near future. Definitely, within a year."

The Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, has had a number of troubles.

Four Marines died in a 2000 crash in North Carolina that was caused by a ruptured titanium hydraulic line. Nineteen others were killed in an Osprey crash that year in Arizona that investigators blamed on pilot error.

The Pentagon approved full production of the Osprey in a $19-billion program last year, and the Marines have been showing off the aircraft. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld flew aboard one last week.

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, which will carry the Vietnam-era "Thunder Chickens" nickname of the helicopter unit it is replacing, is to be formally activated Friday. There are about 250 people in the squadron and nine aircraft, Mehringer said.

The squadron has trained on the aircraft for months and will continue working with it before deployment to a combat zone, he said. "It's the standard training package…. This one is a little longer in that all of the Marines coming together are new. They are starting this from scratch."

The Ospreys will replace the Vietnam-era fleet of CH-46E twin-rotor helicopters. The newer aircraft can carry more cargo and fly five times farther at speeds up to about 300 mph.

Link Posted: 2/28/2006 4:30:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 4:45:39 AM EDT
Wahoo!!!

I'm praying for the one's who write the book on how to fight/ operate with these things.

I do hope it works out better than hoped.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 4:48:20 AM EDT
About time for a return on our tax dollars.


Go get 'em Jarheads!

Link Posted: 2/28/2006 4:55:02 AM EDT
So who gets them next? Is it the Army or AF? I know this thing was supposed to be a joint thing.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 4:56:51 AM EDT
I believe the AF is next with the CV-22, which will be used by the Spec Ops Command.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 5:02:55 AM EDT
The Army wants no part of the V-22, they bailed on the program years ago, its AF and Navy/Marines only.

Kharn
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 5:11:45 AM EDT
I saw two of them Saturday in Fort Worth. Pretty cool to see them taxi in the low fog and rain.
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