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Special Operations: Try It, You'll Like It
   Next Article → ATTRITION: Replacing The Missing F-35s
April 2, 2010: The U.S. Marine Corps is trying to persuade SOCOM (Special Operations Command) to buy a squadron or two of marine MV-22 tilt-rotor transports, to augment the more expensive SOCOM CV-22 version. Last year, SOCOM sent its first six CV-22 tilt-rotor ("Osprey") transports to serve for three months of field testing in Iraq. Meanwhile, the marines have had MV-22s in Iraq for two years, and now have them in Afghanistan as well.

The U.S. Air Force component of SOCOM is using the CV-22 to replace the current MH-53J special operations helicopters. Unlike the U.S. Marine Corps version, the SOCOM CV-22s have lots more expensive electronics on board. This will help the CV-22 when traveling into hostile territory. The CV-22 also carries a terrain avoidance radar, an additional 3500 liters (900 gallons) of fuel and more gadgets in general. The 25 ton CV-22 is a major improvement on the MH-53J, with three times the range, and a higher cruising speed (at 410 kilometers an hour, twice that of the helicopter). The CV-22 can travel about nearly a thousand kilometers, in any weather, and land or pick up 18 fully equipped commandoes. The SOCOM CV-22 won't ready for regular service for another year.

The marines believe their cheaper version (because they lack the all-weather flight electronics and other extras) will prove ideal for most SOCOM operations. The marines have already been using their MV-22s for commando type operations, and are very satisfied with the results. Both versions of the V-22 have also been armed.

SOCOM, like the marines, has had a GAU-2B machine-gun fitted to the bottom of a V-22. This is a remote control turret using a six-barrel 7.62mm machine-gun. It has a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute (50 per second), and max range of 1,500 meters. The system weighs a few hundred pounds and includes 4,000 rounds of ammo. A member of the crew uses a video game like interface to operate the gun. This weapon is part of the Universal Turret System (UTS) for Helicopters.

The need to arm the V-22 has been debated for nearly a decade. The original proposal was for a UTS equipped with a 12.7mm machine-gun. That has a longer range (about 2,000 meters), but the 7.62mm GAU-2B could lay down more bullets more quickly. Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan indicated this would be a more useful defensive measure. The UTS is mounted on CV-22s as needed. The armed SOCOM V-22 provides an option that the other users can easily adopt. The machine-gun turret is mainly there for protection from local threats, not for turning the V-22 into an assault aircraft.

The V-22 is the first application of the tilt-rotor technology in active service. The air force is already working on improvements (to make the V-22 more reliable and easier to maintain), but these won't be installed for another few years. The V-22 gives the marines and SOCOM a lot more capability, but, as is often the case, this is a lot more expensive. The initial production models of the CV-22 cost over $60 million each. SOCOM insists on a high degree of reliability for its aircraft. Commando operations cannot tolerate too many mistakes without getting fatally derailed.

 

 

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phrogdriver       4/3/2010 7:19:16 PM
Just for nomenclature clarity, the V-22 is an "assault," or more properly an "assault support" aircraft already.  Assaults are the aircraft that carry troops to conduct, well, assaults.  They're doing the modern version of the landing craft of WWII.
 
What the article meant to say, I think, is that there no intent to make the Osprey an "attack" aircraft, i.e. one with the sole purpose of delivering ordnance to suppress or destroy the enemy.
 
I'm curious about the source for this post, and whether it means that MARSOC wants additional Marine V-22 squadrons to stand up or for the USAF to get MVs in addition to the CVs.  I suspect the former, but the Marine Corps is already standing up V-22 squadrons, VMMs, as fast as it can.  Any "additional" ones would be a ways down the road.
 
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Stan       4/4/2010 12:04:31 PM
The is typical of the lousy reporting about the V-22. The MH-53J has more range than the V-22 and can carry twice as much. The V-22 is faster, but only around 40% faster. The problem is the Navy doesn't want this junk, the 48 V-22s it had signed up for decades ago, so they are trying to sucker SOCCOM to pay for these worthless toys. Why not do a story on the hidden CV-22 Class A mishap on Mar 2 of last year? Why are CV-22s now moved overseas by ship?  Why not a story on the Marines relying on Army helos in Afghanistan since their broke down MV-22s can lift much? G2mil.com has details.
 
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SCCOMarine    Again, If U Dont Understand How Marines Operate Then Pls Dont Speculate!   4/6/2010 6:15:44 PM

The air force is already working on improvements (to make the V-22 more reliable and easier to maintain), but these won't be installed for another few years. The V-22 gives the marines and SOCOM a lot more capability, but, as is often the case, this is a lot more expensive. The initial production models of the CV-22 cost over $60 million each. SOCOM insists on a high degree of reliability for its aircraft. Commando operations cannot tolerate too many mistakes without getting fatally derailed.


It has Nothing to do w/SOCom insisting on a Higher Degree of reliability than the USMC.  Its Symbiotic, the Marines Innovate & the others pour Billions in to further develop USMC ideas.  The USMC then capitalizes on the shared development on the other guys dime.
 
This is something the USMC constantly does b/c it doesn't have the R&D budget of the other services.
 
It was the same w/the Gun System.  It took a change in several Avionics of the Aircraft to install an integrated Gun System.  They had the choice to either wait the Projected 2yrs for it to develop or Turn the development of the UTS to the AF & put the V-22 into Theater w/a Ramp & a Door Gun so they can develop real-world Stress Data on it.
 
Once the UTS was developed the USMC gave their Stress Data & the Responsibility for Reliability Research over to the AF.
 
 
 
They do it repeatedly w/the Army, most recently the MRAP & the UAV Cargo Helo.  Both of which started as sole USMC projects that then shifted to being Marine led & Army funded.
 
Same w/the Navy, in particular the WestPac Express Program, which was the Catalyst of the JHSV.  The Marines observed an Civilian Aussie Catamaran while in Australia on an Exercise, made an inquiry & realized the could save both time & $ by Chartering a Cat to haul Marines & Equipment 1500mi or less.
 
The Marines Chartered a 1yr contract for the WPE & the Navy thought it was a Dumb Idea.  6mths & a few $100million later the Navy bought out the Marines contract & signed a 2yr deal of their own.  This eventually lead to the JHSV, the Sea Fighter, & now the LCS.
 
 
Again w/the USMC's "Harvest Hawk" roll on/roll off Gunship kit & AFSOC's "Precision Strike Package".  Harvest Hawk was ridiculed, now after putting out the initial version AFSOC is scrambling to develop its own. The 2 services have begun to marry Armament & potential Software development. 
 
Once that happens you'll again see the Marines step away & allow the AF to pour Millions into its further development.
 
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Nichevo    CV-22 crash in Iraq?   4/12/2010 10:09:20 AM
Any news on that or is it down the Memory Hole?
 
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