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V-22 Osprey

The V-22 Osprey is a joint service, multi-mission aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability. It performs VTOL missions as effectively as a conventional helicopter while also having the long-range cruise abilities of a twin turboprop aircraft.


U.S. Marines jump from an Osprey.
Larger version

The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft with a 38-foot rotor, engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wing tip. It can operate as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90 degrees for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a high-speed, fuel-efficient turboprop airplane. The wing rotates for compact storage aboard ship.

The United States Marine Corps is the lead service in the development of the Osprey. The Marine Corps version, the MV-22A, will be an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, and will be capable of operating from ships or from expeditionary airfields ashore. The US Navy's HV-22A will provide combat search and rescue, delivery and retrieval of special warfare teams along with fleet logistic support transport. The CV-22A operated by the United States Special Operations Command[?] (USSOCOM) will conduct long-range special operations missions. The V-22 Osprey will replace the Marine Corps CH-46E and CH-53D as well as several types of the Special Operations Command H-53, H-47, H-60, and C-130 series aircraft.

The first flight occurred in March 1989. Since then however there have been three significant failures during testing - a crash in 1991, another in 1992 the killed seven and a third in April 2000 that killed nineteen. The V-22 is the world's first production tiltrotor aircraft. Planned purchases include 360 for the Marine Corps, 48 for the Navy and 50 for the Air Force.

General Characteristics

  • Primary Function: Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft
  • Contractor: Bell-Boeing
  • Propulsion: Two pivoting Rolls-Royce/Allison AE1107C engines
  • Main rotor diameter: 38 feet (11.58 meters)
  • Blades per rotor: Three
  • Weight: 60,500 lbs max gross weight
  • Ceiling: 25,000 feet (sevice ceiling)
  • Speed: 272 knots (cruise speed)
  • Armament: Provisions for two .50 caliber cabin guns



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