Aircraft

U.S. Marine Corps takes delivery of latest V-22 Osprey

U.S. Marine Corps takes delive...
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
View 56 Images
1/56
2/56
3/56
4/56
5/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
6/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
7/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
8/56
9/56
10/56
11/56
12/56
13/56
14/56
15/56
16/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: US Navy)
17/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: US Navy)
18/56
19/56
The quad tilt-rotor version
20/56
The quad tilt-rotor version
21/56
22/56
Upgrades include new weather radar system, crew and passenger aircon, improvements to the cockpit Electronic Flight Instrument displays and Electronic Warfare Systems
23/56
Upgrades include new weather radar system, crew and passenger aircon, improvements to the cockpit Electronic Flight Instrument displays and Electronic Warfare Systems
24/56
25/56
Civilian version of the tilt-rotor concept - AgustaWestland AW609
26/56
Civilian version of the tilt-rotor concept - AgustaWestland AW609
Cockpit upgrades include new weather radar system and improvements to Electronic Flight Instrument displays (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)
27/56
Cockpit upgrades include new weather radar system and improvements to Electronic Flight Instrument displays (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)
CV-22 flight operations near Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)
28/56
CV-22 flight operations near Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)
V-22 Osprey at the Dubai Airshow (Photo: Bell Boeing)
29/56
V-22 Osprey at the Dubai Airshow (Photo: Bell Boeing)
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
30/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
31/56
V-22 Osprey (Photo: Boeing)
32/56
33/56
34/56
35/56
36/56
37/56
38/56
39/56
40/56
41/56
42/56
43/56
44/56
45/56
46/56
47/56
48/56
49/56
50/56
51/56
52/56
53/56
54/56
55/56
56/56

The tilt-rotor Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey program received a boost last week when the U.S. Marine Corps took delivery of the latest variant. The Osprey, which began development some 30 years ago, combines the helicopter's ability to take off and land vertically, with the speed of a regular aircraft. The recently delivered Block C variant includes an improved weather radar system, an upgraded crew and passenger aircon system, improvements to the cockpit Electronic Flight Instrument displays and upgrades to the Electronic Warfare Systems that allow the aircraft to better defend itself from sea, ground and airborne attacks.

The Osprey looks like a twin-engined fixed wing aircraft with a pair of over-sized props mounted on the ends of a stubby wing. Unlike the famous Harrier jump-jet, the Osprey gets its VTOL capabilities by tilting its two engines backwards so that they are aimed vertically, providing lift rather than horizontal thrust. Once underway, with the engines facing forward, it has greater efficiency and almost twice the speed of a helicopter as it is able to rely in its wings for lift, therefore not suffering from the retreating blade stall issues of a rotary wing aircraft when it tries to go fast.

V-22 Osprey at the Dubai Airshow (Photo: Bell Boeing)
V-22 Osprey at the Dubai Airshow (Photo: Bell Boeing)

If an engine fails, the aircraft has cross shafting that physically transmits shared power to both rotors from the remaining engine to allow a safe landing and recovery and its system redundancy is boosted by features such as triple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control systems.

The Osprey's unique characteristics offer distinct tactical and logistical advantages for the military, but the technology has much to offer in a civilian version, something that has been keeping the AgustaWestland engineers busy developing the AW609.

Civilian version of the tilt-rotor concept - AgustaWestland AW609
Civilian version of the tilt-rotor concept - AgustaWestland AW609

Although a pretty simple concept - having been proposed almost 82 years ago - a number of attempts made over the years without commercial success. Given the complexity it is not surprising that Boeing's tiltrotor program has had its share of setbacks, but the Osprey seems to have proven the proponents right. There are now more than 160 units flying worldwide and having amassed an impressive 130,000 flight hours, reliability is second to none amongst the Marine Corps helicopter fleet ... plus it's one of the cheapest to operate.

Cockpit upgrades include new weather radar system and improvements to Electronic Flight Instrument displays (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)
Cockpit upgrades include new weather radar system and improvements to Electronic Flight Instrument displays (Photo: Jamie Darcy of NAVAIR)

Key features of the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey

  • Designed for NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) environments
  • Full NVG (Night Vision) compatible cockpit
  • Fully shipboard compatible electronics (this is harder to do than with land based aircraft as there's lots of high power RF around the boats)
  • Fully marinized (i.e. material and coatings thwart corrosion)
  • Electrical de-icing capability on leading edges and rotors
  • Quieter than a turboprop in flight
  • Folding wing and blades enable stowage below deck of an aircraft carrier
  • Aircraft range allows over-the-horizon placement of naval assets out of harms ways and expands littoral warfare capability of the fleet
  • First "all composite structure" military aircraft

Source: Boeing

18 comments
TogetherinParis
God saved this aircraft, for what we\'ll have to find out, eh?
Marty Williams
Two V-22s flew over my house heading N-NE a few days ago. They have a very interesting sound. Very different that a helicopter or jet.
fosin
\"combines the helicopter\'s ability to take off and land vertically, with the speed of a regular aircraft.\" ...and with the safety of neither. Look damn cool though.
windykites
This is a very good aircraft. I was just wondering if you could have swivelling jet engines, instead of prop engines. (I think this has been tried) Jets are more powerful, but for some reason, large props would appear to have greater lifting power, as in a helicopter. Is this a fact? By the way, retreating blade stall is not really an issue with twin rotors on wing tips in the vertical position. The wings are also providing lift from forward speed.
VoiceofReason
Once all the mechanical issues are resolved, this will be the wave of the future. Surprised that the powers that be haven\'t come up with a gunship version of it yet.
Will Sharp
I\'m guessing the reason why they don\'t use jets is so that passengers can get on and off and walk around it without getting burnt to a crisp. This is designed as a troop transport after all. A jet aimed directly at the ground may also start fires.
Lon LeVine
Jets high exhaust temps way to high to point at the ground. Even the Harrier jet with vectored exhaust couldn\'t be vertically landed on asphalt without melting ground damage
Jon A.
The big advantage of the Osprey is range compared to a helicopter. They are surprisingly small inside, though. More comparable to a Blackhawk than a Chinook.
nOv1c3
Actually these are jets if you want to nit pick lol These are turbo props The reason they dont uase pure jets is the redundancy . If one engine fails you are screwed , But on the turbo prop they use a cross shaft that connects Both engine together in case of a failure
VoiceofReason
Actually, I\'d love to see a comparison between this and a comparable sized gyrodyne. Without all the complex transmissions, it would be MUCH cheaper with fairly equal specs.